Understanding the Canada Experience Class Visa
What is the Canada Experience Class (and are you eligible?)
The Canada Experience Class (CEC) allows temporary foreign workers and students to use their skills and working history in Canada to support their applications for residency. The CEC is the fastest way to settle in Canada if you already have temporary status. It will ensure the transition from a temporary status to permanent.
With the “Expression of Interest” application, done via your Express Entry profile detailing your eligibility, the IRCC will review your status.
Shortly after, you will be given a score ranked under the “Comprehensive Ranking System” (CRS) based on the background and work information on your application. This score will be used for Express Entry draws later on.
It is important to note that if you do not fit the Canada Experience Class criteria detailed below, you can still apply under the “Federal Skilled Worker Program” (FSWP) or the “Federal Skilled Trade Program” (FST).
Advantages – why you should apply for the Canada Experience Class
There are several advantages in applying to the Canada Experience Class:
- You will not need to show proof of settlement funds, unlike FSWP and FST candidates;
- Since the documentation you need to provide is less, Canada Experience Class applications are processed quickly. It usually takes between three and four months to hear back.
- Because you and other Canadian Experience Class candidates need to show proof of at least one year of work experience in Canada, you will earn more CRS points than applicants in other categories.
However, please remember that Foreign graduates and temporary workers need to get work experience in Canada to qualify for the Canada Experience Class draw.
Simple Yet Detailed Overview of Canada Experience Class
Designed especially for those who have been working in Canada for a total period of one year in the past 36 months and intend to live outside of Quebec, the Canada Experience Class visa pathway provides those who have been Temporary Foreign Workers the apply for full Permanent Residency.
The Canada Experience Class (CEC) allows temporary foreign workers and students to use their skills and working history in Canada to support their applications for residency. The CEC is the fastest way to settle in Canada if you already have a temporary status. It will ensure the transition from a temporary status to permanent one.
With the “Expression of Interest” application, done through your Express Entry profile that details your eligibility, the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) will review your status. Shortly after, you will be given a score ranked under the “Comprehensive Ranking System” (CRS) based on the background and work information on your application. This CRS score will be used for Express Entry draws later on. Remember, the CRS score you are awarded can also be improved: Learn how to improve your CRS score.
It is important to note that if you do not fit the Canada Experience Class criteria detailed below, you can still apply under the “Federal Skilled Worker Program” (FSWP) or the “Federal Skilled Trades Class” (FSTC). If your application is successful, the IRCC will also invite you to apply to Express Entry draws from the pool.
The Canadian Government realized that those who have been working in Canada, and therefore established some roots in Country make for great potential Residents and Citizens and they developed a system to embrace this. Even if applicants have left Canada they can apply up to one year after returning to their home Country.
Understanding CEC could help you to stay in Canada and work for as long as you’d like. The CEC is an excellent immigration option for those of you who already have Canadian work experience. It allows you to apply for and be granted permanent resident status quickly and with relative ease. Plus, you can apply to bring your family with you. The Canada Experience Class is a part of Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
This system is used to select new immigrants to come to Canada, and it’s known for its very fast processing times. Successful applicants have their applications processed in a matter of months, but Express Entry is highly competitive, initially you have to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for your program of choice.
For the Canada Experience Class, meeting the minimum eligibility requirements, allows you to submit a profile to the express entry pool, but this does not guarantee your PR status. This is because all Express Entry candidates are ranked against one another using a Points Based System, known as the CRS score.
Only the candidates with profiles who have the highest CRS scores will be invited to submit that official application for permanent resident status. Lucky for you, Canadian work experience is one of the most highly valued factors under the CRS.
So let’s talk about the basic eligibility requirements for the Canada Experience Class. But remember, these are just the minimum requirements, so if you can exceed these minimum requirements, you have an even greater chance of success.
Canada Experience Class Eligibility
To apply successfully, all applicants need to show proof of:
A minimum of 12 months of full-time (or an equivalent in part-time) work experience in Canada over the past 3 years before the application.
This work experience must be paid work (either paid wages or commissions). Volunteering experience and unpaid internships are not accepted. The skilled work experience refers to three job categories only: managerial jobs (level 0), professional jobs (type A), technical jobs, and skilled trades (type B).
This experience must have been completed while holding a valid work permit.
A sufficient language level for the job – with a sufficient level in each ability (speaking, reading, listening, and writing).
These levels will be assessed through one of the following tests: CELPIP-General or IELTS-General (for English), TEF, or TCF (for French).
Candidates who prove fluency in both English and French can obtain more points under the CRS. The language test needs to be valid i.e. it must be taken under two years before applying.
