Everything You Need to Know About the Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program allows highly skilled immigrants to move to Canada without first going through the tedious process of obtaining permanent residence status. This article will help you learn everything you need to know about the CEC, including how it works, how to determine if you qualify, and how to begin the application process.

Everything You Need to Know About the Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class, or CEC, is one of Canada’s three immigration programs designed to attract skilled workers who can contribute to the Canadian economy and population growth. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) allows skilled workers from select countries who have at least one year of experience in Canada to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the CEC program. 

In 2010, the Canadian government introduced the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program in order to help highly skilled immigrants find work more easily in Canada. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that allows skilled, foreign workers to come to Canada and earn permanent residency through a two-step process in which they first apply for an open work permit and then later apply for permanent residency itself after at least one year of work experience in Canada.

If you have experience working in Canada, either as a student or as an employee, you may be eligible to apply under this category. Like the other two immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program, there are certain factors that determine whether you qualify for permanent residency under the CEC rules.

In order to be eligible, you must have 1 year of full-time work experience or the equivalent part-time experience within the last 3 years in one of the following occupations: – Managerial Occupations – Professional Occupations – Technical Occupations – Skilled Trades Occupations If you have this type of work experience, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through the CEC program. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about CEC programs, including what they are, how to apply, and how much you can expect to pay.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Canadian Experience Class so you can learn whether or not it’s right for you.

What is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of three Canadian skilled worker immigration programs that are managed by the Federal Express Entry system. It 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. With CEC, individuals with at least one year of full-time work experience in Canada can apply to be permanent residents on the basis of their experience and training.

The Canadian Experience Class Program is developed for people of foreign nationalities who have been working in Canada as temporary workers and want to become permanent residents. So if you have been working in Canada for 1 year as a full-time or part-time employee in the past 3 years, then you can apply for the Canada Experience Class and try to become a permanent resident. 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 requirements for the Canadian Experience Class?

Moreover, there are several requirements you will have to meet in order to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class Program. You can determine if you do by taking a quick test or survey on the Canadian Immigration Website. By clicking the button “Check your Eligibility”, you will go through the test which has various questions about your background. This test determines whether you fulfill the requirements and if you do, it will generate an application number that you can later use.

The survey will test you on:

  • Work Experience and Occupation Level
  • Language Ability and Education
  • Admissibility

Moreover, there's no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class Program; 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.

Work experience

You 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.


Just like we mentioned above, there's no education requirement for the CEC. But you can 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 skill

To meet this requirement, you 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.


  • You must legally be allowed to enter Canada

How to Apply for the Canadian Experience Class

Here's an overview of the CEC application process.

1. Obtain a Canadian work permit

Having the right to work in Canada is an important prerequisite under this program. Receiving a Canadian work permit is the first and most important step in applying for the 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. 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.

2. Meet the eligibility criteria

Make sure you meet all of the aforementioned requirements. Get your language test done. To discover your Canadian Language Benchmark level, you will have to complete an approved language test like IELTS for English and TEF for French. Candidates with some ability in both English and French can be awarded additional points for ability in their second language.

3. Create your express entry profile

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. This step is completed on the IRCC website. You will be asked to provide some personal information:

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

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).

4. Receive an invitation to apply

After you’ve completed your Express Entry profile, it's 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, your application will be processed in 6 months or less. 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.

5. Get confirmation of permanent residence

A Canadian immigration officer will review the submitted e-application and let you know if anything else is required. 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. 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.

Furthermore, 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.


Moreover, here are some of the frequently asked questions related to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program:

How Long Does It Take To Get A Decision?

When you apply for permanent residence through CEC, it will take approximately 4 months for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to process your application. If your application is approved, it will then take 2-3 weeks for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to issue you a Confirmation of Permanent Residence letter. Finally, after you receive that letter, it can take another 1-2 months before you are issued your visa by a visa office abroad.

What Happens If My Application Is Not Approved?

If your application is not approved, you will be notified by mail. The letter will include instructions on how to submit a new application or how to appeal. There is no specific timeframe that you have in which to reapply, but we recommend applying for permanent residence at least six months before your current status expires. If you wish to challenge the decision made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you must do so within 60 days of receiving the letter.

Should I Contact An Immigration Consultant To Help Me Through This Process?

Yes! First and foremost, there is absolutely no shame in hiring a professional. The CEC can be an incredibly tricky program and deciding whether or not you qualify can be extremely difficult. It’s better to have someone who knows what they’re doing than accidentally disqualify yourself because you didn’t know all of your options. With that said, below are some steps for determining if you're eligible for the Canadian Experience Class

Will I Be Able To Work In Canada While My Application Is Being Processed?

If you’re granted permanent residence through a program like CEC, then you’ll be eligible for open work permits so long as your application is in process. This means that you can apply for any jobs that become available and still remain eligible for residency status. However, if your employer asks for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and it isn’t approved, you won’t be able to work without it.

What's Next After My Application Has Been Approved By IRCC?

Once you have been approved for immigration through a CEC program, you can apply for your PR Card and travel with your family. It is important that you keep your address up-to-date in all of your government records and notify IRCC if you move or travel outside of Canada so that they can accurately process any mail they may send to you. You should also get familiar with the language, culture, and customs of Canada. With these new skills and experiences under your belt, it will be easier to find employment opportunities in Canada.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are more than 100 different pathways to getting permanent residence in Canada. The trick is finding and applying for the Canadian immigration program that is best suited to your unique profile. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) could be the perfect immigration program for you if you"ve skilled work experience obtained in Canada.

The CEC is only open for 12 months each year, and slots can fill up fast. Apply as soon as you’re eligible, even if you’re not yet sure when you’ll want to move. Don’t forget! If you have questions about your eligibility or application, you can also contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada directly. For more information on becoming a permanent resident of Canada, visit the citizenship and immigration authority in Canada vis the link below.