Canadian Experience Class Program

For foreign nationals with work experience in Canada, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that provides these individuals an opportunity to gain permanent residency in Canada.  The CEC is a program designed help those who already have experience living and working in Canada and who have acclimated to Canadian society to remain in Canada as permanent residents.  The program is an excellent fit for temporary foreign workers in Canada or foreign nationals who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and remained in Canada to work.


For foreign workers, the required prior work experience in Canada must fall into one of three categories in order to be considered valid experience for the purposes of the program.  The work must have been in a managerial position (classified as NOC Skill Type 0), a professional position (classified as NOC Skill Type A), or a technical or skilled trade job (classified as NOC Skill Type B).

In order to be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class, applicants must:

  • Have at least one year of full time (30 hours per week) work experience in Canada on a legitimate work permit, or the equivalent amount of part time work experience, in the three years prior to the application date.

  • Meet particular language requirements to demonstrate proficiency in either English or French.

    • Applicants must demonstrate their knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages through a language test from an agency approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, such as the IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF.

    • For individuals applying under NOC 0 or NOC A occupations, a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6 is required.

    • For individuals applying under an NOC B occupation, a minimum score of CLB 5 or IELTS 6 in reading, writing, speaking and listening is required.

  • Plan to live outside of the province of Quebec.  Applicants who plan to live and work in Quebec or who gained their work experience in Quebec do not qualify for the CEC and should consider the Quebec Experience Class as an alternative.

The CIC recently announced that experience in certain positions in NOC category B no longer counts towards work experience for a CEC application.  Experience in the following occupations will not count towards the program:

  • Cooks (NOC 6322)

  • Food Service Supervisors (6311)

  • Administrative Officers (NOC 1221)

  • Administrative Assistants (NOC 1241)

  • Accounting Technicians and Bookkeepers (NOC 1311)

  • Retail Sales Supervisors (NOC 6211)

A cap is imposed on applications under the CEC, and a total of 8,000 applications will be accepted.  Additional sub caps are also in place for occupations in NOC B, where only 200 applications for each position will be accepted.  The government of Canada has created an online tool to help applicants determine how many applications have been received for their NOC B occupation and towards the overall cap of 8,000 to ensure space in the immigration program.

For foreign students, it is important to note that any part-time work experience gained while a student does not count towards the one year of work experience required to apply for the CEC.  Similarly, co-op placements, apprenticeships, and internships during study also do not count towards the required hours.  The work experience must be gained after graduation and on a valid work permit, such as the Post-Graduate Work Permit.  Any work performed in an unpaid internship capacity also will not count as valid work experience.

In cases where an individual who is working in Canada is on a work permit that will expire before their CEC application is processed, they may be eligible for a bridging open work permit.  This type of work permit allows foreign nationals to remain in Canada to work for the duration of the time that their application is in the system.

For more information about the Canadian Experience Class and to find out how FWCanada can help you, fill out our assessment form.

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