Permanent Residence

Canadian Experience Class

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Express Entry


This category is open to students who have graduated from select Canadian post secondary institutions which require at least two years of study and one year of recent full time Canadian experience at the NOC O, A, or B level. This category is also open to temporary workers in Canada who possess a secondary school diploma, or trade certificate or apprenticeship plus two years of Canadian work experience at the NOC O, A or B level.

Skilled workers looking to become permanent residents in Canada can do so through a variety of programs. One of these programs in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), one of three skilled workers programs available through the Federal Express Entry system, an online application processing system managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Temporary foreign workers already established in Canada are perfectly positioned to easily transition into permanent residents and eventually become citizens. The Canadian Experience Class selects candidates on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada. CEC considers a number of factors such as candidates’ age, education, language proficiency, and work experience to determine a score using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which is then used to rank applicants within the pool of Express Entry candidates.

The CEC program presents three main advantages:

  1. Candidates already have Canadian work experience, a factor that is highly valued for the CRS and helps increase a candidate’s overall points total.
  2. With candidates already established in Canada, there is minimal documentation required, a fact that helps speed up application processing, resulting in some of the fastest turnaround times in Canadian immigration.
  3. Unlike other skilled worker programs, there is no need to show proof of settlement funds.

The main drawback of the program, however, is that candidates are pooled in the Express Entry program. As a result, there is no guarantee of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.

Canadian Experience Class vs Federal Skilled Workers Program

Both the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class are managed by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through the Express Entry system.

Under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, candidates are assessed based on their work experience abroad. Their work experience has to be continuous for at least one year, and in one National Occupation Class. The Canadian Experience Class, on the other hand, looks at a candidate’s work experience completed in Canada and waives the requirement that the work be continuous. It is therefore possible to complete the require work experience in multiple occupations, but these occupations must still be classified as NOC skill level 0, A or B.

With the Express Entry system, the application processing time is accelerated and individuals and their families who wish to become permanent residents in Canada can do so in just a few months.

Although some work experience requirements differ between programs, candidates for both programs must have work experience in occupations listed as skill type 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) matrix and meet minimal language requirements.

Candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Program must also meet education requirements and demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and their family. The Canadian Experience Class, focused on graduates from Canadian institutions and candidates already settled and working in Canada, does not have education requirements or require proof of settlement funds.

Canadian Experience Class Eligibility

The Canadian Experience Class is open to graduate students from select Canadian colleges and universities who have completed a minimum of 2 years of study, and to temporary foreign workers who already have skilled work experience in Canada.

To qualify for the Canadian Experience Class, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  1. Having completed at least 12 months of full-time skilled work experience in Canada (or the equivalent number of hours in part-time work) in the 36 months prior to
            1) the date at which they received their Invitation to Apply (ITA), and
            2) the date of submission of their electronic Application for Permanent Residency (eAPR). (note, work hours completed while engaged in full-time studies in Canada cannot count towards the minimum work experience requirement.) 
  2. Having gained their work experience in occupations classified by the National Occupancy i Classification (NOC) in the skill types 0, A or B.
  3. Having worked in Canada legally under a temporary work permit.i
  4. Demonstrating language proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages (English or French).i To do so, candidates must reach level 7 (for NOC 0 or A occupations) or level 5 (for NOC B occupations) on a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) language test. The test result must be less than 2 years old on application submission date. Candidates must also take a language test approved by IRCC that shows you meet the required levels in writing, reading, listening, and speaking.
  5. Intending to live outside of the province of Quebec (Quebec chooses its own skilled workers i through a different, provincially managed program).

Although the Canadian Experience Class program does not have strict educational requirements, candidates wishing to earn additional points for the Express Entry application can submit proof of:

  1. A Canadian secondary (high school) education or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree, or
  2. A completed foreign credential and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a IRCC-approved agency. The report must state that their foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian secondary (high school) or post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree.

Workers who satisfy all of the requirements can submit their profile through the Express Entry program. All applicants, regardless of their eligibility for the CEC program, must meet Immigration Canada’s basic criteria. Certain criminal offenses or medical conditions could render an applicant inadmissible in Canada.

Canadian Experience Class Application Process

Before applying, skilled workers must first determine whether they are eligible for the CEC (requirements are detailed above). If all criteria are met, candidates must gather all necessary documents to be able to provide the required proof of identification, education and language proficiency upon request. With documents in hand, candidates can then create a profile through the Express Entry program to be considered for an Invitation to Apply (ITA). The creation of a profile does not guarantee that permanent residence will be obtained.

Applications made through the Express Entry system are pooled and ranked against one another using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), a point system that assigns a numerical value to a range of factors: age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and more. The candidates with the highest CRS scores will then receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), giving them 60 days to submit a Permanent Residence application. All applicants are then screened for medical and criminal inadmissibility, and candidates will be asked to undergo a medical exam, provide background checks and include work reference letters to their profile. Once these steps are completed, applications are reviewed and, if all goes well, permanent resident status is granted.

Permanent Residence Processing Time

The majority of Express Entry applications are processed in 6 months or less, with many of them being completed in as little as 3 or 4 months. However, from incomplete information and missing documents to changes in marital status and delayed follow-ups by the applicant, many issues could delay processing. To increase the chances of seeing their application processed quickly, candidates can discuss with our team of experienced lawyers and have their case assessed. Our professionals can suggest improvements, provide advice and guide candidates through the application process.

Canadian Employment: How to Phrase a Work Reference Letter

Work reference letters must be provided for every work experience listed on the application. IRCC requires that the letters be on official company letterhead and include the following information:

  • Name of applicant
  • Company’s contact information (physical address, phone and email address)
  • Name, title and signature of immediate supervisor or human resources officer at the company
  • List of all of the positions held by the applicant while working for the company, with the following details for each position:
    • Job title
    • Duties and responsibilities
    • Beginning and end date of employment (if applicable)
    • Number of work hours per week
    • Annual salary plus benefits

How Chaudhary Law Office Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

Unsure whether you can submit a profile for the CEC? Speak with our team of experienced immigration lawyers to get answers to all of your questions. We not only provide you with up-to-date advice, but we can also help you navigate the application process and increase your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence.


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