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Express Entry – Canadian Experience Class (CEC)


To qualify for the CEC through Express Entry, the candidate must have:

  • at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last three years (before apply). The work was:

    • full-time OR

    • an equal amount in part-time

  • gained your work experience in Canada with the proper authorization

  • meet the required language levels needed for your job for each language ability

    • writing

    • reading

    • listening

    • speaking

  • planned to live outside the province of Quebec

Self-employment and work experience gained while the applicant was a full-time student (such as on a co-op work term) doesn’t count under this program.

Note: The province of Quebec does not use Express Entry. They select their own skilled workers. See Quebec-selected skilled workers to find out more.


   Skilled work experience

To be eligible for the CEC, the candidate needs to have Canadian skilled work experience within three years of applying. According to the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC), skilled work experience means:

  • Managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0)

  • Professional jobs (NOC skill type A)

  • Technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B)

This experience must be at least

  • 12 months of full-time work

    • 30 hours/week for 12 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours), OR

  • equal amount in part-time hours, such as:

    • 15 hours/week for 24 months = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

    • 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than one job = 1 year full time (1,560 hours)

The candidate must show that he/she did the duties set out in the occupational description in the NOC. This includes all the main duties listed.

If the candidate doesn’t show that his/her experience meets the description in the NOC, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not accept the application.



There is no education requirement for Canadian Experience Class. But the candidate can earn points for his/her education under Express Entry, if:

  • The candidate went to school in Canada, and have a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:

    • secondary (high school) or

    • post-secondary school

  • The candidate has foreign education, and have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from an approved agency showing that the foreign education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree  from a Canadian:

    • secondary (high school) or

    • post-secondary school

The candidate will only benefit from getting an ECA if the foreign education is equal to a completed Canadian high school diploma or greater.


   Language ability

The candidate must:

  • meet the minimum language level of:

    • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs OR

    • Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for NOC B jobs

  • take a language test approved by IRCC that shows you meet the level for:

    • writing

    • reading

    • listening

    • speaking

The candidate must show that he/she meets the requirements in English or French by including the test results when he/she complete the Express Entry profile. The test results must not be more than two years old on the day the candidate applies for permanent residence or the candidate will need to retake the test.


   Principal Applicant

The person who is invited to apply and submits an application is the “principal applicant.” If the applicant was married or live with a common-law foreign national partner in Canada, and that person also meets the requirements, either or both of them can fill out an Express Entry profile.

A common-law partner is a person who has lived with the principal applicant in a marriage-like relationship for at least one year. Common-law partner refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.


   Other requirements

  • The applicant must be admissible to Canada

  • The applicant must plan to live outside the province of Quebec

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