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Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program

Updated: November 22nd, 2022

There are over 100 different routes that you can take to get permanent residence in Canada. The trick is finding and applying for the Canadian immigration program that is best suited to your unique profile. Do you have skilled work experience obtained in Canada? Then the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) could be the perfect immigration program for you. Learn everything you need to know about this fast-track immigration program to Canada below.   

What is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)? 

Move to a Canadian city when your Canadian Experience Class application succeeds.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of three Canadian skilled worker immigration programs that are managed by the Federal Express Entry system. Specifically, the CEC is designed for permanent residence applicants who have Canadian work experience that they obtained through a temporary work permit. Seeing as temporary foreign workers are most likely already settled in Canadian society with support networks, they can easily transition to becoming permanent residents and eventual citizens of Canada. The CEC provides them with the path towards achieving this goal.   

Because the CEC is managed by the Express Entry system, successful applicants will enjoy some of the fastest processing times in Canadian immigration. Before you can enter the pool of Express Entry candidates you will first need to meet all the requirements of the Canadian Experience Class.    

What are the Canadian Experience Class Requirements?

There are several requirements you will have to meet in order to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class program. It is worth mentioning that there is no education requirement for the CEC; however, your educational background can help to boost your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points which are used to rank your profile among the pool of Express Entry candidates.    

Requirements for The Canadian Experience Class
Work experienceYou must have one year of skilled, Canadian work experience. The work experience must be:
  • for a full-time position; or
  • the equivalent time in a part-time position;
  • legally obtained in Canada;
  • from jobs defined by the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) as level 0, A or B.
EducationThere is no education requirement for this program. You can; however, increase your Express Entry score by:
  • earning a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian secondary or tertiary school;
  • completing a foreign credential;
  • getting an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) showing your previous education meets Canadian standards.
Language skillYou must:
  • take an approved language test for writing, reading, listening, and speaking;
  • meet the minimum language requirement of Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs.
AdmissibilityYou must legally be allowed to enter Canada.

Another great feature of this program is that if you qualify, you can move to any province and territory in Canada except for Quebec. Remember, the French-speaking province of Quebec has its own immigration programs with different processes and requirements.

Canadian Experience Class applications also do not need proof of settlement funds making the required documentation significantly less. This allows applications to be processed in as little as three to four months! 

How to Apply for the Canadian Experience Class

Businessman checks his phone for updates on his Canadian Experience Class application.

Step 1 - Work in Canada for One Year

You must have at least one year of Canadian work experience. Unfortunately, the self-employment and work experience you earned while you were a full-time student does not count. However, the work experience you obtained through temporary visas, like the Working Holiday Visa, does count towards this requirement.   

Step 2 - Meet Minimum Criteria

Make sure you meet all of the requirements discussed in the table above. To discover your Canadian Language Benchmark level, you will have to complete an approved language test like IELTS for English and TEF for French. We advise you to apply for an ECA as soon as possible as this certificate typically takes quite some time to be processed.

Step 3 - Create Your Express Entry Profile

As mentioned previously, the Federal Express Entry (EE) program manages the pool of candidates for the Canadian Experience Class. Therefore you must create an online Express Entry profile to qualify for the program.  

Your Express Entry profile will be given a score out of a possible 1,200 according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). These points take into consideration your age, work experience, language ability, education, and several other factors. Your profile is then ranked against other profiles in the Express Entry pool based on CRS scores. 

Candidates with the highest-ranking Express Entry profiles are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws held by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

Step 4 - Gather Documents

Once you have your Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian PR (permanent residence) you need to gather all of the required documents. You will need a criminal record check and a medical certificate. You must then submit your application for Canadian PR within 60 days of receiving your ITA.

Step 5 - Get Confirmation of Permanent Residence

As mentioned before, CEC applications are typically processed within 4 months. Once approved, you will receive a confirmation of the permanent residence document. This will serve as proof of your permanent residence when you arrive in Canada. 

Here is a summary of how the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) works:

Canadian Experience Class infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the advantages of the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class?

The biggest advantage of applying for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class is that there are fewer requirements to qualify. The fewer requirement means less paperwork, which means faster visa application processing. Not only are there no specific educational requirements, but you don't need to show proof of settlement funds as you would for the Federal Skilled Worker and Trades programs.

2. How does Canada calculate experience?

Skilled work experience under the Express Entry system must be paid work. This includes paid wages or earned commission, and doesn't include volunteer work or unpaid internships. Qualifying work experience includes up to 30 hours per week for 12 months or equal to one year of full-time or 1,560 hours. Hours will not be counted if you work more than 30 hours per week.

Part-time work experience counts if you worked for more or less 15 hours per week as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours. You can work more than one part-time job to accumulate the number of hours needed to apply.

3. What is a good score for the Canadian Experience Class?

Qualifying scores for Express Entry programs depend entirely on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores of other applicants in your draw pool. On average, qualifying CRS scores for the CEC class draws ranged between 357 and 462. Based on CRS scores from 2021 draws, scoring at least 407 would get you an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

4. Is a medical test required for the Canadian Experience Class?

To be considered eligible to enter Canada, you have to be able to show that you are in good health and may be required to provide a medical certificate.

5. Will the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws continue?

The IRCC has been experiencing a backlog in processing Express entry applications and has therefore stopped processing CEC and FSWP applications, just for the time being. This is to allow for the 14,000 CEC and 600 FSWP applications waiting to be processed. In a similar attempt to alleviate the backlog due to pandemic restrictions earlier this year, the IRCC dropped the qualifying CRS score to just 75 points in two consecutive draws held on February 13 2021, inviting an incredible 54,664 applicants to apply for permanent residency.

Ready to Put Your Experience to Work in Canada?

If the Canadian Experience Class sounds like it might be the right pathway for you, we're here to make your application easy. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are all authorized by the Government of Canada to assist with your application.  

With an immigration expert, like an RCIC, working on your case your application will be more likely to succeed because they will ensure all the documentation is completed correctly and submitted on time. They provide you with a simplified, error-free immigration route to Canada.   

Once you sign up for our services, the first step is completing our comprehensive online evaluation. This will allow you to discover all of your immigration options, including your eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class. Our RCICs will provide you with a report detailing which programs you are most likely to succeed with. Discover if you can immigrate to Canada, sign up today! 

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