Eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) - 2021 Guidelines - CanImmNewsletter.com - Canada Immigration Newsletter
Canadian Experience Class @AfriCanada.com

Eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) – 2021 Guidelines

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What is the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry)?

The Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to become Canadian permanent residents.

Canada has various Economic Immigration programs designed to bring immigrants who can establish themselves economically in the country. The Canadian Experience Class is one of such programs and it is processed through the Express Entry system.

CEC is a popular option for temporary foreign workers and international graduates who are gaining Canadian work experience. 

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

The Canadian Experience Class is also one of the fastest routes to Canadian permanent residence, taking as little as three to four months to process.

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In addition, candidates with Canadian experience are able to obtain more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points under Express Entry. This increases their chances of obtaining permanent residence.

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And unlike the other two Express Entry programs, candidates who succeed under the CEC do not need to demonstrate to IRCC that they have settlement funds to support themselves financially upon obtaining permanent residence.

Canada’s Express Entry draws have focused in recent times on inviting candidates who are already likely to be in Canada by targeting CEC and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) candidates. This is because the pandemic related travel restrictions hindered overseas candidates approved after March 18, 2020 from travelling to Canada to complete their permanent residency landing. See for example Canada invites another 6,000 CEC candidates for PR in June 24 Express Entry draw.

Eligibility to apply for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry)

Canadian Experience Class @AfriCanada.com

To be eligible to apply, a candidate must meet the following program requirements.

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Minimum requirements for CEC

You must

  • meet the required language levels needed for your job for each language ability
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • have at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last 3 years before you apply. You can meet this in a few different ways:
    • full-time at 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full-time (1,560 hours)
    • equal amount in part-time work: for example 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
      • You can work as many part-time jobs as you need to meet this requirement.
    • full-time work at more than 1 job: 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than 1 job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)
  • have gained your work experience by working in Canada while under temporary resident status with authorization to work

How IRCC calculates work experience for CEC

Your skilled work experience must be paid work including paid wages or earned commission. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not count volunteer work or unpaid internships.

For part-time work, you can work more or less than 15 hours/week as long as it adds up to 1,560 hours. You can work more than 1 part-time job to get the hours you need to apply.

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IRCC does not count any hours you work above 30 hours/week.

Ineligibility for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry)

You are not eligible for the CEC if

  • you’re a refugee claimant in Canada
  • you are working without authorization
  • your work experience was gained without temporary resident status in Canada

According to the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC), skilled work experience means:

  • managerial jobs (skill level 0)
  • professional jobs (skill type A)
  • technical jobs and skilled trades (skill type B)

Your work experience can be in 1 or more NOC 0, A or B jobs.

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You must show that you performed the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC. This includes all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed.

Self-employment and student work experience

Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (even if you were on a co-op work term) doesn’t count towards the minimum requirements for this program.

Education requirements for CEC

There is no education requirement for the CEC.

If you want to improve your rank in the Express Entry pool for immigration purposes, there are 2 ways you can do this.

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  • If you went to school in Canada, you can get points for a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:
    • secondary institution (high school) or
    • post-secondary institutionor
  • If you have foreign education, you can get points for:

Language requirements for CEC

You must:

  • meet the minimum language level of:
    • Canadian Language Benchmark 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or
    • Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for NOC B jobs
  • take approved language tests for:
    • writing
    • reading
    • listening
    • speaking
  • describe the test results in your Express Entry profile

Your language tests are valid for 2 years after the date of the test result and must be valid on the day you apply for permanent residence.

Admissibility to Canada

You must be admissible to Canada.

Where you can live in Canada

Above all, you must plan to live outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers. If you plan on living in Quebec, see Quebec-selected skilled workers for more information.

When you fill out your profile, we’ll ask you where you plan to live in Canada. You don’t have to settle in that province or territory.

Very importantly, if you’re a Provincial Nominee, you must settle in the province or territory that nominated you.

Become Eligible for the CEC as an International Student

International students who go on to graduate from an eligible educational program in Canada are the main group of individuals who gain permanent residence through the CEC. 

For instance, here is the most common way to obtain Canadian permanent residence through the CEC as an international student:

1: Complete your educational program at a Canadian designated learning institution.

2: Go to IRCC and apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

3: With your PGWP, obtain at least 1,560 hours of Canadian work experience in a NOC 0, A, or B job. 

4: Take an English or French language test designated by IRCC and obtain the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) requirement (a CLB 7 for NOC 0 and A work experience and CLB 5 for NOC B work experience). 

5: Enter the Express Entry pool. If you secure an invitation to apply, IRCC will aim to process your permanent residence application within six months.

Become Eligible for the CEC as a Temporary Foreign Worker

Temporary foreign workers can become eligible for the Canadian Experience Class program after obtaining one year of professional work experience in Canada.

For example the most common way to obtain Canadian permanent residence through the CEC as a temporary foreign worker:

1: Get a Canadian work permit.

2: Obtain at least 1,560 hours of Canadian work experience in a NOC 0, A, or B job.

3: Take an English or French language test designated by IRCC and obtain the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) requirement (a CLB 7 for NOC 0 and A work experience and CLB 5 for NOC B work experience).

4: Enter the Express Entry pool. If you secure an invitation to apply, IRCC will aim to process your permanent residence application within six months.

Next steps

Popular Questions about Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry)

Applying for CEC immigration – General

Determining your eligibility

Work Experience


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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.