When trying to determine your eligibility for Express Entry, things can get a bit confusing. It is especially confusing when it comes to calculating your work experience and figuring out how much of it you need for the different programs.
You hear a lot of numbers thrown your way, such as: 30 hours a week, 1,560 hour annually, part time, full time. It can be a lot. But then you are also inundated with terms such as NOC, CEC and FSW. What does all of this mean and how does it apply to you?
While there are many things you need to know and numbers and phrases that need remembering, it really isn’t as complicated as some people make it out to be.
The key here is 1,560 hours. That is a number you should commit to memory. You are required to work 1,560 hours. If you are working 30 hours a week, you will hit that 1,560 threshold in 12 months (assuming you work continuously). If you are working less than 30 hours per week, you will have to work more than 12 months.
The way IRCC calculates this is if you are working 30 or more hours a week, that is considered “full time”, and they will not count any hours above 30. At 30 hours or more every single week, you would need to work for 12 months to hit 1,560 hours. If any of those weeks you work for less than 30 hours per week, you are going to have to make up those hours in additional time. For every hour you work 25 hours, you will need to add on an additional 5 hours. If you only work 20, you will need an additional 10.
One more example: let’s say you work 30 hours per week every week. However, one week of the year you only work 20 hours. That means you will have to work an additional 10 hours after that 12 months to get to that 1 year because you need to achieve that 1,560 hours total. It requires some math but it is an easy enough equation to figure out if you remember that vital 1,560 total.
For those who don’t know, an NOC code is a national occupational classification code – this is how all jobs/occupations in Canada are classified by the government, which uses a 4-digit number (ie. 2345)
These codes are important – every job or occupation has one, and you will need to find your NOC code to determine if your work experience can be considered skilled or not for Express Entry. I am often asked if someone can use or combine two or multiple different NOC codes, or job types, to apply for Express Entry.
The answer, as is the case with many immigration questions, is that it depends. In this case, it depends on the program that you are coming through for Express Entry:
So with Canadian Experience Class, it can be multiple NOC codes, but with the Federal Skilled Worker program, it has to be 1. Like the number 1,560, it would be wise to write that information down somewhere and have it for safekeeping!
Finally, another question also regarding the different work experience requirements under Express Entry. Do people need continued work experience or can they change jobs in between?
This gets asked a lot because, frankly, the facts are a bit confusing. In fact, this is one of the biggest confusions people have between CEC and FSW.
Both programs, CEC and FSW, are under Express Entry. One of them, the Federal Skilled Worker program, requires 1 year of continuous skilled work experience in the same NOC code like I said above. With CEC, you just need 1 year of work experience in Canada. It does not have to be continuous and does not require the same NOC code. They do have to be skilled work experiences however.
That is the major difference between being eligible and getting that first year of work experience for CEC and FSW. CEC doesn’t have to be continuous while FSW does, and FSW has to be in the same NOC code for the entire year. That is quite the difference and something to keep in mind when you are looking for work and figuring out how you want to apply for Express Entry. Do you plan to work one job, one NOC code, or do you think you may move around and change professions?
There is a lot to think about, a lot of facts and numbers and codes to keep in mind. Hopefully some of the information I just gave has clarified this for!
If you want to get started with Express Entry for free, or look into the other popular immigration options in Canada, make sure to sign up for the Visto platform and get started with Visto Qualify here!