The Canada Experience Class is a special immigration category for individuals with work experience in Canada under a valid permit or program.  It does not apply to individuals intending to reside in Quebec.

Advantages of this Category

The Canada Experience Class is a very straightforward category.  There are no points assessed.  It is a pass or fail category.  You either meet the (few) requirements or you don’t.

Another great advantage of this category – the “employment requirements” section listed in each NOC are not applicable.

To qualify for the Canada Experience Class you need work experience in Canada, or graduate from a post-secondary institution in Canada and have some work experience in Canada.

Each way to qualify is discussed below.

Employment in Canada

You need 1 year of full-time (or equivalent) work experience in Canada.  “Full-time” means 30 paid hours per week at minimum, or 1,560 hours of paid employment over 12 months.

If you’ve worked part-time then you need the full-time equivalent hours of work.

Your work experience must have been under NOC A, B or O occupation.  However, there is currently a cap of 12,000 applications per year, and a cap of 200 applications in any single NOC.

In addition, the following NOC’s no longer qualify under the CEC:

  • Cooks (NOC 6322)
  • Food service supervisors (NOC 6311)
  • Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
  • Administrative assistants (NOC 1241)
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311)
  • Retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211)

Your work experience must have been under a valid work permit or program.

Your one year of experience must be in the last 3 years before you apply.

You also need to submit results from a language exam and have sufficient language scores.

Language Requirements

You must submit a language exam (either IELTS General for English or TEF for French, see above for links) with your Canada Experience Class application.

You either get a pass or fail on language.

If you fail achieve the minimum language test scores your entire application will fail.

For the IELTS, you need at least a score of 6.0 in each of speaking, listening, reading and writing for NOC occupations A and 0.  If you score a single 5.0 in one category but a 7.0 in another you will still pass.

For a NOC occupation B, you will need a minimum of a 5.0 in both speaking and listening and writing, and at least a 4.0 in reading.  You can score a single 4.0 in speaking, or a singe. 4.5 in listening or a single 3.5 in reading or a single 4.0 in writing, so long as you score higher than 5.0 in one other categories.

Only the principal applicant must provide test results.  No other evidence of language ability will be accepted.

Family Members

As with other categories of immigration, the age of children is “locked-in” at the time of application.  That means if a child is under age 22 at the time of application, but over 22 when the application is approved, that individual is still considered a dependent (so long as the child is still single).

However, if a child over 22 at the time of application and is considered a dependent based on mental or physical condition, or a full-time student), they must still be a dependent based on those factors at the time the visa is issued.

In other words, the fact a child is a “dependent” is not “locked-in” at the time of application – only age.

Also – as with other categories – immediate family members must be admissible if they will not accompany the applicant to Canada. There are exceptions for an inadmissible spouse who is legally separated from the applicant or a child in the legal custody of someone else.

Please note that as of January 1, 2014, dependents must be 18 years or younger, and the exception for full-time students will be eliminated.

Permanent Residence For International PhD Students

There is a unique program for international PhD students studying in Canada.

An international PhD student can apply for permanent residence after 2 years of study in Canada, so long as he or she remains in good standing with his or her academic institution.

In addition, an international PhD graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution can apply for permanent residence within 12 months of graduation.