The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that allows individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year to immigrate permanently.
The government of Canada recognizes the deep pool of talented workers already working in Canada, and wants them to become permanent residents. These are individuals and families who have set down roots and made plans for the future in Canada.
Prior to 2015, Canadian Experience Class applications were managed on a first-come, first-served basis. Since 2015, however, Canadian Experience Class applications are processed under the Express Entry immigration selection system.
What is Express Entry?
Essentially, Express Entry allows Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to invite eligible candidates to make an application for permanent residence.
These candidates have all made a formal ‘Expression of Interest’ in settling in Canada. They create an online Express Entry profile and enter the pool, where they are given a score and ranked under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on the personal information they provided.
In addition to the Canadian Experience Class, the pool contains candidates under the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC). IRCC then invites candidates to apply during its Express Entry draws from the pool.
Canadian Experience Class advantages
For Canadian Experience Class candidates there are three distinct advantages, and one possible disadvantage, under Express Entry.
- Canadian Experience Class candidates have built up at least one year of Canadian work experience. This is a highly-valued factor under the CRS, and, as such, gives these applicants something of a “head start” against other candidates in the pool.
- Because the required documentation is minimal, Canadian Experience Class applications are processed quickly, often within three to four months.
- Applicants under the Canadian Experience Class are not required to show proof of settlement funds, as FSWC and FSTC candidates are.
- Even if you are eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, there is no guarantee that you will be invited to do so. There are steps you may take to improve your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA). More on that below.
But first, let’s look at the eligibility requirements, because it is not merely enough to have accrued a year of work experience in Canada.
Canadian Experience Class eligibility criteria
CEC applicants must:
- Have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equivalent in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years. This experience must have been while on a valid work permit and needs to be in an occupation classified as skill type 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC);
- Plan on living outside the province of Quebec; and
- Meet the required language levels needed for your job for each language ability (speaking, reading, listening, and writing). These levels are outlined in the table below.