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Last year, Canada accepted 182,322 temporary foreign workers into the country. Nearly 100,000 international students were accepted to study at Canadian schools. International students and temporary foreign workers are ideal candidates for Canadian permanent residency. These individuals have already settled into Canadian society and have established important networks in their communities and their careers. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration program can help fast-track these students and workers in becoming Canadian permanent residents.

CEC - International Students

To qualify for the Canadian Experience Class, international students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Successfully complete a program of full-time study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary educational institution or have completed one year of Canadian education before completing a one year Master’s program in Canada;
  • Obtain at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience; and
  • Have moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.

It is important to note that applicants do not have to obtain work experience in their field of study. Once applicants have completed one year of full-time, paid skilled work experience, they can submit their application for the Canadian Experience Class while they are still working or they can submit their application within 12 months of leaving their Canadian employment.

CEC - Temporary Foreign Workers

To qualify for the Canadian Experience Class, temporary foreign workers must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Obtain at least two years of full-time skilled, professional or technical work experience; and
  • Have moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.

Once applicants have completed two years of full-time, paid skilled work experience, they can submit their application for the Canadian Experience Class while they are still working or they can submit their application within 12 months of leaving their Canadian employment.

International students and temporary foreign workers are able to apply through the Canadian Experience Class even if they are no longer residing in Canada. They must submit application to the appropriate Canadian immigration visa office within 12 months of having left their Canadian employment.

Quebec Experience Class (PEQ)

Although work experience and education obtained in Quebec will be considered for the Canadian Experience Class, applicants cannot apply through the Canadian Experience Class if they intend to reside in the province of Quebec. Applicants who intend to reside in Quebec and who have Quebec work experience or Quebec studies can apply through the province’s own experience class,

PEQ - International Students

To qualify for the Quebec Experience Class, international students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Obtain a degree or diploma from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education;
  • Study in Quebec for at least 1,800 hours (two years); and
  • If the studies are not completed in French, applicants must successfully complete an intermediate level French course at a Quebec educational institution.

Applicants can submit their application through the Quebec Experience Class up to six months before the completion of their Quebec diploma. Once a Quebec diploma has been obtained, there is no time limit for submitting an application through the Quebec Experience Class.

PEQ - Temporary Foreign Workers

To qualify for the Quebec Experience Class, foreign workers must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Have 12 months of Quebec work experience in a skilled, managerial or professional occupation in the 24 months prior to their application:
  • Be employed and show legal status in Quebec at the time of their application; and
  • Successfully complete an intermediate level French course at a Quebec educational institution, or provide results of a standardized French proficiency test.
  • Alternatively, they can show that they satisfy the French language requirements of the professional order governing their occupation in Quebec.

Both programs are highly beneficial for applicants planning to or are already studying or working in Canada. Unlike the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants are not required to have work experience in a qualifying occupation. Moreover, they do not require points to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class or the Quebec Experience Class. Rather, they are assessed on a pass or fail model. International students and temporary foreign workers may also have the option of applying for permanent residency through many of the Provincial Nominee Programs. To learn more, please see our page on Provincial Nominee Programs.

Do you have Canadian work experience or have you graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution? Fill out our free online Canadian immigration eligibility questionnaire to find out if you qualify for a Canadian immigration (permanent resident) visa.

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