Canadian Experience Class Immigration Application

Basic Requirements

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a type of application for permanent residence for foreign workers living in Canada. To qualify under this category the applicant must have obtained at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years. The applicant must also show English or French language abilities commensurate with the skill level of their work experience. Those who wish to apply under the CEC must register through the Express Entry system and wait to be invited prior to applying.

Full-time Experience

“Full time” employment is defined as at least 30 hours per week. If the employment was not full time, then part-time employment that equates to the full time requirement will also be considered (for example, two years of work experience at 15 hours per week equates to the required one year of experience at 30 hours per week).

Skilled Work Experience

Canadian Experience ClassThe work experience must be skilled. Occupations that fall under Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC), are considered to be skilled by the immigration authorities. This applies to hundreds of occupations so it is difficult to describe which employment specifically is considered to be skilled, but generally speaking, skilled work is work that requires some level of education or special training in order to perform, whereas jobs that just about anyone could do with some basic training are not skilled. The work experience can be in any skilled occupation, there is no requirement to work in the same field as the subject matter of any previous studies in Canada. The experience can be with multiple jobs and/or with multiple employers, and does not need to be continuous, as long as it adds up to the required one year of skilled experience in three years.

Self-employment Not Eligible

The required work experience must not be through self-employment, even if the self-employment is skilled and is documented. All applicants are required to provide satisfactory evidence of their work experience in Canada, including the fact that they were in an employer-employee relationship during their period of qualifying work experience.

Work Experience While a Student Not Counted

In the case of students, only work experience gained after the completion of the course of study can be considered. Full time students who have completed a course of study in Canada can apply for a Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP) valid for up to three years that will allow them to work for any employer willing to hire them. After obtaining the PGWP and working for one year in a skilled occupation, an application for permanent residence under the CEC can be made.

English or French Language Requirement

Another requirement of this category is that the applicant must be able to speak English or French at a moderate or high proficiency level, depending on the skill level of the Canadian work experience the applicant obtained. The applicant will have to undergo language testing to prove their abilities, whether or not they are from an English or French speaking country. The work experience must have been obtained while the applicant had legal temporary resident status as a worker. Applicants resident in Canada must have legal temporary resident status at the time they make the application, but do not need to be employed. Those who have left Canada but meet the above requirements can still make an application under the CEC.

Bridging Work Permit

Once filed, the CEC application will take about one year to process, depending on the workload and priorities of the immigration authorities. Those who wish to remain working in Canada while the application processes can apply for an open “bridging” work permit, provided that their CEC application has been received by the immigration authorities and they apply for the bridging work permit before their existing work permit expires.


Applications under the CEC category are assessed on a pass or fail basis using the above-described criteria. There is no point system and there is no discretion on the part of an immigration officer.

Express Entry

Prior to submitting a CEC application potential applicants must register a profile through the Express Entry system and wait to be invited to apply. If the applicant obtained their highest level of education in a foreign country, in preparation for creating an Express Entry profile the applicant should have their foreign post-secondary educational credentials assessed for their Canadian equivalent.

Contact Us

If you are interested in making an application for permanent residence under the CEC, the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery has extensive experience with this type of case and can help you. Please contact us for further information.
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