Pathway Study to Permanent Residency

Most international students who study in Canada have an ultimate goal to immigrate to Canada. To achieve this goal they will need at least one year of international work experience or Canadian work experience. Some students will use their Canadian education points towards their Federal Skilled Worker application while the others through the Canadian Experience Class after they complete their studies, often through a post-graduate work permit.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration category under Express Entry program that allows individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year to immigrate permanently. This is also a popular option for International Students. They are also not required to show proof of funds, like FSW or FST applicants do. These advantages also often reduce the application processing time.

The government of Canada recognizes that having obtained Canadian work experience, this pool of talented workers have already settled in the Canadian culture and system and hence wants them to become permanent residents.

Qualified candidates must make an expression of interest in immigrating to Canada, create an online Express Entry profile, and receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence before they may make an application.

CEC applicants must:

  • Have obtained at least one year of skilled (NOC O) , professional (NOC A) or technical work experience (NOC B) (Full-time or equivalent part-time) in Canada within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Meet the minimum required Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 or 7 depending on the level of the job; and
  • Plan to live and work outside of the province of Quebec (applicants with work experience in Quebec and who plan to reside in Quebec may apply to the Quebec Experience Class).
  • Not be inadmissible in Canada

Applicants may remain in Canada throughout the application process. However, the Canadian Experience Class is also open to individuals who are no longer in Canada, if they submit their application within three years of leaving their job in Canada.

In cases where an applicant who is working in Canada is on a work permit that will expire before their CEC application is processed, they may be eligible for a bridging open work permit (BOWP). This type of work permit allows applicants to remain in Canada to work for the duration of the time that their application is in the system.

Note: Self-employment and work experience gained as a full-time student (On a co-op work term, on and off campus part-time work) does not count under this program. The work experience must be gained after graduation and on a valid work permit, such as the Post-Graduate Work Permit.  Any work performed in an unpaid internship capacity also will not count as valid work experience.


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