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Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of the three immigration programs operated through Canada’s Express Entry system. As with all programs contained within Express Entry, CEC uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank interested candidates against one another, only inviting the most competitive candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

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Each year, over half of all immigrants to Canada are skilled workers welcomed through economic programs, including the Canadian Experience Class program. For qualified candidates the CEC program can be a fast option for obtaining Canadian permanent residence, and with it, the right to live and work in Canada permanently.

CEC Program Requirements

One important factor of CEC is the Canadian experience requirement. In order to be eligible for CEC, a candidate must have at least 12-months of full-time, skilled work experience, completed in Canada within the previous 3 years (or an equivalent amount in part-time experience). This program is not an option for foreign nationals who do not possess this level of Canadian experience.

In order to count work experience towards the requirement, the work experience must meet the following conditions:

  • Work experience obtained in Canada within the 36 months prior to both: (1) the date an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is received; and, (2) the date of submission of the electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR).
  • Skilled Work experience. This means the experience falls under the NOC Code Skill Level 0, A, or B.
  • Lawfully obtained work experience in Canada.
  • An applicant cannot count work experience obtained while engaged in full-time studies in Canada.

In addition to the Canadian experience requirement, CEC has several other eligibility criteria which must be met in order to submit:

  • Language
    Reach a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 on an approved English or French language test for NOC skill level 0 or A jobs. Reach a CLB 5 for NOC B jobs.
  • Residence in Canada
    Intend to live outside of the province of Quebec.

Provided a candidate meets these requirements, they will be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile for the Canadian Experience Class program. However, candidates should note that they must meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirements. Certain criminal offences and medical conditions may make a person inadmissible to Canada.

CEC Application Procedure

If a candidate meets these requirements, they can submit an Express Entry profile to be considered for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in future draws. Submitting an Express Entry profile does not guarantee a candidate will receive Canadian permanent residence.

When submitting an Express Entry profile, a CEC candidate will be required to provide information from several documents:

  • Language Proficiency Test Results
    All candidates under the Express Entry programs must must provide results from an approved language test taken within the previous two years.
  • Identification Documents
    Candidates will be required to provide information from identification documents. Ideally, a candidate and all accompanying family members should possess passports valid for travel.

Though educational documents are not required for CEC, an applicant must have certain documentation in order to claim points for education:

  • Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA)
    In order to claim points for education, a CEC candidate must provide a valid ECA report attesting to the value of foreign education by Canadian standards. There are five organizations in Canada authorized to issue ECA reports. This is not required for educational credentials obtained from a Canadian educational institution.

Only after submitting an Express Entry profile will a candidate be assigned a CRS score. While Canadian work experience does benefit a person’s CRS score, it does not guarantee they will be in the competitive range to receive.

Since the Express Entry system launched in 2015, the lowest ranking FSW and CEC candidates to receive an ITA held a CRS score of 413 points. If a candidate is below the competitive range, they should take action to improve their CRS score.

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