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Canadian Experience Class (CEC): Eligibility Criteria and How to Apply

Candidates with recent Canadian work experience who wish to immigrate to Canada permanently can apply for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This program offers a faster route for temporary foreign workers and international graduates to gain permanent residency status in as little as three to four months.

What Is The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is a part of Canada’s Express Entry immigration system, is a program that lets individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year apply to permanently immigrate to the country.

Canada’s government is doing this as an investment to the deep pool of skilled and talented workers currently working in Canada and those who’ve planted roots in the country by helping them become permanent residents.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Eligibility Criteria
Many requirements need to be met to be eligible to be part of the Canadian Experience Class program, such as:

  • Planning to live outside of the province of Quebec
  • At least 12 months of full-time (or part-time equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada within the past three years. This experience must be acquired while on a valid work permit and in one or more jobs under the skill type 0, A, or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The one-year skilled work experience can be accrued between two different NOC nodes, as long as it is gained legally.
  • Meeting the required language levels on speaking, reading, listening, and writing. You may take any of the following Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)-approved language tests
    • CELPIP-General (English)
    • IELTS-General (English)
    • TEF (French)
    • TCF (French)

If you can reach the required language level in both English and French, it can give you extra points under the Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Application Process
It’s quite straightforward, much like most immigration applications out there. Here, we’ll outline the usual process that you may use as a guide — from getting your work permit to finally getting your Permanent Resident (PR) card.

Step 1: Get a Canadian Work Permit
It is a requirement of this program that you have the legal right to work in Canada.

An open work permit may be a possibility for some applicants, such as those who are qualified for the International Experience Canada (IEC) program or the spouse or common-law partner of an international student or foreign worker in Canada.

An employer-specific or closed work permit may be obtained for others, such as Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and intra-company transfers.

Step 2: Check your eligibility requirements
You need at least one year of work experience in Canada to be eligible under the CEC. This period can even be longer if you worked part-time. Complete your language tests, such as the ones listed above.

Step 3: Make your Express Entry Profile
You need to head over to the official IRCC website to complete this step. Here, you’ll need to provide your personal information. Some of these are self-declared, while some must come with the proper documentation, such as language ability proofs.

Step 4: Improve your CRS rankings
One of the most prevalent reasons why Canadian Experience Class candidates do not receive an invitation to apply is that they do not verify their educational level since they do not have to do so.

To increase their chances of being called to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class, candidates should get an ECA or upload documentation of their Canadian education certification.

Other options for improving your rating include gaining more work experience or checking to see if you qualify for one of the Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program streams.

Step 5: Get your Invitation to Apply (ITA)
If you do, congratulations! This means you have one foot in the door. As soon as you receive your invitation, you’ll have 60 days to complete and submit your application.

Step 6: Complete all the checks and submit your digital application
All Canadian Experience Class candidates will undergo medical and security checks.

You will be required to show proof that you’ve completed a medical examination with an IRCC-recognized physician. You’ll also need to submit a  police clearance certificate from each country you’ve resided in for at least six months since you were 18. Your e-application should also include work reference letters from your previous employers.

These should all be submitted within 60 days of receiving your ITA. Pro-tip: given the short deadline, it’s a great idea to collate all the necessary medical and security checks and work reference letters before you even receive the ITA.

A Canadian immigration office will review your application and get in touch with you if there are any issues.

Step 7: Receive your Confirmation of Permanent Resident (COPR) status and complete your landing
A confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) document is issued to a person who has been approved. When the permanent residence is granted, an official at a Canadian port of entry or an IRCC office signs and dates this document. All that’s left is to apply for your PR card, which proves anywhere in the world that you are a permanent resident of Canada.

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