Foreign workers with some Canadian work experience have a dedicated immigration pathway for them: the Canadian Experience Class or CEC for short. This program enables all who have had recent work experience in Canada to opt for this immigration pathway and use the experience they have gained to their advantage: for immigration to Canada. 

Skilled work experience on Canadian territory can bring in double benefits this way. Even part-time work is accepted and this is currently the fastest immigration option there is – the fastest of the three Express Entry immigration programs – as it takes as little as three to four months to process. The language requirements are not too high and even work experience that you have gained during your studies, with a Canadian study permit can be accepted, under certain conditions. The perfect choice for many, so let’s have a more thorough look at the program. 

What Is a Canadian Experience Class?

The Canadian Experience Class is a Canadian immigration pathway available through the Express Entry program. It is there alongside two more very popular programs – the Federal Skilled Trades and the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The CEC program has a lot to offer to everybody: fast processing times are just one of the main benefits. 

This program is managed under the Express Entry system and it uses the CRS points to objectively rank all the candidates who would like to immigrate to Canada. The CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) is a great way to know what your standing in the application process is and what chances you have to actually get selected. When coupled with the CRS score calculator and CRS score breakdown, it can also help you better understand what areas of your academic and professional life you should work on to score more CRS points. 

Once you are in the pool of candidates, the CEC program is the fastest way to get your hands on Canadian PR – Permanent Residence. This residence allows you to join the Canadian labour market and is in fact a valid work permit. It enables you to find full-time work as a permanent resident and your CEC application is actually seen as a form of a permanent residence application. 

Canadian Experience Class Eligibility Criteria

Canadian work visa for those who have some Canadian experience has its own eligibility criteria or requirements that may change from time to time based on immigration goals of the federal and provincial bodies. The biggest difference here is that the CEC program has no educational criteria, but they may help. 

Work Experience

Immigration for workers with Canadian experience was made much easier with this immigration program because now they have a separate immigration pathway and do not have to compete with other candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker pool. This is what enables the program to be efficient and fast – dedicated resources can easily increase their efficiency this way. 

When it comes to the work experience that is needed to join this program, it is important to say that you will need to have at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada in the 3 years before the date of the application. This work experience will need to have been gained while you are authorized to work and you will need to showcase that the work duties for that position as outlined in the NOC (National Occupational Classification) are what you performed while working. 

The work will also need to have been paid. Besides these work experience-related eligibility criteria, you will also need to NOT be a refugee claimant in Canada and you will need to have been authorized for work. Working with authorization means working with a work permit and temporary residence status. 

If you would like to use your work experience gained while you were a student, you may NOT do so under this program. If you have spent a limited time in Canada where you worked as a self-employed person, you may NOT use this work experience either. The only exception that is made to this rule is for physicians who are self-employed in Canada. 


There are no special educational requirements for those who would like to immigrate to Canada under this program. In fact, you will need to rank in the Express Entry pool. To be able to do this, you will need to have gone to school in Canada and present this in the Express Entry application form (the certificate, diploma, or degree), or show that you have completed secondary and post-secondary education level in your own country or abroad. 

In the latter case, you will need to show that you have a certificate, diploma or degree, and you will also need to show that you have an ECA – Educational Credential Assessment for immigration purposes. The ECA should come from a designated organization and should showcase that you have a certificate, diploma, or degree that is equivalent to a Canadian one. Candidates who present an ECA generally see an increase in their educational scores. 

Language Skills

To showcase your skills, you will need to understand a language examination. All Canadian immigration programs ask for a language proficiency verification of this kind, and every immigration consultant will be able to tell you that language and educational requirements (although CEC does not have eligibility criteria for education) will benefit your profile and CRS score quite a lot. 

When it comes to language credentials, you should know that you can only have your language proficiency established by certain tests and certain kinds of tests. Here is a list of both English and French acceptable or approved language tests: 

  • English:
    • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – CELPIP General Test
    • IELTS: International English Language Testing System – General Training
  • French:
    • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
    • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français

Every language test that you undertake will be valid for a period of two years. After this, you will need to renew it. Before taking the test, please make sure to revise and prepare yourself well – these tests are not cheap, and getting the absolute best score you can is your responsibility. 


To be able to apply for this program, you must be admitted to Canada. This means that you need to fulfill obligations on two levels: the medical and the criminal level. 

Medical admissibility means that you have not traveled to any high-risk areas in the year prior to your application. This can be verified by a simple look at your passport, so it is very important to provide only accurate information. If you are looking for a place where you can get tested, you should bear in mind that only the designated clinics and physicians can issue this medical examination. You can find them on the IRCC website. 

When it comes to criminal admissibility, this is proven by getting a police clearance certificate from your local police station. This certificate will have to show that you have not had any criminal activities in the past and that there are no ongoing police investigations against you. If this is the case, you may be inadmissible to Canada, until the police investigation is resolved with no legal consequences to your name. 

In case you have lived abroad, you will need to get a police clearance from every country you’ve ever lived in for longer than six months. This is true for all countries that you have lived in since you were 18 years of age. This being said this may take considerable time, so you should start collecting all the documents for the CEC and the Canadian work permit as soon as you can, preferably before you even get an ITA – Invitation to Apply. 

Places You Can Live in Canada

Canada is a very welcoming country. However, many people complain that the vast distances to be covered when traveling from city to city are a bit of a headache, while some others say that winters are simply too long and cold. With this in mind, it could probably be best that you choose the suburbs of a bigger city, and somewhere in the vicinity of the Great Lakes or the Pacific Coast. These places are known for their moderate prices and moderate climate – enabling you to avoid super-harsh winters. 

