What is the Canadian Experience Class?
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is aimed at helping foreign workers to transition from a temporary to a permanent resident’s status. It’s an immigration program that allows those who have at least one year’s skilled work experience in Canada to reside there permanently. The Canadian Experience Class is a part of Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
What is the Express Entry system?
The Express Entry system deals with permanent residence applications for immigrants who can work in jobs where there is a lack of skilled Canadian workers.
The CEC is one of four programs within the Express Entry system, which are:
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
If you wish to apply for CEC, you will first need to make a formal ‘expression of interest’ to settle in Canada by creating an online Express Entry profile.
As long as you meet the CEC requirements, you will be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile. However, you should note that you must meet Canada’s basic admissibility requirements. This should be carefully checked, as certain criminal offences and medical conditions can make a person inadmissible to Canada.
If you are eligible, Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept your profile onto the Express Entry pool. This is when you will be scored under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on the information you provided. Applicants who have competitive CRS scores will receive invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence during its Express Entry draws from the pool.
CEC eligibility requirements
The requirements for the Canadian Experience Class are as follows:
- You need to have at least 12 months’ full-time (or the equivalent in part-time hours) skilled work experience in Canada. (Note that any hours worked above 30 hours/week are not counted)
- Your work experience must have taken place within the last 3 years
- The work experience must have been obtained while on a valid work permit
- The work experience needs to be in one or more occupations classified as skill type 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- The 12 months’ work experience can be gained in two different NOC codes, so long as they are skilled positions
- You plan on living outside the province of Quebec
It’s worth noting that although you are asked where you plan to live in Canada, you can choose to settle in another province or territory if you wish.
Note that work experience gained through self-employment or while a full-time student is not eligible under the Canadian Experience Class. Also, your skilled work experience must be paid work – volunteer work or unpaid internships are not counted.
There is no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class.
You will not be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class if
• You’re a refugee claimant in Canada
• You’re working without authorization
• Your work experience was gained without temporary resident status in Canada
You must prove your language skills by taking an approved language test. For this test you must:
- Schedule your test with an agency approved by IRCC and pay the fees.
- Enter the test results into your Express Entry profile (and the Personal Information Number, if this is requested).
- Include the results with your application if you are invited to apply. If you don’t include it, your application will not be processed.
How to apply for the CEC
Once you receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will have 60 days to submit a complete application. IRCC conducts draws from the Express Entry pool which is when ITAs are issued. As part of the application you’ll need to provide:
- Proof that you have completed a medical examination with an IRCC-recognized panel physician
- A police background check (also known as a Clearance Certificate) from each country you have lived in for at least six months since the age of 18
- Work reference letters from previous employers
As the timeframe for submission of all the information is short, it is a good idea to gather the supporting documentation before you receive the ITA.
If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document. With the COPR you will be able to apply for your Permanent Resident (PR) card. You can show this card as proof of your Canadian resident status when travelling outside the country.
How long is the CEC processing time?
The average time a Canadian Experience Class application takes is six months, though this can be less.
What are the CEC processing fees?
There is no fee for creating an Express Entry profile. The point when you will need to pay the processing fee is when you submit the CEC application after you have received your Invitation to Apply.
The processing fees are:
- $825 CDN per adult
- $225 CDN per dependent child
In addition to processing fees, you should bear in mind that you may need to pay fees for police certificates, medical examinations, and language tests.
What is the CRS score?
The Express Entry system ranks candidates using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranking candidates from the pool are selected and invited to apply for permanent residence.
The CRS is used to assess your:
- Work experience
- Language ability
- Other factors
The Government of Canada provides a CRS tool that you can use to check your CRS score. However, note that this tool is provided only for general guidance and the actual assessment of your score in the Express Entry process could turn out to be different from this.
There is a CRS points cut-off threshold that changes for every Express Entry draw. To provide an example of how this works, the CRS threshold for the Express Entry CEC draw on September 14, 2021 was 462 points. This means that anyone with a score of 462 or higher would have received an invitation to apply.
Get help with your CEC application
Even if you are eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, there is no guarantee that you will receive an Express Entry ITA. If your CRS score is below the cut-off required to receive an invitation, you may need to see if you can increase your score.
At Total Law our immigration lawyers are well versed in Canadian immigration law and immigration programs. We have helped many clients successfully relocate to Canada. We can help ensure you submit a robust CEC application and maximize your chances of making Canada your new permanent home.
We offer a tailor-made service that includes the following:
• Expert review of your situation
• Assessment of your eligibility for the CEC program
• Advice on ways to increase your CRS score, if necessary
• Liaison with IRCC on your behalf
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No, you do not need to have a job offer at the time of applying for the CEC.
However, note that you will only be considered eligible if your Canadian work experience is not older than 3 years at the time of applying.
In general, to be eligible to apply to Express Entry as a skilled worker, you must have at least one year’s skilled work experience in the last 3 years before you apply.
This can be either full-time or part-time, or a combination of both, for example:
- Full-time at 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full-time (1,560 hours)
- Equal amount in part-time work: for example 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours). You can work as many part-time jobs as you need to meet this requirement.
- Full-time work at more than 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than 1 job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that allows skilled individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year to become resident there permanently.
Express entry is an immigration system, which CEC is a part of.
If you do not have a full year’s skilled work experience then the Canadian immigration system will not find you eligible.
If you are not sure about your immigration options for moving to Canada get in touch with Total Law’s specialist attorneys now.