What is the Canadian Experience Class program

The CEC is for skilled workers who want to become permanent residents on the basis of their Canadian work experience. It was designed to retain those foreign workers who have work experience in Canada, allowing them to secure permanent resident status.

The CEC is managed under the Express Entry system and makes use of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to evaluate applicants.

Applicants with competitive CRS scores will be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Who is eligible

A candidate must have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equivalent amount of part-time) skilled work experience in a NOC skill level 0, A or B occupation inside Canada to be considered for CEC. The work experience must have taken place within the previous three years of the application's date.

If you do not have recent Canadian work experience, CEC is not an option for foreign nationals.

Canadian Experience Class requirements

To count your Canadian work experience towards your CEC application, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Have 12 months (non-continuous is accepted) of full-time work experience in the last 3 years in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) A, B or 0 occupation
  • The work must be lawfully obtained and paid

CEC has several further requirements in addition to the Canadian experience requirement that must be satisfied in order to file a claim:

  • Take an official, approved language proficiency exam In either French or English. You will need to get a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 7 for NOC 0 and A occupations and CLB 5 for NOC B occupations
  • Intend to live outside the province of Quebec

Work experience acquired while enrolled in a full-time program in Canada is not considered.

Candidates who meet these criteria will be able to create an Express Entry profile for the Canadian Experience Class program.

Candidates should be aware that they must satisfy Canada’s minimal admissibility criteria. Certain criminal acts and medical conditions may result in a person being inadmissible.

How to calculate CRS points

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used by Canada to rank and select candidates based on a variety of criteria in order to determine whether they are qualified to become permanent residents through the Express Entry immigration system.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts Express Entry Draws usually every two weeks, and those with the highest CRS scores will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

To calculate your CRS score use this CRS tool, or contact us.

Is proof of funds required

The CEC program does not need proof of funds. You will not be asked to submit any documents regarding your finances.

Can I apply from outside of Canada

Yes. You may apply from outside Canada as long as you fulfil the CEC eligibility.

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.

Read the blog

Learn about immigration to Canada, Express Entry, working in Canada, studying in Canada, and more.


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