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The Canadian Experience Class: A Path to Permanent Residency

Canada Wants Skilled Workers to Stay

If you have been a working professional in Canada for at least 12 months you may be eligible to become a permanent resident of Canada under the government’s “Canadian Experience Class,” or CEC.

The Canadian government established the CEC to help those who have been in Canada for some time and who work in specific kinds of skilled jobs (and even some foreign students who worked in Canada on a post-graduation Work Permit) to apply for permanent residence so they can continue to contribute to the Canadian economy. There are detailed application guidelines and eligibility requirements, some of which have just recently been updated to exclude certain types of workers who were previously eligible to participate in the program. An experienced immigration lawyer can work with you to determine your eligibility and assist you with the application process.

Am I Eligible?

As a preliminary matter, it’s important to know that only a limited number of applicants are accepted under the CEC guidelines. Between November 9, 2013 and October 31, 2014, the number of applicants is capped at 12,000. Further, within that 12,000, there are sub-caps of 200 for specific industries and occupations.

In order to be eligible for the CEC, you must:

  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec;
  • have at least 12 months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before you apply;
  • have gained your experience in Canada with the proper authorization;
  • meet the required language levels (in either English or French) needed for your job for each language ability (speaking, reading, writing, and listening).
  • “Skilled” Work Experience

The CEC was designed to attract and retain “skilled” workers, and what constitutes “skilled” is governed by the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC). “Skilled” work experience means:

  • Managerial jobs (NOC skill type 0)
  • Professional jobs (NOC skill type A)
  • Technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B)

You must have at least 12 months of full-time, or an equal amount in part-time, skilled work experience. Full-time work means at least 30 hours of paid work per week.

Additionally, the eligibility requirements were recently changed such that the following work experience can no longer be used to qualify for the CEC:

  • Cooks
  • Food service supervisors
  • Administrative officers
  • Administrative assistants
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
  • Retail sales supervisors

Spouses/Partners Can Be Included

Spouses may be eligible to be included in their partner’s CEC application. In addition, if you or your common law partner have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, you may be eligible to be included in your partner’s Canadian Experience Class application assuming there are no admissibility issues. Larry Butkowsky can help you determine whether you or your partner should be the principal applicant under the Canadian Experience Class guidelines.

Applying Under the Canadian Experience Class

First, you will need to get the application package and pay the application fees, which cannot be paid online. Once the application is submitted, it generally takes just over one year to get a response. Should your temporary work visa expire during that time frame, you may be eligible for a “bridge permit,” that will allow you to stay in Canada until you receive the results of your application.

If you are a skilled worker or want to know whether your time and experience in Canada may qualify you to participate in the Canadian Experience Class, Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky can answer any questions you may have about how to proceed. His legal practice focuses solely on immigration law and he can assist you with any other issues you may be facing in making Canada your new home.


The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.

PULL QUOTES:

  • If you have been a working professional in Canada for at least 12 months you may be eligible to become a permanent resident of Canada under the government’s “Canadian Experience Class,” or CEC.
  • Between November 9, 2013 and October 31, 2014, the number of CEC applicants is capped at 12,000.
  • If you want to know whether your time and experience in Canada may qualify you to participate in the CEC, Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky can answer any questions you may have

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