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How To Apply for Canadian Experience Class

If you have worked or studied in Canada, you may qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) stream. Watch this video for more information. Then, fill out our immigration assessment form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.

No CEC draws have been held by IRCC since 2021. The most recent CEC draw occurred on September 14, 2021. Given the changes that have happened with Express Entry draws and the immigration system, it is highly unlikely that CEC draws will continue to take place in 2024.

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What is CEC?

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program aimed to help temporary foreign workers and foreign students to apply their Canadian work experience and education towards their Canada PR application. The Canadian Experience Class supports the transition from a temporary to permanent status taking into account the time that the international student or skilled worker spent in Canada while contributing to Canadian society.

Express Entry

The Canadian Experience Class program is one out of three economic programs within the online Express Entry system. The Express Entry pool manages permanent residence applications for immigrants who can fill jobs where there is a lack of available skilled Canadian workers.

Express Entry federal economic immigration programs:

Both foreign graduates as well as temporary foreign workers need to have work experience in Canada to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class draw. All of the requirements for the Canadian Experience Class are based on a pass or fail model. If the minimum requirements are met, the applicant is eligible to apply to this program.

Calculating Your CRS Score

A  CRS score that ranks an applicant’s position within the Express Entry pool is calculated the same as applicants within the FSWP or FSTP category. This means each candidate’s CRS score will be based on their age, language skills, education, work experience, having a job offer or not, and adaptability. those in the Express Entry pool will have the opportunity to keep increasing their CRS score if they wish!

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Who is Eligible for the Canadian Experience Class?

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program was created specifically for those holding the required Canadian work experience before gaining Canada PR.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Requirements

When  order to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class you must:

  • meet the required language levels needed for your job for each language ability within writing, reading, listening, and speaking
  • have at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last 3 years before you apply. The work experience must be full-time or an equal amount in part-time
  • have gained your work experience by working in Canada legally

How Canadian Work Experience is Calculated

Your skilled work experience must be paid work including paid wages or earned commission. Volunteer work or unpaid internships are not counted.

For part-time work, you can work more or less than 15 hours/week as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours. You can work more than 1 part-time job to get the hours you need to apply!

According to the Canadian National Occupational Classification, skilled work experience means:

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

Your work experience can be in 1 or more NOC 0, A or B jobs. Find your NOC Code!

Education Requirements for CEC Immigration

There is no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class. Although if you want to increase your CRS score you can do so with your Education experience with these two options:

  • If you went to school in Canada, you can get points for a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian University or post-secondary institution. 
  • If you have foreign education, you can get points for a completed foreign credential or an EAC report.  

Language Requirement for CEC

You must:

  • meet the minimum language level of:
    • Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs OR
    • Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs
  • take approved language tests for:
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • describe the test results in your Express Entry profile

Your language tests are valid for 2 years after the date of the test result and must be valid on the day you apply for permanent residence.

How to Apply for the Canadian Experience Class

Receiving a Canadian work permit is the first and most important step to applying for there CEC program. You need at least a year of work experience (or more, if part-time) in order to be eligible under the Canadian Experience Class.

This is when you will complete an approved Canadian language test followed by creating your Express Entry profile on the IRCC website.

You will be asked to provide some personal information on the following information:

  • age
  • education
  • language proficiency
  • income
  • Canadian work experience
  • spouse (if applicable)

After you’ve completed your Express Entry profile, its time to wait! Receiving an ITA can be a relieving step in the process for many. An Invitation to Apply (ITA) is an invitation that allows some people who submitted a profile to Express Entry to apply for permanent residence. If you accept the invitation, you application will be processed in 6 months or less.

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All applicants are screened for potential medical and criminal inadmissibility. At this stage, you will need to show that you have completed a medical exam with an IRCC-recognized physician.

In addition, you have to provide a police background check (also known as a clearance certificate) from each country you have lived in for at least six months since the age of 18. The e-application, which must be submitted within 60 days of receiving an ITA, must also include detailed work reference letters from previous employers.

Given the tight time frame, it is a good idea to gather the background checks and work reference letters before you receive an ITA.

A Canadian immigration officer will review the submitted e-application and let you know if anything else is required. Most applications submitted under the Canadian Experience Class are processed within less than six months. 

Once you have your confirmation of status, you may then apply for your PR card. If you travel outside Canada, you may use this card as proof of your status in Canada.

Can I Apply for CEC Outside of Canada?

Applicants have the option to apply for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program inside or outside of Canada, as long as their Canadian work experience has not exceeded 3 years prior to applying. 

Does internship work count as work experience for CEC?

If an applicants internship is paid and not part of their education, then it may be counted towards the Express Entry work experience requirement! This must be an internship after being a student, meaning an internship while you are a full-time student does not count.

Are proof of funds required for CEC?

No. Only those applying for the Federal Skilled Work Program or Federal Skilled Trades Program need to submit proof of funds to be approved.

Need Help Applying for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

We have helped thousands of skilled workers and students to successfully obtain permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class program. Our experienced immigration lawyers will be able to assess your case and recommend a course of action to best serve your needs.

The VisaPlace Express Entry Application Service will get you in to the pool quickly and with a profile that gives you the best chance of being selected. Find out if you are eligible for our Express Entry Service by clicking Get Started.