Furthermore, despite the absence of education requirements for the Canadian Experience Class application, it is possible to increase your CRS score with education experience. As such, any Canadian university certificate, diploma, or degree may add points to your score, as well as a completed foreign credential or an ECA report.
There are only two minimum requirements for a Canadian Experience Class Visa. First is work experience, you have to have a minimum of 12 months of full time work experience, that is skilled and was gained within Canada in the last three years. In order to be considered ‘skilled’, your work experience has to have been in an occupation at National Occupational Classification skill level zero. A or B, that’s NOC code zero A or B.
The second eligibility requirement is language proficiency. You have to show that you are proficient in either English or French. If your work experience was claimed at NOC skill level zero, or a, then your language test scores have to be consistent with Canadian language benchmark of level seven, or CLB seven.
If your work experience was gained at NOC skill level B, then your language test scores have to be consistent with CLB five. If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for the Canadian Experience Class, you can then create your Express Entry profile, but remember, you need to have a competitive CRS score in order to be selected.
One of the main factors in determining your CRS score is your level of education. So while education is not a minimum requirement for CEC, in order to be competitive under the CRS scoring system, you may want to claim your education, the Canadian Experience Class is a great option for those already in Canada working and want to extend their stay permanently.
If you don’t have any Canadian experience, check out the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This is another Express Entry aligned program, but it doesn’t require any Canadian experience.
The Canada Experience class directly benefits those who have been employed in Managerial, Professional and Skilled Trades occupations and who meet the right educational and English language abilities.
It is very important that before making an application under this Canada Visa class that your employer offer letter for the period of work that you are basing your application on contains the correct information (we can work with you and your employer on this if needed). The information contained on the letters of employment must include the right dates and the right occupation description for Immigration.
I’m still employed in Canada and haven’t left, what are my options for a Canadian Experience Class Visa?
Your options are great at this stage but you have to act quickly. We will work closely with you to ensure that your application is made ASAP and we can also work with your employer. We will need a valid job offer letter that states your employment is Permanent among lots of other factors.
In circumstances such as this we can also apply for what is called a Bridging Open Work Permit if your temporary work permit is due to expire before you receive Permanent residence status. This way it is unlikely you will have to leave Canada between visas.
This visa class also forms a vital step on the overall migration pathways of those who have studied in Canada as International students and then taken advantage of the Post Graduate Work Visa to work in Canada after graduation. Once you have reached the required level of work experience these applicants may then become eligible for this Visa type and of course, they applications such as these can also display a significant study period in Canada, usually at Degree or Post Graduate level.
Canada Experience Class Visa Q&A
Do I need a job offer to apply?
No, but if you do it will of course help
How much experience do I need to prove?
A total of 12 months from the last 36
Can I move to Quebec?
Does work experience in Quebec count?
If I’m working can I apply?
Yes, and we may be able to arrange a bridging visa
How do I apply for the Canada Experience Class Visa?
The application steps are quite easy to navigate through :
- Before all, you will need to complete a year of work in Canada. For this, you are going to need a Canadian work permit, that can obtain through many programs. For instance, you can use the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, use your rights as the spouse of a foreign worker settled in Canada, apply for an open work permit, or get an employer-specific work permit.
- Pass one of the language tests.
- Complete your Express Entry profile to be considered. Some information may be self-declared, like your work history or other personal information, but come prepared with the most documentation you can.
- Improve your CRS score if it’s too low. This can be done by providing additional information such as education background (which may add up to 250 points), completing more work experience. You may also want to look for the “Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee” program in the province you worked in, as you could be a high-demand worker in the region. This might get you an extra 600 points.
- Gather every documentation that you will need when you receive your invitation to apply (ITA). This includes a screening for potential medical and criminal inadmissibility, done by a IRCC recognized doctor. You also need to document your police background check, or clearance certificate, from every country you lived in since you were 18 (provided that you stayed for over six months). A last thing that needs to be anticipated are the reference letters from previous employers that will support your application.
- Once you receive your invitation to apply for permanent residence, you have 60 days to submit your application. It’s important to note that invitations aren’t issued on a rolling basis but only when the IRCC organizes a draw in the Express Entry pool.
Then, you just need to wait until your application is reviewed by an immigration officer. Don’t worry, they will let you know if they need anything else. This process can last up to six months.
- Once approved, you will receive a signed and dated document confirming your permanent resident status.
- Last but not least, that important document will be necessary to apply for your permanent resident (PR) card, which will become your main proof of residency status in and out of Canada.
Are there any exceptions to the Canada Experience Class?
Yes, the following occupations are presently excluded from the Canadian Experience Class Visa: