I am an instructor at BCIT and Capilano University, and I was told by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that I need to stop teaching next Friday (February 6), as my work permit expires, leaving over 100 students without an instructor in the middle of a term. Earlier this month, several publications reported that internal government reviews have identified a “high error rate” in immigration processing, and mine is a good example of how such processing mistakes can translate into a serious loss to Canada.
I have lived in Canada for seven years, having moved from the U.K. after finishing my PhD there. My first application for permanent residence was rejected last year, despite the fact that I had well over the amount of experience required when I applied, and despite a shortage of workers in my area being expected by the government of Canada in the period 2013-2022.
It is worth looking into the details of why this application was rejected, as it reveals the lunacy of the system as it is currently managed under the Conservative government. To qualify for permanent residence using the Canadian Experience Class, a lecturer (just like anyone else) needs to accumulate the equivalent of one year of full-time experience in Canada in the three years prior to the date of the application. This is precisely defined as at least 30 hours of paid work per week, and a minimum of 1,560 hours in total.
Oddly, Immigration considered as experience only the number of hours I spent in the classroom teaching, as if teaching were the only thing that lecturers do. Obviously, we spend a lot of time preparing lectures and marking, but I was strangely asked to “prove” this. A letter from my head of department stating that I had more than one year of full-time experience and was working full-time was not considered “proof”, so I am not sure what would.
How long would it take for a lecturer to accumulate the required 1,560 hours of actual in-class teaching? Consider someone who teaches eight courses per year, a full-time position, and the maximum allowed for a full-time instructor at Capilano University. Since they will take more than the maximum of three years to accumulate what Immigration calls one year of experience, this lecturer will never qualify for permanent residence.
If Immigration demands are both fair and being correctly applied, one would think that it should be at the very least physically possible for a lecturer to earn one year of full-time experience as, defined by Immigration, in one year. In order to do this, a lecturer would need to teach a mere 36 courses per year. I estimate this would involve each week: 35 hours of teaching in class, an estimated 35 hours of marking, and an estimated 35 hours of preparation (although this would vary with experience).
In order to get one year of experience in one year, a lecturer needs to work 105 hours per week as a minimum. No problem. You can still sleep three hours per night, although you will have to be fed intravenously, as there will be no time to eat. An inexperienced lecturer would need to work much harder than this, and so may have to forego both food and sleep for the first few years of their career. It seems excessive that getting Canadian residence requires death.
The Immigration site clearly states that applicants “do not need to hire an immigration representative”. I would joke that it takes a PhD to get this system, but clearly a PhD is not enough. Immigration decisions seem to be arbitrary and unpredictable, and in this case result in unfair discrimination against lecturers, hurt students, and compromise the future of higher education in Canada.