Having prior work experience is important when applying to Canada, particularly under certain Economic Classes. For example, you need at least one year work experience under a skilled NOC to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Class in Express Entry.
Work Experience and NOC
Although many people stick to one profession and build a career from there, it does not mean that their work experience is restricted to one NOC. For example, a person may have been a food server for 3 years, which is considered NOC level C. Then that person may get promoted, and work for 1 year as a food service supervisor, which is considered NOC level B. Although this person may claim to have 4 years of work experience in the food service profession, applying as a skilled worker will only credit that person for 1 year of skilled work.
It is important to remember that the IRCC will only consider work experience for occupations (i.e. NOC) indicated by the applicant. They are not obliged to find the NOC that best fits your work experience.
See also: What is an NOC?
When an application requirement indicates a year of work experience, it usually means a year of full-time work. Those who have worked part-time may still earn credit for their work experience. A year’s worth of full-time experience converts directly to 1560 hours of work (30 hours per week). This allows part-time workers to calculate how many years of full-time work experience they can earn.
For the purpose of earning more points under work experience, working more than 30 hours per week will not benefit an applicant. For example, working 40 hours per week for 3 years will not give you credit for 4 years of work experience. You will still only be credited 3 years of work experience.
Canadian Work Experience
While work experience from outside of Canada is accepted, having work experience from within Canada is highly valued. Having one year of skilled work experience in Canada makes you eligible for the Canadian Experience Class. Alternatively, it may augment a Federal Skilled Worker Class application by awarding 10 points in adaptability. Lastly, having Canadian work experience may earn you more points in the CRS skill transferability factors.
See also: Express Entry: The Basics