Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: April 4, 2023

Work experience for CEC v. FSW under the Express Entry

One of my Queen’s University students recently asked me about work experience requirements for CEC v. FSW under the Express Entry system in Canada. While answering the question, I realized that this topic appeared easy to grasp but not so much in reality. Therefore, I decided to write this short piece thanks to this intriguing question from an intelligent knowledge-seeker.

Work experience requirements for CEC (Canadian Experience Class)

Paragraphs 87.1(2)(a), (b), and (c) of IRPR describe the minimum work experience requirements for CEC. Furthermore, the IRCC website explains how the officers evaluate this matter. Namely,

  • You need at least one year of full-time work experience in Canada in the past three years. However, consider the following:
    • The job must fall under NOC 0, A, or B. Moreover, it must match the lead statement and the majority of the main duties of the NOC description.
    • If you do not work full-time, then you must accumulate the equivalent of one year or at least 1,560 hours via part-time work
    • It is okay if you have employment gaps as long as you meet all the requirements
  • When working in Canada, you must hold valid temporary status
  • You must show that you worked when you had the authorization to work in Canada
  • IRCC does not accept the following work experiences as in-Canada for CEC:
    • Volunteer or unpaid work
    • Unpaid co-op or internship
    • Self-employed work
    • Work experience while being a full-time student
  • IRCC does not accept the following situations for CEC applications:
    • Being a refugee claimant
    • Working without authorization or a valid temporary status
  • If you work beyond 30 hours a week, you may not use it to cover the minimum of 1,560 hours. Consequently, you need to work for at least one year even if you work more than 30 hours per week.

Work experience requirements for FSW (Federal Skilled Worker Class)

Paragraphs 75(2)(a), (b), and (c) of IRPR describe the minimum work experience requirements for the FSW program. Furthermore, the IRCC website explains how the officers evaluate this matter. Namely,

  • You need at least one year of full-time work experience inside or outside Canada in the past ten years. However, consider the following:
    • The job must fall under NOC 0, A, or B. Moreover, it must match the lead statement and the majority of the main duties of the NOC description.
    • If you do not work full-time, you must accumulate the equivalent of one year or at least 1,560 hours via part-time work.
    • The minimum work experience must fall under the same NOC code. Also, it may not have any gaps (i.e., for the one year full-time or the equivalent part-time).
  • The NOC code that you report for the minimum work experience must match the NOC code of your intended work in Canada.
  • You must have earned money via salary or commission. Consequently, officers do not accept unpaid work experience.
  • You may consider work while studying. However, consider the following:
    • The job must be continuous with no gaps.
    • You may only take paid jobs into account (salary or commission).
    • The work must meet all the requirements of the FSW program.
    • If the job is in Canada, the Express Entry system may not allow you to report it. If you do, it could disqualify you because you reported work experience in Canada as a student. Of course, this is a technical glitch, but as long as IRCC has not resolved it, you must remain conscious of this problem.

A table that compares minimum work experience for CEC and FSW

The following table is an effort to compare the minimum work experience for CEC and FSW.

FactorCECFSW
NOC level or type0, A, B0, A, B
LocationInside CanadaInside or outside Canada
How far in the past?In the past three years from the date of applying.In the past ten years from the date of applying.
GapsOkayNot okay
Self-employed job or working while a full-time studentNot okayOkay
Volunteer or unpaid workNot okayNot okay
A table that compares work experience for CEC v. FSW

This table makes comparing work experience requirements for these two immigration options easier. However, make sure to study the previous sections of this article for the details.

Working more than the minimum work experience requirements for CEC or FSW

Both CEC and FSW fall under the Express Entry system. This system uses a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to assign points to each applicant. Of course, having more CRS points enhances your chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA). You may receive extra CRS points if you work more than the minimum requirements. If you are not familiar with the CRS points or the Express Entry process, please read the following articles:

The CRS considers your work experience in the past ten years. You could receive extra points for up to five years of Canadian work experience and up to three years of foreign work experience. Furthermore, under the FSW selection grid, you may receive extra points for up to six years of work experience inside or outside Canada (see R80). However, consider only paid NOC 0, A, or B jobs.

IRCC switched to the TEER system for NOC in November 2022.

Mentorship sessions

Whether your concern is the work experience requirements for CEC or FSW, or you have other questions, you may book one or more mentorship sessions with me. However, my mentorship sessions are only for licensed practitioners. If you are an applicant, please book a consultation session with me or fill out our assessment form.

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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, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

Al Parsai is 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 (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, 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.