Canada’s foreign skilled workers and international students may be eligible for a fast track to permanent residence—the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Starting in 2008, this program, (part of the Express Entry system) has given foreign skilled workers, and international students who have graduated from an institution in Canada, the opportunity to become permanent residents and eventually citizens.
To be eligible for the CEC you must meet the criteria in three categories:
Note that there is a specific classification needed under the National Occupation Category (NOC) to be eligible for CEC. The NOC system is how the government classifies jobs based on job duties and the work a person does. One needs to hold a job in NOC 0, A, or B to be eligible for CEC.
International students who graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) may apply after a year of work authorized under a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This is also a way to improve your rank in the Express Entry pool.
Foreign students can complete an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), for immigration purposes from a designated institution, to determine how their education is equivalent to a completed certificate, degree, or diploma from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution.
Volunteers, unpaid interns, and self-employed people are not eligible for this program. Work hours obtained as a full-time student are also not criteria for eligibility (even if these are co-op hours).
Additionally, work hours are not counted above 30 a week, meaning that work experience must be accrued over 52 weeks.
Furthermore, you cannot plan to live in Quebec. The province has its own immigration system and selects its skilled workers under programs such as the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).
Lastly, you must pass medical and security clearances to demonstrate that you are admissible to Canada. Candidates with criminal records may not be allowed to immigrate to Canada, but there are options to overcome criminal inadmissibility.
Once you have determined your eligibility to apply for the CEC, you will need to:
The Canadian Experience Class provides a fast track to permanent residence for those with Canadian work experience, and remains one of the most main ways for people to immigrate to Canada.
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