Do you have at least 12 months of full-time work experience in Canada? The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program designed specifically for individuals who are already employed in Canada in a skilled role.

While applicants do need to meet a few other eligibility requirements, work experience is the most important qualifier for the CEC. Here’s everything you need to know about this fast-track program.

How the Canadian Experience Class can help you move to Canada

After working in Canada full-time for one year – or obtaining the equivalent amount of work experience through part-time employment – foreign nationals may be eligible to immigrate permanently via the CEC. This work experience must have been obtained legally and with a valid Canadian work visa in a job that falls under skill type 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Applicants must also intend to live in a province other than Quebec and meet the language level requirements associated with their NOC category (NOC 0 or A requires a CLB score of 7, while NOC B requires a 5).

What is Express Entry and how does it work?

Express Entry is an electronic immigration system that was launched by the Canadian government in 2015. Its purpose is to grant permanent residency to skilled workers who can help fill gaps in the Canadian labour market. Just about 80% of CEC applications are processed within six months, making this a very quick way to obtain your PR – especially compared to other immigration streams, which can easily take over a year.

Once CEC hopefuls have obtained a work permit, completed a full year of employment, and met the above mentioned eligibility criteria, they will be able to apply for PR through the Express Entry system. Here is what the process looks like once you get there.

Step 1: Create a profile

Create your Express Entry account on the IRCC website and fill out the required information. You will be asked to provide details like your work history and proof of your CLB score.

Step 2: Receive an invitation to apply (ITA)

Once your application is submitted to the Express Entry pool, it will be evaluated based on how well you meet the eligibility criteria. If you receive a high enough score, you will be invited to formally submit your application for Canadian permanent residency (along with any dependents you may have).

The timeline for submission is 60 days. If your work permit is expiring shortly, you can apply for a bridging open work permit (BWOP) after you have submitted your PR application. This type of permit allows you to maintain legal employment while your file is being evaluated.

Step 3: Complete the necessary background checks

CEC applicants must undergo both a criminal background check and a medical examination (by an approved physician) as part of their application. You must also provide a police background check from every country you have lived in for at least six months since you were 18 years of age.

Within 60 days of receiving their ITA, applicants must submit an e-application that includes the above mentioned information and documents, as well as reference letters from past employers. Since 60 days can go by fast, we recommend starting the process to obtain these documents before you receive your ITA.

Step 4: Confirm your permanent residency

If your e-application is approved, you will receive your confirmation of permanent residence (COPR). This document must be signed and dated by an officer at a Canadian port of entry or an IRCC office, at which point your PR status will be granted.

Step 5: Apply for your PR card

With your signed COPR in-hand, you will now be eligible for your PR card. This card will act as your proof of status whenever you travel in and out of Canada.

Stack the odds in your favour

With an immigration professional on your side, you’re that much better equipped to tackle the complex process of obtaining your permanent residency. At Exeo Attorneys, we accompany our clients through every step of the process to ensure their applications are complete, accurate, and most importantly, on time. Book your consultation today.

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