Canadian Experience Class Program – Explained

It’s no longer news that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program is one of the fastest means of getting a Canadian permanent resident (3-4 months).

It is an immigration program tailor-made to help foreign nationals who have lived, worked, and adapted to Canadian society gain permanent residency in Canada. 

Canadian Experience Class Program – All You Need To Know

If you are a foreign national who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and stayed back in Canada to work or are a temporary foreign worker in Canada, then this program is suitable for you.

Now, we will take a look at the eligibility requirements, how to apply, as well as the advantages, and possible disadvantages of the Canadian Experience Class program.

Eligibility Requirements To Apply For PR Under The Canadian Experience Class Program

Candidates must meet the following requirements to be qualified to apply for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class:

1. You must have either a minimum of one year of full-time work experience in Canada on a legal work permit (30 hours weekly) or a comparable amount of part-time work experience, in the three years before the application date.

2. You must prove that you are proficient in at least one of Canada’s official languages – English or French, and this can only be proven through a language test like IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF from an agency approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Please, note that if you are applying under NOC 0 or NOC A occupations, you need to score at least Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Alternatively, you can sit for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) where you are expected to score at least 6.

However, if you are applying under a NOC B occupation, you need to score at least 5 in CLB or 6 in IELTS, and this covers the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

3. You must intend to reside outside of the province of Quebec.  

That being said, if you gained your work experience in Quebec or you intend to live and work there, you should opt for the Quebec Experience Class as an alternative as you are not eligible to apply through the Canadian Express Class Program.

Most importantly, note that work experience gained via self-employment or while you are a full-time student cannot be used to apply under the Canadian Experience Class Program, so you are not eligible.

Read More: Free French Learning & Getting Paid In Quebec, Canada – Who Is Eligible?

How To Apply For PR Under The Canadian Experience Class Program 

Listed, and explained below are the processes involved in getting your Permanent Resident (PR) card through the Canadian Experience Class Program.

Step 1: Get a Canadian work permit.

A work permit is an indication that you have the right to work in Canada, and this is very important under this program. 

However, if you are eligible under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program or you are the spouse/common-law partner of an international student or foreign worker in Canada, then an open work permit may be an option, otherwise, an employer-specific (‘closed’) work permit may be issued. 

Step 2: Ensure you meet other eligibility criteria as we have previously stated.

Step 3: Create an Express Entry profile

This is done on the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website where you will be required to provide some personal information that could be self-declared or must be accompanied by documentation.

Step 4: Boost your profile and ranking under the Comprehensive Ranking System

If you didn’t meet up with the CRS score required to receive an invitation to apply, then you have to endeavor to boost it.

First, find out why you didn’t meet up to the score, or check if there are documents you failed to submit.

For instance, proof of your level of education. 

Although you are not required to provide this as a CEC candidate, however, note that obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (for those who completed their studies outside Canada) can fetch you 150 CRS points, and when combined with your Canadian work experience and/or language ability which is 100 points, you would have gotten up to 250 CRS points.

That being said, uploading proof of your Canadian education credential will help to maximize your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Another way to improve your score is to complete additional work experience or check if you are qualified under one of the Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program streams, especially the ones in the province you work(ed). 

If your experience and skills are highly sought-after in the province, you could get a 600-point bonus!

Read More: Quebec Skilled Worker Immigration – Language Requirements

Step 5: Receive an invitation to apply

This is the step that every CEC candidate prays to get to as this is an indication that you and your family can now submit an application for permanent residence. 

Note that Invitations to apply are issued whenever IRCC conducts one of its draws from the Express Entry pool, and once you have been invited to apply, you have a period of 60 days to submit a complete application, so get all your documents ready beforehand.

Step 6: Complete a medical, provide security background checks, and submit an e-application

The next step is to undergo a medical exam with an IRCC-recognized panel physician, and present proof that you’ve completed it.

Furthermore, provide a clearance country from the country you’ve lived in for at least six months since you were 18.

This is to enable them to screen you for potential medical and criminal inadmissibility. 

Another important document that must be included in your e-application is comprehensive work reference letters from your past employers.

Please, note that your e-application must be submitted within 60 days of receiving an Invitation To Apply.

Step 7: Your e-application is reviewed

Wait for a Canadian immigration officer to review the e-application you submitted, and you will be informed if you are required to provide anything else.

Step 8: Receive confirmation of permanent resident status (COPR)  and complete the process

It usually takes less than six months to process most applications submitted under the Canadian Experience Class, and if after this, your is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence document. 

This document will now be signed and dated when the permanent residence was granted by an officer at a Canadian port of entry or at the IRCC office.

Step 9: Get your PR card

The final step is to apply for your PR card, and anytime you are outside Canada, you can use this card as proof of your status in Canada.

Advantages Of Applying For PR Under The Canadian Experience Canada Program

Below are some of the advantages Canadian Experience Class candidates have under Express Entry.

1. Since the Canadian Experience Class requires that candidates must have a minimum of one year of Canadian work experience before they can apply, all candidates applying through CEC stand to get additional CRS points since they have Canadian work experience which is a highly-valued factor under the CRS.

2. Canadian Experience Class applications can be processed within three to four months because the required documents are few compared to other programs.

3. Unlike applicants under Federal Skill Worker Class (FSWC), and Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP), candidates under the Canadian Experience Class are not required to show proof of settlement funds.

Read More: All You Need To Know About QUEBEC Immigrant Investor Program

Potential Disadvantages Of Applying For PR Under The Canadian Experience Canada Program

You may be qualified to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, and still not receive an invitation to apply, so there is no guarantee.

Before I conclude, please, note that recently, Citizenship and Immigration, Canada announced there are certain work experiences in NOC category B no longer that will no longer be counted as work experience for a CEC application.  

Some of those occupations include:

  • Cooks (NOC 6322)
  • Administrative Officers (NOC 1221)
  • Food Service Supervisors (6311)
  • Retail Sales Supervisors (NOC 6211)
  • Administrative Assistants (NOC 1241)
  • Accounting Technicians and Bookkeepers (NOC 1311)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Apply To The Canadian Experience Class Program From Outside Of Canada?

As long as you meet the basic eligibility requirements for the Canadian Experience Class, you can apply from anywhere in the world.  

Does Internship Experience In Canada Count Towards My Canadian Experience Class Application?

Well, it can only be counted as part of the Express Entry work experience if your paid internship requirement is not part of your education.  


I have successfully exhausted all you need to know about the Canadian Experience Class program, including the eligibility requirements to apply for PR via this program, how to apply for PR via CEC, and the advantages and disadvantages involved in applying for PR under this program.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comment section.

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