Applying for Canadian Experience Class

You can apply for the CEC program if you already have some work experience in Canada, as this is the essential eligibility requirement for this program. However, if you do not have this, but would like to apply for CEC anyway, you can go for a long-term version and get a temporary status first with a work permit. Having worked in Canada even for a single year (full-time) makes you eligible for this program. Let’s go and consider how you can join the CEC pool of candidates. 

Obtain a Work Permit

You need to obtain a work permit. This document will allow you to spend some time in Canada and to work there. You will need a year’s worth of full-time work experience, or more if you work part-time. As full-time work in Canada is 30 hours per week, if you only work 15 hours a week you will need to work 2 years to get the same number of hours worked. At the same time, if you work over 30 hours, only the first 30 hours every week will be counted towards the CEC application. 

cec full form
Applying for visa

Create an Express Entry Profile

After this, you need to head over to the IRCC website and make an account there. This is the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website and you will need to make an account there. When making this account, you will need to provide details on your: 

  • age
  • education credentials
  • language level/language proficiency
  • income
  • Canadian work experience 
  • spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner (if applicable)

Officially, this is the first step towards your Express Entry and CEC application. Once this is done, you can – wait. Your profile will be given a CRS score and you can use it to compare your odds of getting elected against the CRS score in recent draw cycles. If you think that your CRS score is too low, you can work on your skills to improve it. 

Obtain an ITA

Once your score is high enough (which can happen as soon as you make the Express Entry profile), you will be elected in a draw cycle and you will be sent an ITA – Invitation to Apply. This being said nobody can tell you when you will be elected or guarantee that you will be drawn. Any immigration consultant or immigration expert that says to is a con person and you should avoid working with them and paying for their services. 

Complete Other Requirements

While still waiting for the ITA to arrive, you should start working on other requirements. These include working on gathering all the required documents. The thing is that once you get your ITA, you have 60 days to send in all the documents, as the first part of the application process is self-declared, meaning that you do not need almost any documents to be able to finish this.

However, once the ITA is there, you need to hurry up: a police background check can take a while and the medical examination can be scheduled weeks in advance. As a part of this preparation, you should also collect recommendation letters from your past and present employees. 

Get a PR Card

Once the application is sent, an immigration officer will go through it and will ensure that you have submitted all the documents and that they are valid. This being said, if you lack any documents during your application, you will need to submit them at a later date. However, you will also incur tardiness in the application process, as even a single document can add weeks of processing time for your permanent residence. 

Once you have passed this check, you will be issued your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). This document will enable you to apply for the PR card which you can show at the border crossing whenever entering or leaving Canada and which you can show abroad as proof of your status in Canada. 

What Are the Benefits of the Canadian Experience Class?

There are many benefits that the Canadian Experience Class has to offer. This program is available to all who have some work experience in Canada and to all who would like to start living there. When this is the case, then the benefits become obvious: having previous Canadian experience will make integration into society much easier, and being able to make professional connections and work on your professional life while there have benefits of its own. They can help you become more financially independent and achieve your life goals. 

In addition to this, if you apply through the CEC pathway for Express Entry, you will immediately get more CRS points for Canadian Experience and Skills Transferability Factors. You will also be able to get your PR status faster, as CEC draws are relatively common. The last, and probably the biggest advantage that CEC can offer is that you do not need proof of settlement funds and that your previous work experience can be counted towards your Canadian Citizenship application. 

Calculating Canadian Work Experience

So, there are many benefits of immigration, but how much work experience do you actually need to be eligible to apply? First of all, we’ve said before that you need one year of full-time work, but we all know that this can be difficult to achieve. After all, what if you work in a place that is only open seasonally? 

The thing with one year of full-time work is that you will need 1,560 work hours in total. This is counted as a full year of full-time work. This is how many hours you will work if you work 30 hours a week. If you work 15 hours per week, you will need two years to gather this work experience. always remember that you can work more part-time jobs to meet the criteria for immigration, but also that any work time over 30 hours will simply not be considered. 

Check Out Canada PR Process through CEC (Canadian Experience Class) | Express Entry Canada 2022 | Dream Canada:


How Can I Immigrate to Canada without Experience?

If you have no work experience but would like to immigrate to Canada, you may join the International Mobility Program or immigrate there as a student. This way, you will also have a good chance to meet the country before deciding on moving there permanently. Canada is a vast country with a lot to offer, but living there can be different from your expectations. 

Which Place Is Best to Live in Canada?

There are many beautiful places to live in Canada, as this is a vast country that stretches Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. So, you can look for bigger cities (and higher prices) or remote places (with fewer possibilities. Most people find that the best place to live in is the suburbs of a bigger city – the vicinity of the city makes everything available, but the fact that you are not in the city center makes the prices lower and life healthier. 

Does Canada Allow Dual Citizenship?

Yes, Canada does allow dual citizenship. In fact, this is one of the bigger advantages of immigrating to Canada – you do not have to renounce your old citizenship to be a Canadian citizen. To become a citizen of Canada, you need to join one of the economic immigration streams, immigrate there, and then work to meet all the eligibility criteria. 

What Is the Difference Between Canadian Experience Class and Express Entry?

The difference between CEC and Express Entry is that Express Entry is simply a platform used to apply for the CEC and two more immigration programs. All in all, CEC is a Canadian Experience Class program that allows people who have any kind of Canadian work experience to immigrate to Canada. 

Final Thoughts

Immigrating to Canada through the CEC program has many perks to offer to all. The program is available to all who have some experience in Canada and offers fast processing times and a comprehensive way to PR and citizenship in Canada. Our guide brings this program closer to you so that you can make educated decisions about your own future. 

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