Are you eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class?

Table of contents

Minimum requirements

You must:

  • You must meet the required language levels
  • You must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada in the previous three years before you apply. You can achieve this in a few different ways:
    • full-time job: 30 hours/week for 12 months
    • equal amount in part-time work: for example 15 hours/week for 24 months. You can work as many part-time jobs as necessary to reach this requirement.
  • You gained your work experience by working in Canada with a valid work permit

How work experience is calculated

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada only counts your skilled work experience if it was paid, which includes any wages or commissions you earned. We don’t include volunteer work or unpaid internships when we count your experience.

You don’t have to work a set number of hours each week when you’re part-time, as long as the total number of hours for the year meets 1,560. You can be employed for more than one job to get the hours you need.

Only a maximum of 30 hours a week are counted as work experience.

You’re not eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class if:

  • you are a refugee claimant inside Canada
  • you are working without authorization in Canada
  • your work experience was gained without a valid work permit

Work experience that is classified as skilled according to the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) includes:

  • managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0)
  • professional jobs (NOC skill type A)
  • technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B)

Applicable work experience can be in 1 or more National Occupational Classification jobs that are levels 0, A, or B.

To demonstrate your experience for this position, you must have completed the duties mentioned in the lead statement of the NOC. This typically includes all the essential duties and most of the main responsibilities listed in the NOC.

Self-employment and student work experience

This program has minimum requirements that cannot be met through self-employment or work experience gained while studying full-time.

Education

There is no educational requirement for the Canadian Experience Class.

If you’re looking to improve your ranking in the Express Entry pool, there are two ways to go about it:

  • If you attended school in Canada, you can receive points for a certificate, diploma or degree from a secondary institution (high school) or a post-secondary institution.

or

Language ability

You must:

  • In order to participate in this program, you must meet the minimum language level of:
    • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or
    • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for NOC B jobs
  • Approved language tests are required for: writing, reading, listening and speaking
  • add the test results in your Express Entry profile

Approved language tests remain valid for 2 years after the test date and must still be valid on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Where you can live in Canada

You must intend to live outside of Quebec. Skilled workers in the province of Quebec are chosen by the province. For applicants planning on living in Quebec, see Quebec-selected skilled workers.

When you create your profile, we’ll inquire about where you intend to reside in Canada. You don’t have to stay in that province or territory after receiving permanent residence.

If you are applying under a Provincial Nominee Program, you must settle in the territory or province that nominated you.

Admissibility

You must be admissible to Canada.

How to apply

Let's look at how to transition from obtaining a work visa to getting your Permanent Resident (PR) card.

You can gain the work experience necessary on a permit.

Some common work permits are:

Temporary foreign workers need to complete 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in the last 3 years, in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) A, B or 0 occupation.

In the case of students, eligible work experience can not be gained while being a full-time student.

Take a language proficiency test. Candidates for English-language teaching jobs may take the IELTS or CELPIP exam. For French, the current alternatives are the TEF and TCF.

Read our English test for Express Entry guide to learn more.

On the IRCC website, you will submit a digital Express Entry profile. You must complete this step by providing personal information and documents that match your claimed skills, work experience and language results.

The most common reason why Canadian Experience Class applicants do not receive an invitation to apply is that they have not provided documentation to prove their education. While Federal Skilled Worker candidates are required to provide proof of their education, Canadian Experience Class individuals are not.

Candidates who finished their education outside of Canada may be eligible for points if they obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). To improve their chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence, Canadian Experience Class applicants should acquire an ECA or submit documentation of their Canadian education credentials.

By not doing so, CEC candidates may be lose up to 150 points for the education level itself, plus up to 100 points in combination with Canadian work experience and/or language ability.

There are several other ways to potentially improve your CRS score, such as completing additional work experience, improving your language results, or seeing if you are eligible under one of the Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program streams. If you are nominated by one of the provinces, you will be awarded 600 points toward your CRS score.

You will have 60 days to submit a complete application after being invited to apply. When IRCC draws from the Express Entry pool, ITAs are issued. This is normally every 2 weeks.

All Experience Class candidates are evaluated for medical and criminal inadmissibility. You must submit a letter from an IRCC-recognized panel physician documenting a medical evaluation.

In addition, you must obtain a police background check for each country you have resided in for at least six months since the age of 18.

You must also include work reference letters from previous employers to obtain points for eligible work experience. Given the short time frame getting your reference letters before receiving an ITA is a smart idea.

The application will be evaluated by a Canadian immigration officer, who will let you know if anything more is needed.

If an application is approved, a foreign national is given a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document. This document will be reviewed by an immigration officer at the port of entry you enter. If approved you will be granted permanent residence.

You will then receive your permanent resident card in the mail over the coming months.

You may use this as evidence of your status in Canada if you travel outside the country.

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