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  • By Andrew Carvajal

Learning Moments - Eligibility of Work Experience during Professional Training

This article by Andrew Carvajal is part of the Immigration Education Alliance (IMEDA) weekly column titled "Learning Moments" and published online.

Hello fellow practitioners. Today’s column deals with whether work experience gained during a period of a professional training following graduation will be considered professional experience for the purpose of a permanent residence application.

Reader’s question

I have a question regarding foreign skilled worker experience as a dentistry intern, following the completion of academic studies. The individual in question completed his academic studies outside of Canada as a dentist and these were followed by a one year mandatory dentist internship required to be licensed in his home country.

Although the client completed a further academic program in Canada and is just beginning work under a Post-graduation Work Permit, I was wondering whether I could qualify him under the Federal Skilled Worker program using this experience as a dentist intern from abroad.


Our take on this week’s question is that paid work experience following the graduation from a professional degree, yet prior to becoming licensed by a regulatory body, should count as professional experience for the purpose of a permanent residence application. This should include the case described by our reader of a dentist who has graduated from dental school and had to undergo a one year paid placement prior to obtaining the appropriate licensing in their country of origin. Had the internship been unpaid, then it will not qualify for eligible work experience under the federal economic programs.

The reason why we believe that this “internship” should be accepted as professional work experience is because the client in question: 1) had already graduated from a professional dentistry degree; 2) received remuneration for this work; and 3) carried out duties in his placement that coincide with a professional National Occupation Classification (Dentists in this case). We are also considering that the work as a dentist intern is permitted by the regulatory body, as in fact it is required to become licensed.

We also arrive at this conclusion by looking at the National Occupational Classification of similar licensed professions. While the NOC for dentists is silent as to the inclusion of those individuals who have graduated from dental school and are doing a mandatory placement, other NOCs include graduate trainees in an identical situation. The NOC for Lawyers (4112), for example, explicitly includes articling students in the group. Similarly, both NOCs for General Practitioners and Specialist Physicians (3111 and 3112) also include “residents in training” as part of those classifications.

If our reader’s client had one year of full-time paid experience as a dentist intern following graduation from dental school, he should be able to use this as qualifying work experience for a permanent residence application under the Federal Skilled Worker program.


Andrew Carvajal is a Toronto lawyer and partner at Desloges Law Group specializing in immigration law, administrative law and Small Claims Court litigation.

Twitter: @CarvajalLaw


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