Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is intended for people who already work in Canada. It takes into account the fact that you may have already set up social networks and have Canadian work experience. To be eligible to apply for this program, you have to have worked for at least one year in a skilled, professional or technical position at a Canadian company. You must also pass a language test.

You don’t qualify for the CEC if you’re self-employed. Some foreigners who attend university in Canada gain experience working at a coop or interning. Those positions don’t count as skilled, professional or technical positions within the Canadian workforce.

However, the CEC is ideal for people who graduate from a Canadian university or college. Those people are usually allowed to stay in the country temporarily with a postgraduate work permit. After one year of working in a qualified field under that permit, you may become eligible to apply for Express Entry under the CEC. 5 years of Canadian work experience.

CEC program opens the door to Canada for foreign students and foreign workers. For many international graduates, Canadian Experience Class may be fastest option for achieving Canadian permanent residence. One of the objectives of the CEC is to increase the supply of skilled workers in Canada. Please note that any work experience acquired in Canada without valid work authorization will not be considered. Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (such as on a co-op work term) doesn’t count under this program.  CEC application will take some time to process. If you are currently working in Canada and you have applied for permanent residence under CEC class, you may be eligible for a bridging open work permit if your work permit will expire in four months or less. This means you can keep working while IRCC makes a decision on your permanent resident application.

As of January 1, 2015, foreign nationals are selected through Express Entry System and must receive invitation before they may apply.  Applicants can remain in Canada throughout the application process.

However, the Canadian Experience Class is also open to individuals who are no longer in Canada, if they submit their application within three years of leaving their job in Canada.

To qualify for the CEC through Express Entry, you must have:

  • at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last three years (before you apply). The work was: full-time OR an equal amount in part-time
  • gained your work experience in Canada with the proper authorization
  • take approved language test and meet minimum requirements
  • planned to live outside the province of Quebec

If the applicant meets all of the requirements, the officer will approve the application.

If the applicant fails to meet any one of the requirements, the officer will refuse the application.

If the officer is unable to make a decision, due to lack of information or documentation, or there are serious doubts as to the legitimacy of the documents submitted, the officer will

  • write to the applicant, explaining the concerns, and allow the applicant to respond to those concerns through correspondence/documentation and/or an interview; or
  • refuse the application