What is the Canadian Experience Class?
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program is an immigration program that grants permanent residence status to skilled workers who have a minimum of 12 months’ Canadian work experience. If you are a UK citizen or other foreign national with temporary status in Canada, the Canadian Experience Class provides an opportunity to transition to permanent residence.
The required work experience can be full-time or the part-time equivalent. There are several other requirements to be met, which you can learn about on this page.
The CEC is one of the programs that is managed by the Express Entry immigration system which deals with skilled worker applications. It’s a points-based, competitive ranking application management process that sends an ‘invitation to apply’ (ITA) for permanent residence to those candidates with the highest rankings. To start the process of applying for PR as a skilled worker you need to create an Express Entry profile online, which acts as a formal ‘expression of interest’ to settle in Canada.
Along with the Canadian Experience Class, Express Entry also manages applications for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Once you submit your profile to the Express Entry system online, Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept your profile for the candidate pool if you are eligible for at least one of the programs.
Your profile will be scored by the IRCC under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) against several different criteria. Those applicants who score highly will receive an ITA for Canadian permanent residence, which will occur during the next Express Entry draw.
Express Entry draws do not occur with any fixed freque ncy but you can expect them to take place every 2 weeks or so. Bear in mind that it isn’t guaranteed that all programs will be included in every draw.
To be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class you must:
- Have at least 12 months of full-time (or part-time equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada (skill types 0, A, or B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) classification)
- Have had legal status (valid work permit) while working or studying in Canada
- Meet the minimum language levels in English or French
- Apply for CEC within 3 years of obtaining your skilled work experience
- Intend to live outside the province of Quebec
During the application process, you are asked where you plan to live in Canada however you are not bound to that and can live in any province or territory you want.
No education criteria needs to be met for the Canadian Experience Class.
Factors that would make you ineligible for the Canadian Experience Class are as follows:
- Your work experience was gained through self-employment or during full-time studies
- Your work experience includes volunteer work or unpaid internships, as this cannot be counted towards the 12 months of skilled work experience
- You are a refugee claimant in Canada
- You are working without authorization
- Your work experience was gained without temporary resident status in Canada
Contact us if you would like assistance with determining if you are eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, or you would like help with submitting an application via Express Entry.
Even if you are from an English-speaking country such as the UK, you must still prove your English/French language skills in order to apply for the Canadian Experience Class program.
This is done via taking an approved language test, which can be scheduled with an IRCC-approved agency, and by paying the relevant fee. Then when you create your Express Entry profile you will need to enter the test results.
Later, if you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you will need to include the language test results with your CEC application, without which your application will not be processed.
The standard used to assess English and French proficiency is the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
How to apply
The first step to apply for the Canadian Experience Class is to make sure you are eligible for the program. Once you are clear that you meet the requirements of the program plus Canada’s admissibility criteria, then you will need to create an Express Entry profile by completing the online form on the Canadian government’s website.
Once you have submitted your Express Entry profile, you will need to wait for a draw to take place. If you are successful at this stage, you will receive an ITA and will be able to submit an application for permanent residence, which you will need to do within 60 days.
When applying for the CEC program, you will need to submit the following documents:
- Identity documents
- Immigration status documents
- Children’s documents (if applicable)
- Travel documents
- Education/qualification documentation
- Work experience
- Language test result
- Work references from previous employers
- Medical exam documentation
- Police certificates
On average, it can take 6 months for a decision to be made for a Canadian Experience Class application.
If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document. The COPR will enable you to apply for your Permanent Resident (PR) card, which should be taken with you when traveling outside Canada, and shown when you re-enter the country.
There is no fee to create an Express Entry profile. Fees are only payable when you submit an application for the Canadian Experience Class.
The processing fees are as follows:
- $825 CDN per adult
- $225 CDN per dependent child
Bear in mind other fees that may also be payable such as police certificates, medical examinations, and language tests.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) ranks candidates against certain criteria for Express Entry programs. Those who score highest are invited to submit an application for Canadian permanent residence.
The factors that candidates are assessed against include age, skills, work experience, language ability, education, and others.
You can get an idea of your approximate score via the Government of Canada’s CRS tool but bear in mind this is only for general guidance and your final score could be different.
Each Express Entry draw has a points threshold. Candidates with scores at or above this threshold will receive an ITA. Each threshold changes for each program at each draw. Therefore it is important to obtain as high a score as possible to increase your possibility of meeting the threshold.
If you’re not familiar with Canada’s immigration programs and the Express Entry process, applying for the Canadian Experience Class can be daunting. Even if you meet the eligibility criteria of the program, there is no guarantee you will be drawn from the pool. So it’s important to bring your CRS score up to the maximum possible, which can be done in various ways and with some careful planning.
If you are a UK citizen and would like some assistance with an Express Entry application, Total Law’s immigration lawyers are experienced in both Canadian and UK law. We can help you build a compelling and thorough Canadian Experience Class application and ensure you have the best chances of securing Canadian PR.
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Yes, you can. You don’t need a job offer when applying for CEC.
You do need at least 12 months of eligible Canadian work experience which is from the NOC skill types 0, A, or B.
Canadian Experience Class is an immigration pathway that grants successful candidates permanent residence in Canada.
Express Entry is the online system that manages applications received from CEC applicants and three other skilled worker programs, Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
To be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, you need to have a full year’s skilled work experience.
All of the programs that are managed by Express Entry (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)) require work experience.