Definition of Full-time Work Experience

Chione is an Egyptian insurance adjuster. She works on a part-time basis for a large insurance company in Cairo.  Chione works part-time because she is also taking care of her two-year old daughter. She has recently decided to immigrate to Canada, but she wonders if her part-time job counts. 

If you intend to work or immigrate to Canada, an immigration officer may ask you about your full-time work experience, but what is full-time work experience?

Under the IRCC guidelines, a full-time job refers to at least 30 hours of work per week. It is okay if you take a short leave of absence for vacation or personal reasons, but that break should not interrupt your work. For example, taking a week off to visit your ailing mother is okay but taking three months off is not okay. Such gaps could affect the continuity of your work experience.

Sometimes you may work less than 30 hours a week. In these situations, you may calculate the full-time equivalent instead of actual full-time work. Let’s say you work two years for a company but you only spent 15 hours a week there. In this example, your two-year work experience is equal to one-year full-time work experience.

If you work more than 30 hours a week, you may not use the extra hours to increase your work experience duration. For example, if you work 60 hours a week for one year, you still have only one year of full-time work experience, not two years.

To verify your work experience, present the following documents.

  • An employment contract
  • A reference letter from your employer on their letterhead that indicates the following:
    • Your job title
    • Your job duties
    • The average number of hours you worked per week
    • The start date and the end date of your job
  • Another document that verifies your contract and reference letter, for example:
    • A pay stub
    • The business card of you or your manager with the contact information
    • A reference letter from another colleague
    • A printout of your name on the company’s website

This list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. You need to present enough documents to convince the officer your claim is truthful.

The IRCC sometimes accepts self-employment and sometimes doesn’t. Here are some examples.

If you have self-employed experience, you need to provide more documents to verify it. For example, consider the following.

  • A reference letter from a credible third-party, such as an independent accountant or a lawyer
  • Samples of your contracts with your clients
  • Reference letters from your clients
  • Reference letters from your suppliers or parallel businesses
  • List of employees with their roles and contact information
  • Reference letters from your employees (freelance, contract, part-time, full-time)
  • Pictures of you at work
  • Articles that critique your work
  • ….

It is quite common for the officers to ask for the skill level of your job. Read the following article for more information:

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Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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