Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

How to Gain Permanent Residence Through The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Since 2008, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) has enabled people to work in Canada and become permanent resident in Canada. 

If you have Canadian work experience and seek permanent residency, this article will tell you everything about one of the most sought-after immigration routes – the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

In this article, we will cover

What is a Canadian Experience Class?

Canadians value the contribution that international students and skilled workers make to the Canadian economy and society. 

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program that enables international students and skilled workers to obtain permanent residency in Canada. 

Many international students and skilled workers seek permanent residency status in Canada. As these people have lived in the country before and have a high chance of integrating into the country’s culture and values, Canada has created a dedicated, skilled worker pathway – the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.

Benefits for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates: 

  1. High Chances Of Getting Canada PR

As your Canadian work experience is a recognized factor under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), this allows you to receive more CRS points under the Express Entry program, thereby increasing your chances of receiving an  ITA. 

  1. Speedy Processing Of Canada PR Application

Usually, CEC candidates who are successful under Express Entry receive their permanent residency status within three to four months (or maximum within six months).

  1. No Requirement of Proof of Settlement Funds & less documentation

Unlike the other two Express Entry programs – the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) – you do not need proof of settlement funds for CEC. This is a major advantage. In fact, you need less documentation for the CEC program than for the other two programs. 

Please Note: Even if you have previously lived in Canada and have work experience, there is no guarantee that you will receive an invitation to apply. And if you have a low CRS score, your chances of receiving an invitation are slim. We recommend you concentrate on increasing your CRS score or try getting a work visa first. Other than that, you can apply for Provincial Nominee Programs because they are an excellent route to become a permanent resident if you have a low CRS score. 

Eligibility requirement for Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Work experience

You need at least 12 months of full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience within the last three years in Canada. And it should have been obtained on a valid work permit and must fall under NOC skill level A or B or skill type 0. 

If you have experience in two different NOC codes, you can prove it as one year of work experience as long as you worked in skilled positions and the work experience was legally obtained.


You do not need to meet any educational requirements. But education does affect your CRS score, and it can be helpful to improve it. 

If you went to school in Canada, you could get points for a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian University or Post-secondary institution.

On the other hand, you can receive points for a completed foreign certificate or EAC report if you have foreign education.


While completing your application, you must indicate where you intend to live in Canada. However, you can live anywhere in Canada; what you indicate on the application does not obligate you to live there. 

But you must live outside the province of Quebec. Because the province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers under the Quebec-selected skilled worker’s program. And for that, you must meet additional requirements.

Medical Examination

You must undergo a medical examination while applying for permanent residency. You can get an exam before or after you submit your application. Only an IRCC-approved physician can perform the medical exam, not your physician. 

In fact, your family members must also have a medical exam, even if they do not come with you.

Read our blog to learn more about medical exams for permanent residence applicants


Language proficiency is a must to settle in Canada. You can take any language test recognized by IRCC: CELPIP, IELTS, TEF, and TCF to prove your proficiency. And you must demonstrate at least the following language proficiency:

  1. Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs, or 
  2. Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs.

When you apply for permanent residency, make sure your language tests are still valid on the day you are applying, as they are valid only for two years after the test results. 

Pro-tip: You can get extra points under the CRS for bilingual applicants proficient in English and French. So, take an approved language test in both languages to ensure that you get as many points as possible. 

How is Canadian Work Experience Calculated?

Work experience is an essential criteria for the Canadian Experience Class program. Your work experience is calculated based on the ideal number of hours worked. 

The ideal number of work hours for CEC is a minimum of 1,560 hours in a year (whether full-time or part-time). But, if the number of hours is less than this, the full-time equivalent applies to two years rather than one year. 

In other words, for a part-time work experience to meet the 1,560 hours per year requirement, the number of hours worked must be calculated for two years. And the total number should be at least 1,560 hours. 

Read our blog on calculating work experience for immigration to Canada to learn more.

