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  • Andrew Carvajal

Learning Moments - Work Experience under the Federal Skilled Worker Program

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

Hello fellow practitioners. Today’s column deals with the required work experience under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

Reader’s question

I have a question about the Federal Skilled Worker program and my client’s eligibility. He has multiple short term work experiences within a single year - from India. While the work is continuous and he has changed from one job immediately to the next, he has worked under various occupations:

  • NOC 5227 – 4 months

  • NOC 6311 – 3 months

  • NOC 6211 – 5 months

Can all of this be added to make up for one year and meet the program requirements, or does it all have to be under one single occupation? He does not have any other work experience anywhere.


Unfortunately, our reader’s client does not meet the minimum work experience requirements under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program and, consequently, will not be able to upload an Express Entry profile.

The FSW work experience requirements are prescribed by section 75 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. The section provides as follows (emphasis added):

Skilled workers

75(2) A foreign national is a skilled worker if

(a) within the 10 years before the date on which their application for a permanent resident visa is made, they have accumulated, over a continuous period, at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in the occupation identified by the foreign national in their application as their primary occupation, other than a restricted occupation, that is listed in Skill Type 0 Management Occupations or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification matrix;

(b) during that period of employment they performed the actions described in the lead statement for the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification;

(c) during that period of employment they performed a substantial number of the main duties of the occupation as set out in the occupational descriptions of the National Occupational Classification, including all of the essential duties;


Minimal requirements

(3) If the foreign national fails to meet the requirements of subsection (2), the application for a permanent resident visa shall be refused and no further assessment is required.

These requirements are also described in several of IRCC online guides, including the “Eligibility to apply as a Federal Skilled Worker (Express Entry)”.[1]

There, IRCC explains the following (emphasis added):

Your skilled work experience must be:

  • in the same type of job (have the same NOC) as the job you want to use for your immigration application (called your primary occupation)

  • within the last 10 years

  • paid work (This means you must have been paid wages or earned commission. Volunteer work or unpaid internships don’t count.)

  • at least 1 year of continuous work or 1,560 hours total (30 hours per week). You can meet this in a few different ways:

    • full-time at 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

    • equal amount in part-time: 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

    • full-time at more than 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months

As a result, not only does the minimum FSW work experience need to be continuous, but it also must in the same occupation. The occupation must also be classified under NOC type 0 or NOC skills level A or B. If the reader’s client had accumulated his work experience under the same occupation, it would count even if it has been obtained at different jobs and/or employers (provided that there are no gaps in employment – i.e. it is continuous).

The work experience requirement is different for the Canadian Experience Class program, where the mandatory Canadian experience can be either non-continuous or under different NOC categories.

Once an FSW candidate accumulates the minimum continuous work experience under the same NOC, they can still use other professional/technical experience for points under the FSW point scale. There is no requirement that the rest of the experience be continuous and it can be in different NOC categories.


Andrew Carvajal is a Toronto lawyer, partner and Head of Economic Immigration at Desloges Law Group. He specializes in corporate immigration, temporary permits and all types of permanent residence applications for professionals and entrepreneurs.

Twitter: @CarvajalLaw



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