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Top Questions about Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

By Michael Niren April 26, 2012 (Updated July 29, 2020) 7 min. read

The Canadian Experience Class is a popular immigration program that allows foreign workers who have at least one year of Canadian work experience to become permanent residents. The CEC is part of Canada’s Express Entry program.

Canada prides itself on this program because they pick talented, hard workers who are already working in Canada to become permanent residents. The CEC allows immigrants in Canada who have already started their life in Canada to plan for their future and their family’s futures in Canada. Learn more about the Canadian Experience Class.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) FAQ

Q. Can experience gained in Canada without proper work or study authorization be counted under the Canadian Experience Class?



Q. Can lower-skilled workers apply to stay permanently under the CEC?

No. However, Provincial Nominee Programs are available to lower-skilled workers. These are workers in jobs classified at skill levels C and D under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) System.

Applying for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class is restricted to Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) in the NOC.


Q. I have different types of work experience in Canada, some skilled (NOC 0, A or B), and some lower-skilled (NOC C or D). Does the lower-skilled work experience count in any way toward the work experience required when the majority of my work experience is skilled?



Q. I had a refugee claim denied. Does the work experience I gained in Canada while waiting for a decision on my application as a refugee make me eligible to apply for permanent residence under the CEC?



Q. I’m a skilled temporary foreign worker and want to apply to stay permanently. Is there an education requirement?

No. Please see the Canadian Express Entry information.


Q. I meet the requirements to apply under the Canadian Experience Class but have since returned to my home country. Am I eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class?

Yes, but you must apply within one year of leaving your job in Canada. If you left your job more than one year ago, your work experience is not recent and does not meet the requirement.


Q. Does part-time work experience count toward meeting the requirements for work experience?

Yes, but it will take you longer to accumulate the number of hours necessary to apply than an applicant who has worked full-time.


Q. I want to apply as a graduate. Can part-time work experience during my full-time studies in Canada be counted toward the one-year requirement?

No. Your work experience must be gained after graduation.


Q. I want to apply as a graduate. Does work experience that was part of my educational program’s requirements (such as Co-op terms and apprenticeships) count toward the one-year requirement?

No. Co-op terms and apprenticeships completed before graduating do not count as skilled work experience as they are considered part of an educational program. For this reason, co-op terms and apprenticeships are counted as part of the minimum two-year educational program requirement.


Q. It says that English- or French-as-a-second-language courses do not count toward education requirements under the Canadian Experience Class. Can my education be counted if there is a second language component?

Yes, but the second language component must account for less than half of the course load.


Q. I have a one-year master’s degree (or one-year certificate) from a Canadian post-secondary educational institution. Am I eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class?

Anyone accepted as a permanent resident under the Canadian Experience Class (based on their studies) has to have studied in Canada for at least two years.

Normally, this means you graduated with a Canadian post-secondary credential that requires at least two academic years of study, but there is one exception.

If you completed a one-year master’s (certificates and diplomas do not count with this exception), you would be eligible if you earned it after completing another program of at least one academic year in Canada. Both credentials must be obtained from a post-secondary institution recognized by the province. Each program must be completed within two years of each other.


Q. If I don’t have a total of two years of Canadian post-secondary education, are there any other options to apply to stay permanently under the CEC?

No. However, if you do not meet the requirements to apply as a graduate, you can position yourself to apply as a skilled temporary foreign worker. To do this, you must gain two years of skilled work experience.

Having completed a one-year post-secondary educational program in Canada, you qualify for a one-year open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit program. You may use this permit to gain your first year of skilled work experience. This may lead to other employment opportunities toward gaining your second year. An employer may need to sponsor you for employment beyond your first year.


Q. If I have already submitted an application for permanent residence as a skilled worker (the traditional way to apply), can I still apply under this category?

Yes, but applicants are required to submit a new application with new fees.

If CIC has not started processing the skilled worker application, the applicant could withdraw it and may be entitled to a refund.

It is not forbidden to apply simultaneously with two different streams of the Economic Class.

However, the applicant will have to choose under which one the permanent resident status will be granted.


Q. When I applied for temporary residence, I needed to have a medical exam to get my work or study permit. Why do I have to have another medical exam to apply for permanent residence from within Canada?

Since the reasons for medical exams for temporary and permanent residence are different, and because of the amount of time in between tests, you may have to undergo two medical exams—one for each application.

Some applicants, depending on where they lived, may have needed a medical exam to come to Canada temporarily. This medical exam would have verified that they pose no health risk to the Canadian public.

All applicants for permanent residence in economic categories must go through medical screening for the reason above in addition to verifying that neither they nor a family member would pose an excessive demand on Canada’s health, education, and social systems.


Q. Is the Canadian Experience Class open to temporary residents of Quebec?

Yes, experience in Quebec can be counted—but only if you plan to live outside that province. Quebec selects its own immigrants.


Q. Can I apply to stay permanently under the Canadian Experience Class if I plan to live in the province of Quebec?

No. Quebec selects its own immigrants. If you plan to live in Quebec, you must apply to be selected at the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec.


Q. Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) is based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Can I use it to get tested when I am applying under the CEC?

No. LINC is a program to help permanent residents improve their language abilities. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test d’évaluation de français(TEF) are the only test results that will be accepted. They must be conducted by agencies designated by CIC to assess whether you meet the language requirements for the Canadian Experience Class.


Q. Canada has agreements with several countries to allow their citizens to work in Canada temporarily on a working holiday. If part or all of my work experience in Canada was gained under such working holiday programs, can it be counted toward the work experience requirement in the Canadian Experience Class?

Yes — However, your work experience must still be classified as NOC 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification system.


Q. I graduated from a Canadian medical school. Can my residency in Canada be counted toward meeting the work experience requirement for the CEC?


Why Hire Us to Help with Your CEC Application?

Each year, Canada offers countless immigrants the opportunity of realizing their dreams through the trades and education they have acquired during their time in Canada. This can be you, but only if you take the proper steps to achieve your goals. 

We have helped thousands of skilled workers and students to successfully obtain permanent residence in Canada through the CEC program. Our experienced immigration lawyers will be able to assess your case and recommend a course of action to best serve your needs.

If you find need legal assistance, Contact VisaPlace today. All of our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

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