The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

What is it?

The CEC is a new category (September 2008) to make it easier for recent graduates of Canadian colleges and universities, or for skilled foreign workers temporarily in Canada to stay permanently.


Am I Eligible?

To apply, you must be in Canada legally to visit, work or study and have temporary resident status when you apply. Also, only recent graduates and highly skilled workers may apply. You must be eligible for employment in one of three categories – management, professional occupations, or technical occupations and skilled trades.

How Does Immigration Canada Select Successful Applicants?

You must be able to answer ‘Yes’ to these questions:

  • Do you have Canadian work experience in highly skilled work?
  • Do you communicate well enough in English or French for your job?
  • Are you EITHER a recent graduate of a post-secondary school (College, University or other degree-granting institution) in Canada OR someone with two or more years of highly skilled work in Canada?
  • Do you currently hold a valid, unexpired visa for Canada (Work Permit, Visitor Record, or Study Permit)?

What Work Experience Do I Need?

There are two sets of rules, one for recent graduates of schools in Canada, and one for temporary foreign workers.

Recent Graduates

If you are a recent graduate of a degree-granting college or university located Canada, you must be:

  • A graduate of a Canadian public post secondary educational institution, such as an accredited college of university; OR
  • A graduate of a Canadian private institution authorized by Provincial law to grant degrees; AND
  • Have 12 months of skilled work experience in the two years before you apply.

Your course of studies must be at least two academic years (two eight month terms or four four-month semesters) in Canada ending in graduation from the program at the Canadian institution.

In the case of a one-year Master’s program, you must complete the one-year Master’s program, plus one year of undergraduate course work from a Canadian institution, for a total of two years Canadian student experience

The work experience must be in a skilled occupation, meaning a management position, a professional occupation, or a technical occupations or skilled trade.

Temporary Foreign Workers

If you are a temporary foreign worker, that is, a person who has not studied in Canada at the post-secondary level, but has worked in Canada, then it is possible to Immigrate to Canada and become a Permanent Resident.

You must have:

  • 24 months of Management level, Professional level, Technical or Skilled Trades work experience in the three years before you apply.

What Are The Language Requirements?

You must take a language test.

If you are in a professional occupation or are a manager, you must have a score of 28 or higher, demonstrating your moderate proficiency in English or French.
If you are in a technical occupation or are a skilled worker, you must have a score of 20 or higher, demonstrating your basic proficiency in English or French.

Is this the same test as TOEFL (Test of English as A Foreign Language)?

This has not yet been determined.

Can I get credit for work experience I obtained while I did not have a Work Permit?

No. Under current rules, you can count only the work experience you gained while being the holder of a valid Work Permit, or when on Implied Status in Canada.

Does the work experience have to be full time, continuous work experience?

This has not yet been determined.

About the Author

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Written by Velletta Pedersen Christie

The law firm of Velletta Pedersen Christie is based in lovely Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We employ some of the best lawyers in BC, and provide powerful, professional counsel to to clients in Victoria, across Canada and around the globe. We have the expertise to handle a variety of legal projects and cases, so contact us and we'll get you speaking with the appropriate member of our team.