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They have Canadian work experience, they’ve settled into Canadian society, they are contributing to our economy; international graduates and temporary foreign workers are ideal candidates for immigration to Canada, says Canadian immigration Attorney David Cohen. Now, with their own category of immigration (the Canadian Experience Class) their Canadian education and/or work experience will give them an edge in their bid to become permanent residents and Canadian citizens.

Canadian experience, both in terms of education and employment, is a key selection factor of the new Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The new immigration category is designed to encourage temporary foreign workers and international graduates to remain in Canada and become Permanent Residents.

“It’s an interesting shift in Canadian immigration policy,” says Canadian immigration Attorney David Cohen. “It recognizes that these individuals, along with their employers and educators, have made significant investments into the Canadian workforce and the Canadian economy. We don’t want to lose those investments – so the new CEC encourages them to stay and makes the process easier.”

To qualify, applicants must have temporary resident status in Canada at the time of application as well as moderate or basic language skills, depending on their occupation. International graduate applicants must have successfully completed a program of study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary educational institution and obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience within the past 24 months. Temporary worker applicants must have obtained at least two years of skilled, professional or technical work experience within 36 months of the application date. So as not to disrupt their work and their lives in Canada, applications can be made from within Canada.

“Though this represents a positive shift in Canadian immigration, we would have hoped that the number of applicants coming in under the CEC would have added to the overall immigration targets for 2008, rather than included in this number,” remarks Cohen. “By not expanding immigration levels, successful CEC applicants will take the place of qualified individuals who applied from abroad and who have been waiting patiently.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be posting the final regulatory changes to the Canadian Experience Class following a brief comment period. It is expected that the CEC will come into effect in the fall and that between 12,000 and 18,000 candidates will be selected each year.