Canadian Experience Class Requirements (CEC)

Immigration under CEC - Canadian Experience Class

Emmanuel, a citizen of Malawi, is in Canada on a Post Graduate Work Permit. Since he wishes to become a permanent resident, Emmanuel is exploring his options. One of his friends claims his best choice is Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Emmanuel has never heard of this option. Therefore, his friend advises him to read Al Parsai’s articles for more information.

What is Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?

IRCC introduced CEC as an immigration option in 2008. They later included this program in the Express Entry system. Canadian Experience Class is an economic immigration option. Of course, as the name implies, this program covers those applicants who have Canadian work experience. However, not every work experience qualifies. Before discussing work experience, we need to know the Express Entry process for Canadian Experience Class applications.

When does the processing of a Canadian Experience Application begin

You can apply for CEC only through the Express Entry system. Consequently, for IRCC to initiate processing your application, you must go through the following steps.

  1. Create an online Express Entry account and fill out all the initial forms.
  2. Submit the completed profile. Consequently, you’ll receive a CRS score.
  3. IRCC will issue an ITA (Invitation To Apply) if your CRS score is high enough. You then have up to 60 days to respond to the ITA.
  4. When you complete all the online forms and upload all the documents, you may proceed with applying.
  5. You must pay the processing fee and affirm the information and documents are honest.
  6. You’ll receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter upon applying. The letter marks the date you applied. Of course, this date is significant for children’s age lock-in date, calculating the processing time, and applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). Moreover, the AOR date is the basis for calculating the qualifying work experience duration for Canadian Experience Class.

The qualifying work experience for CEC

A qualifying work experience for Canadian Work Experience meets all the following:

  • The duration of work must be at least 12 months and 1,560 hours, whichever you reach last. For example, if you earn 1,560 hours in 10 months, you must continue working for at least two more months. However, if you work 12 months and haven’t filled 1,560 hours, you must continue working until you fill 1,560 hours.
  • The qualifying period for work ends on the AOR date and begins precisely three years before that. For example, if you submit your application on July 31, 2023, the qualifying period started on Aug 1, 2020. Of course, it ends on July 31, 2023. Please read the previous section for more information about the AOR date.
    Although the AOR date is the official reference for work experience calculations, you must also meet all the requirements when creating the profile and receiving an ITA. Otherwise, you can’t create the profile or receive an Invitation to Apply.
  • The job must be in Canada while you have valid status and permission to work. Furthermore, you must receive a salary or commission (or both) for the job.
  • You may gain experience under various job categories and with different employers. Furthermore, the jobs could be a combination of part-time and full-time.
  • You may only count NOC TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 jobs.

Which jobs do not qualify for Canadian Experience Class

Despite meeting all the requirements in the previous section, the following positions do not qualify for CEC:

  • Self-employed jobs – Canada Revenue Agency has a guideline to identify if your job is self-employed.
  • Jobs you had while you were a full-time student in Canada
  • You were a volunteer or an unpaid intern.

As a reminder, refugee claimants do not have valid temporary status in Canada. Therefore, their work experience does not count, and they may not apply under Canadian Experience Class.

Minimum language requirements for CEC

You must meet the minimum language requirements to apply under Canadian Experience Class. To qualify, IRCC accepts test results that are less than two years old at the time of the AOR date. However, the minimums depend on the TEER level of your work experience in Canada.

Language requirements for TEER 0 and 1

If your work experience is in either TEER 0 or 1 jobs, the minimum language requirement is CLB 7. The following table shows the equivalency to CLB 7 for approved language tests. It is okay if part of your experience is TEER 1 and part is TEER 0. This won’t jeopardize the work experience or the minimum language requirements.

IELTS GeneralEnglish6.
PTE CoreEnglish68606069
TEF CanadaFrench310249207310
TCF CanadaFrench1045845310

Language requirements for TEER 2 and 3

If your work experience is in either TEER 2 or 3 jobs, the minimum language requirement is CLB 5. The following table shows the equivalency to CLB 5 for approved language tests. It is okay if part of your experience is TEER 3 and part is TEER 2. This won’t jeopardize the work experience or the minimum language requirements.

IELTS GeneralEnglish5.
PTE CoreEnglish51394251
TEF CanadaFrench226181151226
TCF CanadaFrench63693756

When you have combined work experience in various TEER levels

Let’s say one of your qualifying jobs was TEER 1, and the other was TEER 3. According to the IRCC Program Delivery Instructions, officers consider the minimum language requirements for the job that you accumulated more experience. For example, if you have 1000 hours of experience in a TEER 3 job and 700 hours in a TEER 1 job, the minimum requirement is CLB 5. However, I highly recommend a minimum CLB 7 for those with job experience from TEER 0/1 and TEER 2/3 positions to avoid complications.

Low language test results reduce your competitiveness in the Express Entry pool. Therefore, you must strive to get the highest possible results regardless of the minimum requirements.

Admissibility in Canada

Inadmissible people in Canada may not apply for PR under the CEC program. These are the main grounds for inadmissibility:

Other matters to consider while applying under Canadian Experience Class

Remember, you are applying through the Express Entry system. To be successful, you must have an acceptable CRS score. The following criteria affect your score.

  • Age
  • Level of education
  • Official languages proficiency
  • Canadian work experience
  • Spouse or common-law’s level of education, official language proficiency, or Canadian work experience
  • Brother or sister living in Canada (citizen or permanent resident)
  • French language skills
  • Post-secondary education in Canada
  • Arranged employment
  • Provincial nomination

You need to deeply explore these factors and try to enhance those that you may improve. You cannot get younger. However, you could pursue education in Canada, enhance your language abilities or seek an Express Entry job offer. These could position you better as a Canadian Experience Class candidate.

Settlement funds (proof of funds)

CEC applicants are exempt from minimum settlement funds. However, showing you have access to financial resources equivalent to the 6-month LICO won’t hurt.

The Express Entry process for Canadian Experience Class applicants

The Express Entry journey is almost identical for all applicants, regardless of their immigration options. Read my article on this subject for more information.

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

Most Canadian Experience Class applicants qualify for a bridging open work permit. Nonetheless, you may only apply after you receive the AOR letter. Please read my article on the subject of BOWP for more information.

Some advanced matters to consider

The following matters rarely apply to Canadian Experience Class candidates. Regardless, it is good to know them, especially if you are a licensed practitioner.

  • Authorization to work does not mean you must hold a work permit. Sometimes, you may work in Canada without a permit.
  • A person who holds a TRP also has valid legal status in Canada. Consequently, assuming they work with authorization, they may apply for PR under the CEC program. Of course, they must meet all the criteria.
  • Protected people also have valid status in Canada. Although most do not need this immigration option, it is good to know that being protected does not prevent them from pursuing immigration under Canadian Experience Class. Of course, they may still disqualify for reasons other than legal status in Canada.
  • IRCC will soon add the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Essential to the list of acceptable language tests. Stay tuned; we will add the equivalency tables to our website then.

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If you are a potential Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicant, please complete our assessment form. Of course, you may book a consultation session with me for official immigration advice. Moreover, I offer mentorship sessions for licensed practitioners. The following form is another way to communicate with us.

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.