If you have been working or studying in Canada, you already know why, year after year, Canada is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world in which to live. From a strong, stable economy to the beauty of its natural environment, Canada offers an exceptionally high quality of life. With the knowledge, skills and experience you have gained in Canada, you could qualify to make Canada your permanent home.
Who can apply
To apply for permanent resident status through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC):
you must have the required work experience in Canada and it must have been acquired while you had the proper work permits or authorizations.
you must also be able to communicate in one of Canada’s two official languages.
You cannot apply under the CEC if you are planning to live in the province of Quebec, which manages its own immigration program, as Quebec has its own process for international students to apply for permanent residence. You may want to visitimmigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/immigrate-settle/students/stay-quebec/index.html.
If you have worked or studied in Quebec but intend to settle elsewhere in Canada that experience could help you meet the requirements of the CEC.
Visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) website at immigration.gc.ca/cec for more detailed information, including all the forms and guides that will help you complete your application.
We currently have an annual cap of 8,000 for new CEC applications. There are also sub-caps of 200 for each National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupation.
Immigration representatives, consultants and lawyers
There are people who offer immigration advice or assistance to visa applicants. They usually charge a fee for their services. You do not need to hire an immigration representative. If you do hire a representative, your application will not be given special attention. If you decide to hire an immigration representative, choose carefully and make sure you hire one who is authorized by the Government of Canada. CIC will not deal with anyone who is not an authorized representative. Read more about choosing an immigration representative.
Requirements for applicants
To apply for permanent resident status through the CEC, you need at least one year of full-time experience (or the equivalent in part-time work) as a skilled worker in Canada. Full-time work means at least 30 hours per week, and you need to have worked at least 1,560 hours in a year. The one-year of work experience must have been obtained within the three years preceding the date your CEC application is received.
To work in Canada after graduating, your best option is to apply for a post-graduation work permit. These permits may be valid for up to three years. To qualify for the CEC, remember that at least one year of your work experience must be in a skilled occupation (see skilled work experience).
It is also important to note that work experience you may have acquired as part of your academic program, such as an internship or a co-op placement, does not qualify under the CEC. Part-time work you may have performed during your studies does not qualify either.
If you have made an application for permanent residence and your existing work permit is about to expire, you may be eligible for a bridging open work permit. Bridging open work permits allow qualified applicants to keep working while they await a final decision on their permanent residence application. Read more about bridging open work permits and eligibility.
Skilled work experience
Your work experience in Canada must be in a job or an occupation that requires a specific level of skill, education or training. To qualify, your experience must be in one of the following categories of Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Skill Type 0
This includes senior management occupations, middle and other management positions.
Skill Level A
Occupations at this level usually require university education at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate level.
Skill Level B
Occupations at this level usually require education obtained at a college or vocational institute, apprenticeship training or three to four years of secondary school followed by more than two years of on-the-job training, specialized training courses or specific work experience.
Find out if your work experience qualifies.
To qualify for the CEC, you must prove your proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages, which are English and French. The four linguistic abilities are speaking, reading, listening and writing.
The required level of ability in English or French will vary according to your occupation. For example, the language requirements for managerial and professional positions are higher than the requirements for positions in technical occupations or skilled trades.
To prove your language skills, you will need to take a language test approved by CIC and include those results with your application.
More information is available about specific language requirements. These language requirements are subject to change.
The application processing fee for a single person is $550 in Canadian funds. There are additional fees if another member of your family is applying at the same time. The processing fees for you and your dependants must be paid when you submit your application.
Be sure to note that processing fees cannot be refunded, so it is very important to understand the requirements of the CEC before you submit your application.
You must also pay the following for yourself and your family members (if applicable):
Entering Canada—the basic requirements
Whether you are coming to Canada to study, visit, work or live permanently, everyone must meet basic requirements. For example, you must not pose a threat to the health, safety or security of Canada. As well, any record of criminal activity could prevent you from being allowed to come to Canada. You also must not provide false information or fraudulent documentation, or withhold information that could be related to your application.
The CEC section of CIC’s website is your first stop for information about the CEC and other CIC programs, and has all theforms and guides that will help you complete your application.
The CIC Help Centre provides answers to commonly asked questions on a range of topics searchable by keyword or subject.
The CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (toll-free from within Canada only) features an automated voice response system available 24 hours a day. You can also speak to an agent during normal business hours, except for statutory holidays. Call Centre agents will support you in finding the information you seek on our website. If you are hard of hearing and use a text telephone, you can access the TTY service at 1-888-576-8502 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. your local time.