Canadian Experience Class Eligibility Criteria

Since 2008, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) has offered a major pathway for candidates who have worked in Canada and want to transition to permanent residence. 

The CEC is a prominent option for temporary foreign workers and international graduates who go on to gain Canadian work experience. The CEC is among the three programs managed under Canada's Express Entry system. This comprehensive Silver Oaks page provides you with everything you need to know about the CEC.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program in 2008 to offer a dedicated skilled worker pathway to temporary foreign workers and international graduates who want to obtain permanent residence status.


The CEC has since grown into one of Canada's largest immigration pathways for skilled workers and is regarded as an overwhelming success by governments across Canada, communities, employers, and immigration candidates themselves.

What are the benefits of the CEC?

The CEC is part of a concerted effort by Canada's federal and provincial governments to encourage more temporary foreign workers and international students to build their futures in Canada. Research by IRCC, Statistics Canada, and academics is clear: skilled worker candidates have a major advantage in integrating into the Canadian job market if they have previously lived in the country. The combination of having high human capital criteria (e.g., being young and middle-aged, having high levels of education, work experience, and education) plus building social and professional networks in Canada enables CEC immigrants to be very successful in the labor market.

In addition to this benefit, candidates with Canadian experience are able to obtain more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points under Express Entry. This increases their chances of obtaining permanent residence.

Third, CEC candidates who succeed under Express Entry are usually able to get their permanent residence status within six months.

A fourth major benefit of the CEC is unlike the other two Express Entry programs, candidates who succeed under the CEC do not need to demonstrate to IRCC that they have settlement funds to support themselves financially upon obtaining permanent residence.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the CEC, you must meet the following requirements:

One year (or 12 months) of work experience is defined as at least 1,560 hours of skilled workers in Canada. The 1,560 hours can be obtained through full-time and/or part-time work.

Applicants can remain in Canada throughout the application process. However, the Canadian Experience Class is also open to individuals who are no longer in Canada, provided that they submit their application within three years of leaving their job in Canada.

The Canadian Experience Class requirements are based on a pass or fail model. If the minimum requirements are met, the applicant is eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.

Note: Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (for example, on a co-op work term) does not count under the CEC.

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