Canadian Experience Class CEC Requirements

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a Canadian immigration program that uses Express Entry. It is one of the most popular ways for people with Canadian work experience to obtain permanent residency. As the name suggests, one of the core eligibility requirements for CEC is to have Canadian work experience. Let’s dig deeper into CEC requirements.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Canadian Class Experience

The minimum requirements for CEC can largely be broken down into 4 categories: work experience, official language proficiency test results, intention to live outside of Quebec, and admissibility requirements. At a first glance, CEC requirements can seem pretty straightforward and simple. However, many applicants miss certain details about the key requirements which end up hurting their chance to immigrate through Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class. You can check if you are eligible for CEC by using our eligibility analyzer.

Canadian Experience Class Work Requirements

To meet the work experience requirement for Canadian Experience Class, you need a minimum of 1 year of skilled and paid Canadian work experience that was gained within the last 3 years of applying for CEC. There’s actually a lot to unpack in that one sentence. It is very important for you to understand how the following plays into the requirement:

  • 1 year full-time/full-time equivalent
  • Skilled work experience
  • Paid, volunteer, intern, student, self-employed
  • Within 3 years of applying

We’ll explain in more detail below

What makes up 1 year of Canadian work experience?

IRCC considers you to have worked full-time for 1 year under various scenarios.

  1. Full-time: A total of 30 hours worked per week over the course of 12 months (52 weeks, or 365 days). A total of 1,560 hours worked.
    • FAQ: If I work more than 30 hours a week, does it count? Unfortunately no, you can only count a maximum of 30 hours a week for the purposes of Canadian Experience Class.
    • FAQ: Does my work experience need to be with one employer? No, your experience requirement can be met by combining work you’ve done with multiple employers. You just can’t claim more than 30 hours per week.
  2. Full-time Equivalent: If you work less than 30 hours per week, you can continue to add them up until you reach 1,560 hours. For example, if you worked a total of 15 hours per week over the course of 24 months (1,560 hours), you would meet this minimum work experience requirement for CEC.
    • FAQ: What if I work less than 15 hours? That’s completely fine as long as it meets the requirement that work experience must have been gained in the last 3 years before you apply for PR.

Tip: Keep tabs on how many vacation days you have taken. IRCC only accepts a reasonable number of vacation days to be counted towards your work experience requirement. At, we define reasonable as 2 weeks of vacation days per calendar year.

What is Skilled Canadian Work Experience?

Skilled Canadian work experience basically means that your work experience must have been gained from a National Occupation Classification (NOC) TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 job position. NOC TEER is basically how the Canadian government categorizes types of jobs based on duties, work performed and education required.

  • TEER 0: management jobs
  • TEER 1: Occupations that usually require a university degree
  • TEER 2: Occupations that usually require a college diploma, apprenticeship training or 2 or more years, or supervisory occupations
  • TEER 3: Occupations that usually require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of less than 2 years, or more than 6 months of on-the-job training

FAQ: How can I find my NOC? Finding your NOC TEER can be tricky because Canada does not classify every title or occupation on Earth. However, there are some tips and tricks that help in finding your NOC code. Find your NOC TEER using our Free Guide.

Paid work experience CEC Requirement | volunteer, Student, and Self-employed?

Your Canadian work experience must have been paid for it to be valid. This means that unpaid internships or volunteer work experiences do not count.

FAQ: What about student or self-employed work experience? Unfortunately, work experience gained while you were a student or self-employed in Canada does not count towards your CEC eligibility requirements.

what is meant by Within the last 3 years before you apply?

This requirement seems so simple but it messes with many potential immigrants. Many people mistakenly believe that “last 3 years before you apply” refers to creating an Express Entry profile and entering the Express Entry pool. Unfortunately, “the last 3 years before you apply” actually refers to the permanent residency application that you submit after getting an invitation to apply (ITA).

Official Language Proficiency Results | CEC Requirements

Canadian Experience Class requirements for language proficiency change based on your primary occupation. It depends on whether your primary occupation is a NOC TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3. Accepted official language tests are IELTS General and CELPIP General for English and TEF Canada and TCF Canada for French.

  • If your primary occupation is in NOC TEER 0 or 1: You will need to obtain a minimum Official Language Test Result of CLB/NCLC 7 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
  • If your primary occupation is in NOC TEER 2 or 3: You will need to obtain a minimum Official Language Test Result of CLB/NCLC 5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
CLB LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
NCLC LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
NCLC LevelReadingWritingListeningSpeaking
10 and above549-69916-20549-69916-20

Your official language proficiency is an extremely important factor in your immigration. Beyond the minimum requirements for CEC Express Entry, your language test scores play a big role in determining your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score. Your CRS score determines how likely you are to receive an invitation to apply (ITA). You can calculate your CRS score using our calculator.

Intention to live outside of Quebec | CEC Requirement

Express Entry is a federal program that allows you to settle in any province in Canada, you must not intend on living in Quebec. This is a requirement for Canadian Experience Class and other Express Entry programs. This is because Quebec has its own immigration programs for skilled workers. If you intend on living in Quebec, you should apply directly to the Quebec government and obtain a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) before submitting an immigration application to IRCC.

In cases where the Express Entry applicant currently resides in Quebec, they must intend to move out of the province. During the Express Entry application process, IRCC may request a ‘letter of intent to reside outside of Quebec’. If your letter does not satisfy the immigration officer, your application will be rejected. This is why it is highly recommended that you move out of Quebec before or shortly after submitting an immigration application through Express entry.

CEC Admissibility Requirements

Being inadmissible to Canada means that you are not allowed to come to Canada. There are many reasons why someone could be inadmissible to Canada. Some of the common reasons you may be inadmissible are having a history of driving while impaired, criminal history, being financially unable to support oneself, and health conditions that may be a danger to the public or cause a financial strain on the Canadian health/social system. Other uncommon reasons why you could be inadmissible to Canada are being a spy, a member of a violent/terrorist organization, having committed war crimes, and more.

Inadmissibility is a very serious matter and we occasionally see applicants who are deemed inadmissible during their application process. The key reason is: misrepresentation. Some candidates fabricate information to make their application stronger and some candidates accidentally include wrong/false information. Regardless of if it was intentional or an accident, you may be inadmissible for misrepresentation, which is also followed by a 5-year ban on entering Canada.

Check if you meet Canadian Class Experience CEC Requirements

Now that you understand the requirements for CEC, it’s time to check if you meet them! We’ve actually created a comprehensive eligibility checker that assesses your eligibility for Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, and Federal Skilled Trades!

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