Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

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Thanks to Lucy O’Connor for contributing this article on Canadian Experience Class (CEC). It provides some very useful information for anyone taking this route to Permanent Residency (PR).

Update as of Feb 3 2015: Immigration lawyers and consultants across Canada are confirming that their clients are receiving rejections based on the 8,000 cap being reached somewhere around the 20th – 24th of Oct. Each individual must receive a rejection to know where you stand but if you submitted after the 20th of October, it is recommended that you start working on your Express Entry profile.

Disclaimer: The Moving2Canada Team are not registered immigration professionals. We always recommend verifying information provided with an immigration expert. Immigration rules are constantly evolving and we do our best to keep your informed. See Immigration Advice for a list of recommended experts.

Important Changes announced in November 2013:
As of November 9th 2013, Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept a maximum of 12,000 new, complete applications under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. This cap does not affect existing applications and only those received after November 9th 2013. As of November 9, 2013, work experience in the following National Occupation Classification (NOC) B occupations (listed with the corresponding NOC code) will not be accepted in the CEC:

  • Cooks (NOC 6322)
  • Food service supervisors (NOC 6311)
  • Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
  • Administrative assistants (NOC 1241)
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311)
  • Retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211)

For all other NOC B occupations, we will accept up to 200 applications per occupation. Once  the cap of 12,000 successful candidates is reached, CIC will no longer accept applications for that occupation.

See this link from CIC for full details on these changes:
Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – Number of applications accepted

As of January 2nd 2013, Canadian Experience Class (CEC) announced a change to reduce the required amount of Canadian work experience from 24 months to 12 months. This will allow foreign workers to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency sooner.

Applicants to the CEC program must now:
• Demonstrate at least 12 months of full-time paid work in a skilled occupation in the 36 months preceding the date of application; and,
• Demonstrate a minimum language proficiency in English or French as per the guidelines applicable to the applicant’s occupation. A positive English test is mandatory for all applicants regardless of their nationality. The CELPIP-General Test can assist you with this.

This change is very useful for those coming to Canada on a working holiday visa from Ireland & the UK. These countries offer 24 months’ working holiday visa so the applicant could be eligible to apply early in the second year of their visa.

For more information on the requirements and types of work included under skilled work, see link below:
Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – Citizen and Immigration Canada

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Explained

So for those of you who have done your time in Canada and have (or will have) one year (as of Jan 2 2013) of professional experience or study in your field in this country, the CEC is probably the best route towards residency for you.

What is it?

It’s a process by which you obtain Permanent Resident status in Canada, bringing to an end your need for sponsored work visas in order to work in Canada. Under CEC, the application is submitted by the individual, not your employer, and is going to set you back at the least $1,000 to $1,200 in application, landing and medical fees.


  • You will be free to work in Canada (except in Quebec) allowing you to change job as easily as a Canadian.
  • It’s step one towards citizenship (if that’s your ultimate aim).
  • It lasts for five years, giving you plenty of time to see if you want to settle here or not. You must, however, spend a certain amount of time within Canada during your first five years in order to renew it again.
  • You can still apply even if you have left Canada, or plan to leave during the application process. Once you have completed two years of work or study in Canada you are eligible.


  • English proficiency test is mandatory.
  • It’s expensive (your employer may or may not chip in).
  • It requires quite a bit of paperwork.
  • The waiting times are unpredictable as it is a relatively new process, brought in to alleviate the numbers applying through the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
  • You have to be a Skill Type O, A or B on the NOC list. The Federal Skilled Worker route is probably the best choice for you in this case.

What You Need To Know

  • Immigration Lawyers can process this for you for a fee, though this is not necessary in every case. The great thing about the CEC is that it is designed to determine your eligibility on a purely factual basis. You are either eligible or not. Once you meet the requirements set out online, you will receive your residency. There is no need to convince them further than that. The paperwork is not overly complicated, but you must be diligent in compiling it, and very clear on your application form. That said, I applied as a single person, with no dependents, and with English as my first language, so it was a pretty straightforward application.
  • You need paperwork from home, including College/University transcripts, a police certificate and copies of your birth certificate. Either sort it on your next trip home or get a very obliging friend or family member to help you out.
  • You have to get medicals done during the process, which means blood tests, urine tests and X-rays. These must be carried out by a CIC-approved doctor (lists are available on the website below, depending on your location in Canada). A lot of people apply early for their medicals (i.e. prior to the official request) to save time, usually soon after they receive their AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) which contains their Bxxxxxxx number (required on your medical form). This is because once you complete your medicals, it takes about 2-4 weeks for the results to come back, and then they are sent to Ottawa and placed into a system there. When the Consulate that is processing your CEC application eventually does request your medicals from you, you will send them a receipt showing proof of medicals taken and they will contact Ottawa to request the results, which will be there waiting for them if you completed your medicals ahead of time.
  • You can call the general CIC number to ask them any questions you have about your application and you can also check your application status online once you receive your Bxxxxxx number. The Consulates themselves do not usually take calls about your Canadian Experience Class application (Buffalo definitely doesn’t), though they sometimes respond to emails. CIC, if you are polite to them, can give you certain information on the status of your application. They have no power over the processing of your CEC application, but often they can see more information on your status than you can online. For example, they can tell you if Ottawa has received your medicals or not. Be nice though, as they are not obliged to tell you anything.
  • Be prepared for unpredictable wait times, and also be prepared for varying wait times between you and your friend even though you both applied on the same day. There seems to be little consistency to the order or speed in which applications are processed. I would highly recommend signing up to the trackitt website and keep reading through the forums. It is a great site for information, and a place of solidarity during those frustrating months when you can’t seem to get any idea of when you might reach the next step in your application process.
  • The CIC website is still quoting a lengthy application time for the Canadian Experience Class program. It can typically take around 12 months.
  • It’s worth it. Be patient.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – Citizen and Immigration Canada
Application Information

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