Documents required for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Visa

Before filling out your profile, you must have the following documents ready:

  1. A valid passport or travel document;
  2. Language test results (English or French);
  3. Education Credential Assessment Report (if necessary);
  4. Valid offer letter from an employer in Canada offering you a job (if you have one);
  5. Police certificates proving that you have no criminal record;
  6. Medical examination

Cost of Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Visa

After submitting the documents, you must also pay the Canadian Experience Class fees.  The fees for the Canadian Experience Class are listed below:

Economic immigration application fee1,040 (Includes processing fee of $550 and right of permanent residence fee of $490)
Economic immigration application fee(without right of permanent residence fee)550
Application fee including spouse or common-law partner1,040 (Includes processing fee of $550 and right of permanent residence fee of $490)
Application fee including spouse or common-law partner(without the right of permanent residence fee)550
Application fee including a dependent child – per child150

Steps to apply for permanent residence through the CEC

Step 1: Obtain a Canadian Work Permit

A Canadian work permit is a prerequisite to become eligible for the CEC program. 

There are many temporary work permits to work in Canada that you can apply for, such as: 

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)
  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
  • International Experience Canada (IEC)

Else, there are employer-specific work permits (also known as “closed” work permits) that you can apply for, such as: 

  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) 
  • Intra-company transfers

Step 2: Complete a year of work in Canada

Acquire at least one year of Canadian work experience (or more if working part-time) to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class. Even eleven-and-a-half months is not enough.

Step 3: Meet other eligibility criteria

Meet the other eligibility criteria of the CEC program: education, settlement, medical examination, language, etc. You must satisfy all criteria adequately. Although each requirement is equally important, you should pay special attention to the language tests.

If you are appearing for IELTS, you can read our comprehensive guide to achieve a high score in IELTS  to maximize your IELTS score.

Step 4: Create an Express Entry profile

Visit the IRCC website and create your Express Entry profile. Fill in all your information correctly. Almost all of the information is self-declared (e.g., your work history). For other information, you will need to provide documentation (e.g., proof of your language proficiency).

Step 5: Check for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR

Now comes the most exciting step: submit your application for permanent residence. 

When IRCC conducts its draw from the Express Entry pool, ITAs will be issued, and if you receive one, you have 60 days to submit a complete application. 

Do not forget to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit if your work permit expires in the next four months. This will allow you to continue working throughout the process.

Step 6: Apply for immigration if you receive an ITA 

If your Express Entry profile qualifies, you will be sent an ITA during this period. The message from IRCC will confirm which program you have been invited to and what you need to do next. 

You must submit the information you provided in your Express Entry profile now. All information must match the information you have already submitted. If the information is not correct or an important detail has been omitted, one of the following may occur:

  1. Your application may be denied, 
  2. You may be declared inadmissible, or 
  3. You may be barred from applying for immigration for five years.

Ideally, you must check your eligibility for the program you are applying for to make sure you are still eligible. 

If your personal information has changed, you will need to recalculate your score before applying. And if your recalculated score is below the minimum CRS for your invitation round, you should decline the invitation. 

If your information has not changed, respond to your ITA within 60 days. Otherwise, IRCC will remove your profile from the pool. And again, you will need to fill out a new Express Entry profile to be considered for future draws.

Step 7: Receive confirmation of PR status and complete your landing process

Nearly 80% of Canadian Experience Class applications are processed in less than six months. If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document

Now is the time when you will go through the landing process and receive your Canada PR. You will need to make an appointment at an IRCC office near your home in Canada. Otherwise, you can leave Canada and return through a Canadian port of entry (an international airport or Canadian land border) to complete the landing procedure.

You will need to present the following documents there:

  1. COPR
  2. PR visa (if required).
  3. Passport
  4. Proof of funds

After reviewing all documents, the immigration officer at the IRCC office or port of entry will sign and date your COPR, and your PR will be confirmed.

Step 8: Get your PR card

Once you have your confirmation status, apply for your PR card. If you are traveling outside of Canada, use this as proof of your status in Canada.

Is there any alternative to CEC?

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an excellent alternative to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) to migrate to Canada. In fact, the Provincial Nominee Program is the second most attractive immigration program for immigrating to Canada as a skilled worker.

The Provincial Nominee Program is designed to meet the needs of business individuals, investors, or skilled workers in each province. Each province nominates specific groups, taking into account their labor market and economic needs. Subsequently, the federal government approves permanent resident status.

According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, the Canadian government plans to admit more than 80,000 PNP candidates as permanent residents each year for the next three years. Therefore, there is a good chance that you will be granted permanent residency through the Provincial Nominee Program. 

You can read our comprehensive guide on the Provincial Nominee Program to learn more.

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