The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a category for permanent residency open to foreign nationals with Canadian work experience. While considering eligibility, the pandemic introduced several grey areas such as remote work, freelancing, and self-employment.
This article will clarify if working remotely inside or outside Canada would count towards CEC. Additionally, provide an understanding of how IRCC determines work experience and explains if self-employment counts toward CEC.
Can you work remotely outside Canada?
If you plan to acquire Canadian permanent residency through CEC, Canadian work experience outside Canada does not count. Even if you work for a Canadian employer and pay taxes, remotely working from outside Canada would not count towards CEC.
To be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, you must be physically present inside Canada and work under legal authorization. Check out all the eligibility requirements for the Canadian Experience Class.
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Can you work remotely inside Canada?
The short answer is yes. You can work remotely in Canada as long as you are physically inside the country. However, you are required to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for CEC.
Remember that if you plan to apply under CEC, you show your intention to reside in any province other than Quebec. It is because Quebec follows another system for choosing skilled workers.
Another thing to be mindful of is if you live in Canada and work for a U.S. company, you will still need to pay taxes in Canada.
In Canada, you pay taxes according to the province or territory where you live, not where the business you work for is located. However, the taxes will be taken out and paid for by your employer.
How does IRCC determine applicants’ employment status?
Candidates for the CEC must demonstrate to an IRCC officer that they satisfy all requirements for the program. While calculating qualifying work experience under CEC, any period of self-employment is not considered.
Therefore CEC requires that candidates provide documentary evidence that they obtained skilled work experience in Canada through authorized employment by a third party.
Within the documentary evidence, acceptable documents can include a combination of:
- Copy of most recent work permit (unless exempt)
- Most recent tax information slip T4
- Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) issues a Notice of Assessment (NOA)
- Employment letters of all referenced qualifying work experience (in the CEC application)
- Other relevant supporting documents
Employers in Canada are responsible for withholding and remitting income tax, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions from remuneration or other payments made to their employees to the CRA. They must also give employees a T4 tax information slip, which records their pay and deductions.
Therefore, for the vast majority of CEC applicants, the T4 slip is the most important documentation proof to show that they had an employer-employee working relationship during their qualifying work experience in Canada.
Nevertheless, the regulations do not require CEC applicants to submit a T4 tax information slip or NOA specifically with their application. It is because these records cannot be regarded as conclusive proof or the only form of evidence that is acceptable to demonstrate whether an applicant has the necessary amount of Canadian work experience.
As a result, without a T4 tax information slip or NOA, documents that could support the applicant’s work history in Canada include work contracts, pay stubs and a record or letter of employment from the Canadian employer.
However, in all cases, the applicant must demonstrate that they met the CEC requirements at the time of their application. It includes offering satisfactory evidence that the applicant held an employer-employee relationship throughout the relevant work experience period.
Can you be self-employed?
It’s crucial to understand that self-employment within Canada does not contribute toward your Canadian work experience points or qualify you for the Canadian Experience Class if you intend to submit an Express Entry application for permanent residence.
Self-employment could include jobs like freelance writers, (Uber) drivers, tutors, photographers, etc.
As mentioned earlier, you must provide evidence of a holding employer-employee relationship throughout your work experience to qualify under CEC.
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