Canadian Experience Class

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class requires a lot of knowledge & experience when completing the application to ensure the applicant meets all the requirements. Guidance is always advised prior to taking any decision / action.


What is the Canadian Experience Class?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program in 2008 to offer a dedicated skilled worker pathway to temporary foreign workers and international graduates who want to obtain permanent residence status.

The CEC has since grown into one of Canada's largest immigration pathways for skilled workers and is regarded as an overwhelming success by governments across Canada, communities, employers, and immigration candidates themselves.

The CEC is prescribed as a class of persons who may become permanent residents on the basis of their Canadian experience and who:

  1. intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec;
  2. Maintained temporary resident status during their qualifying period of work experience as well as during any period of full-time study or training in Canada.

The program is directed towards attracting and retaining highly skilled Temporary Foreign Workers and International students that are already living in Canada and who have showed commitment and already managed to adapt to the Canadian society.

Work experience accumulated in Canada without valid temporary resident status does not qualify as Canadian work experience (i.e. foreign nationals such as refugee claimants in Canada and undocumented workers).


What are the benefits of the CEC?

The CEC is part of a concerted effort by Canada's federal and provincial governments to encourage more temporary foreign workers and international students to build their futures in Canada. Research by IRCC, Statistics Canada, and academics is clear: skilled worker candidates have a major advantage integrating into the Canadian job market if they have previously lived in the country. The combination of having high human capital criteria (e.g., being young and middle-aged, having high levels of education, work experience, and education) plus building social and professional networks in Canada enables CEC immigrants to be very successful in the labour market.

In addition to this benefit, candidates with Canadian experience are able to obtain more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points under Express Entry. This increases their chances of obtaining permanent residence.

Third, CEC candidates who succeed under Express Entry are usually able to get their permanent residence status within six months.

A fourth major benefit of the CEC is unlike the other two Express Entry programs, candidates who succeed under the CEC do not need to demonstrate to IRCC that they have settlement funds to support themselves financially upon obtaining permanent residence.


Who can apply ?

There are two streams available:

1. Temporary Foreign Worker Stream

Under this stream, an applicant must have acquired, in Canada, within the 36 months before the date the application is made, at least 24 months of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work experience, in a NOC type 0, or level A or B occupation (i.e., managerial, professional, or skilled and technical).

2. Post-Graduation Stream

Under this stream the applicant must have:

  • Completed a required program of study in Canada and obtained a Canadian educational credential (e.g., degree, diploma, or certificate);
  • Been enrolled full-time in this program of study or training for two years.
  • The prospective applicant must have acquired in Canada at least 12 months of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work experience in a NOC type 0, or level A or B occupation, within the 24 months before the date the application is made.


Do you qualify?

Both CEC streams require applicants to demonstrate that they have met the minimum language requirements for their abilities to speak, listen, read and write. They must provide the results of their English or French language test from a designated language testing agency.

Applications under this category are assessed on a pass or fail basis using the above-described criteria, there is no point system and there is no discretion on the part of a visa officer.

Applicants resident in Canada must have legal temporary resident status at the time they make the application, but do not need to be employed. Those who have left Canada but meet the above requirements can still make an application under the CEC if they apply within one year of leaving their employment in Canada.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the CEC, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Meet or surpass a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 ("initial intermediate") for NOC B jobs or CLB 7 ("adequate intermediate proficiency"), for NOC skill level 0 or A jobs.
  • Plan to live and work outside of the province of Quebec (individuals with work experience in Quebec and who plan to reside in Quebec may apply to the Quebec Experience Class).

One year (or 12 months) of work experience is defined as at least 1,560 hours of skilled work in Canada. The 1,560 hours can be obtained through full-time and/or part-time work.

Applicants can remain in Canada throughout the application process. However, the Canadian Experience Class is also open to individuals who are no longer in Canada, provided that they submit their application within three years of leaving their job in Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class requirements are based on a pass or fail model. If the minimum requirements are met, the applicant is eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.

Note: Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (for example, on a co-op work term) does not count under the CEC.


How the immigration process works with the CEC:

IRCC uses Express Entry to manage skilled worker applications for three programs including the CEC. If you have lived in Canada before and gained eligible work experience here, you may be a strong candidate for the CEC. In addition, you may also be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and if you have a trades background, the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

The first step is to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria of the CEC or one of the other Express Entry programs. If you are eligible, you submit an Express Entry profile on IRCC's website. Approximately every two weeks, IRCC holds Express Entry draws awarding permanent residence invitations to candidates with the highest CRS scores. CRS scores are determined base on each candidate's human capital characteristics including their age, education, language skills, work experience, Canadian experience, among other criteria. If you receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence, you need to submit a completed application to IRCC within the specified deadline. IRCC aims to process applications in six months or less.


How to apply?

If you are considering making an application for permanent residence under the CEC and wish to benefit from the assistance of a lawyer during this process, please contact us for further information.