How to Qualify for the Canadian Experience Class

How to Qualify for the Canadian Experience Class

September 28, 2022


  • Wesley Allan

So, you've had the chance to live and work in Canada for over a year but don't know how to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency or find which pathway to Canada PR is best for you. Fortunately, the government of Canada has created the perfect path for you. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of the safest and fastest pathways to getting your Canadian PR.

This program is one of the three Express Entry programs, meaning if you apply for permanent residence through this program, you could be a permanent resident of Canada in six months. However, this program is only for a selected group of applicants, so it's essential to know how to qualify for the CEC.

While there is a particular set of requirements for this program if you meet the criteria, your chances of receiving your Canada PR are far higher than in the other Express Entry programs - the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. You can find a full breakdown of these programs here.

What is the CEC?

The CEC is an economic immigration program under the Express Entry system specifically for skilled foreign workers who have already been living and working in Canada for at least one year under some temporary resident statuses like a Working Holiday Visa, a work permit or a study permit.

To be considered for the CEC, applicants should start by checking their eligibility for this program, and once this is established an Express Entry profile will be created on the government of Canada's website. At MDC we have a state-of-the-art evaluation dashboard which assists our clients in ensuring their applications are complete, and that all supporting documentation is valid and correct. Details such as your nationality, age, marital status, qualifications, language ability and work experience are evaluated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to create a CRS score. The CRS scores are entered into the Express Entry pool for your program.

Every two weeks, the government of Canada runs an Express Entry draw, which picks all applicants with a CRS score higher than a certain number in each program and presents them with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canada PR. Successful applicants have 60 days to submit the required documentation for processing—the number changes based on the size and strength of the Express Entry pool.

These applicants are often perfect for Canada's Express Entry system as they have already spent a significant amount of time in Canada and have usually assimilated into the Canadian culture and workforce, and therefore, don't need to get settled.

If you are unsure of how to apply for permanent residence in Canada, or if you need guidance on the program and direction of your Canadian permanent residence, click the button below to talk to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). Our RCICs can help ensure you get your highest CRS score and that your application process goes as smoothly as possible.

However, to qualify for the CEC, you must ensure you fulfill all of the significant criteria for both Express Entry and the CEC.

What are the Requirements for the Express Entry System?

You must meet the minimum requirements to be considered for any Express entry program. The Express Entry system is specifically for skilled workers with internationally-recognized qualifications. To qualify, you must fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

Work Experience

Each applicant must have at least one year's work experience. For your work experience to be validated, you must determine which National Occupational Classification (NOC) code your occupation falls under. Often your NOC skill level or skill type will affect your CRS score. To find out which NOC skill type you fall under, look at this breakdown.


Express Entry applicants must have completed a valid post-secondary qualification. In addition, you must complete an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to validate your qualification.


As a CEC applicant, you will have likely already completed one to get your job in Canada, and since an ECA is valid for five years, you can submit your original ECA again.

Language Ability

All applicants must have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score. To get a CLB score, applicants must complete one of Canada's official language ability tests.


You will have likely needed to submit one of the Canadian language tests and get a CLB to get your temporary resident status. As a CLB score is valid for up to two years, you can probably submit your original score, provided it was high enough for your CEC application.

Medical Certification

You must be in good health, often certified by a medical certificate. However, if you have already been in Canada for over a year, the government of Canada won't ask this of you.

Criminal Record

There must be no prior criminal record before entering Canada and you must have obeyed the law while in Canada. You may be asked to present a police certificate to validate this.

Travel Documents

All your travel documents must be up to date and valid throughout your entire Express Entry application process, including the processing time.

If you can fulfill all of these requirements, you still need to ensure you meet the CEC criteria.

What are the Canadian Experience Class Requirements?

To qualify for the CEC, you have to ensure your Express Entry credentials are at a certain level. Requirements for the Canadian Experience Class are as follows:

The Canadian Experience Class Requirements
Work experience You must have 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada. The work experience must be:
  • in a full-time position
  • the equivalent time in a part-time position;
  • obtained legally in Canada;
  • from NOC skill level 0, A or B.
Education There is no education requirement. However, you can increase your CRS score by:
  • earning a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • completing a foreign credential
Language Ability You must:
  • present your approved language ability test
  • meet the language requirement of CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs.
Admissibility You must still be allowed to enter Canada.

If you fulfill the Canadian Experience Class requirements, you will likely qualify for Express Entry. The next step is applying for permanent residence via the Express Entry Portal, which can be done on the Canadian immigration site, which is facilitated and managed on your behalf by our skilled team of RCICs. If you are selected for an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit all your documents - these documents must validate the information you provided on your Express profile and application. But with the continued support of our team, all applications will be managed with sheer precision, giving you the best chance of success. Once you do that, you will receive your Canada PR visa within approximately six months.


If your documents are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or invalid, your processing times may change as you will have to submit further documentation. Applicants must therefore remain truthful when providing their information as failure in doing so will result in your application being returned to you. We strongly recommend a reputable partner to manage these affairs, as there are a multitude of pathways, requirements and opportunities!


Can you apply for one of the Provincial Nominee Programs via the CEC?

Yes. All Express Entry applicants can apply for Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The PNPs allow you to apply to a specific province, but applicants must conduct the necessary research on their intended province before settling. . Getting a provincial nomination means your CRS score will gain an extra 600 points, effectively guaranteeing you an ITA in the next Express Entry draw. If you want to learn more about the PNP, here's a complete breakdown.

Can you get Canadian Citizenship via the CEC?

No. The CEC is specifically providing permanent residence to skilled foreign workers. Permanent residents can live and work in Canada for the rest of their life but can't vote or hold public office. However, getting your permanent residency means you can apply for Canadian citizenship.

Can you apply for CEC if you aren't currently in Canada but have lived there for over a year in the past?

No. The CEC is specifically for applicants who already live and work in Canada and have done so for the last 12 months without any breaks. Other applicants must apply via the other Express Entry streams.

Set Up Your Life In Canada

Now that you know how to apply for permanent residence in Canada via the CEC, it's time to start your journey to getting Canada PR. If you want to ensure your eligibility and ensure your entire application process goes through as efficiently as possible, click the button below, and an RCIC will guide you to your future in Canada.