Express Entry

Canadian Experience Class

Use your Canadian Work Experience to become a Permanent Resident

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) allows skilled workers who have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience an opportunity to become permanent residents.The CEC program is one of three immigration programs available under the Express Entry system.

Other requirements for the CEC program include:
  • 1 year of full-time (or equivalent in part-time) skilled work experience inside Canada within the last 3 years before you apply
  • Work experience must be obtained while legally working inside Canada
  • Work experience must be obtained under NOC codes 0, A or B (see below)
  • Language skill requirements (see below)
Express Entry Application
Open spousal work permit application

Am I a Skilled Worker?

It is important to first determine if your employment qualifies for the CEC program. There are a number of restrictions on what can be counted as work experience for the CEC program. The definition of skilled work comes from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) job categories. These NOC categories list the job duties which qualify under the CEC program.

Applicants must be employed under the following NOC categories:

  • Managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0)
  • Professional jobs (NOC skill level A)
  • Technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill level B)

There are a variety of NOC codes associated with each NOC category. The goal is to find the NOC code which most resembles your job duties, not your job title. Many applicants fail to recognize this difference and later realize that the job duties associated with their NOC code fail to match.

Why is this important?

Once you receive your Invitation to Apply, the next step is to provide documentation supporting the information within your Express Entry profile. This includes the specific NOC code you have chosen. If you cannot provide evidence, such as employment reference letters, specifically outlining your job duties in relation to your chosen NOC code, you may be found ineligible to apply under the CEC program. As a result, your application will be refused.

Language Requirement

Regardless of your existing ability in Canada’s official languages (French or English), you must write an approved language test which measures your reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.

You must meet a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score for all language categories in order to be eligible for the CEC program. The minimum scores depend on the NOC you have chosen:

  • NOC 0 or A CLB 7
  • NOC B CLB 5

Note: your language test scores are valid for 2 years.

Obtain Canadian Work Experience and Create your Path to Permanent Residency under the CEC Program

If your goal is to become a Canadian permanent resident, you should think ahead and plan out your path to permanent residency. Many individuals focus on entering Canada as quickly as possible, without realizing the barriers they create upon themselves at a later stage.

Whether you are planning to enter Canada as a student or worker, the decisions you make at the outset are crucial in determining your options for permanent residency.

There are many ways to obtain a valid Canadian work permit. They include:
Student to Worker
If you are planning to study in Canada on a full-time basis, you may automatically qualify for a post-graduate work permit upon graduation. This type of work permit gives you up to 3 years to work for any employer in Canada.
Open Spousal Work Permit
If your spouse or common-law partner is working or studying in Canada, you can obtain an open spousal work permit and work for any employer in Canada throughout the duration of your spouse’s or partner’s Canadian visa.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Work Permit

This is a closed or employer-specific work permit, which only allows you to work for one employer. This type of work permit is used to fill gaps in Canada’s labour market. Employers will seek out foreign workers when there is a shortage of applicants who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

If you have an employer who can support you in obtaining an LMIA-based work permit under a CEC qualified occupation, you will be awarded 50 points to your express profile.

International Experience Class (ex. Working Holiday Visa) Intra-Company Transferee

Canadian Experience Class Requirements You Should Know About
There are other requirements applicants must be aware about before applying under the Canadian Experience Class program. They include:

Unlike the Federal Skilled Trades stream, there is no recognition of self-employment as experience for CEC. If you worked for yourself in Canada, without an employer, you are not eligible to apply.

Paid Work
Your work experience must be paid work. Volunteering experience does not apply, no matter the activity.
Working while Studying
You cannot claim any work experience while you were enrolled as a student in Canada. This includes co-op programs and internships, if they were part of your program of study.

The stream measures Canadian work experience in the last three years. This means it is acceptable to apply from outside, after returning to your country, as long as you do not stay too long and cause your experience to “expire” . If this happens, you will not be eligible for this stream unless you were to return and spend at least one more full year working in Canada

No Income Requirement

Unlike other Express Entry programs, CEC does not have an income requirement. You must only demonstrate at least one year of steady income in Canada for your employment (ex. pay stubs, T4, Notice of Assessment)

Have a Question?

How We Can Help

At VisaPath, our representatives are highly experienced with the Express Entry system and the Canadian Experience Class program. We help guide our clients through out each step of the process, ensuring they meet all requirements from the start to ensure a smooth process towards permanent residency.

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Hi Shab, just wanted to leave you a quick note to tell you how grateful I am that you assisted me with me experience class application. I never realized how much was involved and it seemed so simple at first glance. If I had submitted the application I put together, for sure it would have been denied. Your expertise made all the difference. Thank you!

– Claire G.

I am very pleased with the team and their work. The lawyers I worked with to get the permanent residency were all professionals and very quick to respond to my questions. It was a long process but not because of the firm: all the papers needed for the application took time to get issued and then to be processed by the immigration office. Overall, thanks to the team, I was relieved of any stress related to the application as I just needed to follow their guidance. I definitely recommend their service for anyone who is applying for permanent residency.

– Isabelle de Laigue

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply under the Canadian Experience Class route if I have studied or worked illegally?
Unfortunately not, you are unable to declare any study time or work experience that was done illegally. You must have a valid study or work permit at the time for your experience to help you qualify under the Canadian experience class.

Even if you have worked or studied for many years you are not eligible to declare those hours and experience. If you decide to submit an application declaring you have worked illegally than most likely your application will get refused and receive more severe consequences.

I have a post-doctoral level of education in Canada; do I qualify under the Canadian experience class?
Yes, if you have reached this level of education, then you may use this education credential to apply for a post graduate work permit. If you are able to obtain a post graduate work permit then your work experience can be used towards your points for the express entry.
I am from an English speaking country; will I still need to do a language test and provide proof?
Yes, all candidates looking to apply for permanent residency under this category will need to submit proof of language proficiency in English or French. If you are from an English-speaking country, then you have an advantage to get high points on your Language scores. Immigration Canada will still need proof of your language skills by going through a language test and submitting the results.