The Canadian Experience Class


The best way to immigrate to Canada? Through work experience in Canada (Canadian Experience Class).

By Marco Castro

If you have worked for at least one year in Canada, you may be eligible to become a permanent resident. This work experience, however, must have been obtained in the last three years and must fit within one of the occupations outlined in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of the type 0, A or B. You also have to prove proficiency in English or French.

How to know if you qualify for this process:

  • You have worked for one year full-time, which means at least 30 hours per week (or equivalent);
  • You have worked legally with a Work Permit. This work period of one year must have been within the last 36 months, but you do not need to be working when you submit your application;
  • The job was in a qualifying occupation, for example: managerial, professional or technical;
  • You have a minimum level of English or French, established in accordance with your occupation and confirmed by an established test. And this test must have been written within the last two years;
  • Even if you have returned to Brazil, you may still apply, provided that you meet the required conditions.

What are the exceptions:

1. Not valid for the province of Quebec;
2. Not valid for refugees;
3. This experience of 1 year may not have been obtained through programs such as:
• A Coop Internship – in which you studied part- time and worked part-time,  even if it was for one year in a skilled occupation;
• A Work Permit for the purposed of working on a university campus or elsewhere, where the work visa is linked to a student visa.

How and when to properly use this process:

  • Study in  a full-time program for at least one year, leading to graduation from an educational institution qualified by Immigration. Remember that you can get a Work Permit for programs lasting only 8 months, but the Permit would also be only for 8 months, so you wouldn’t get the work experience of 1 year for this process. For programs that are less than eight months, a Work Permit will not be granted;
  • Obtain a Work Permit for one year within 90 days after confirmation that you successfully completed the program;
  • When you choose the duration of the program, you should bear in mind that, for programs between 8 months and 2 years, the Work Permit will be issued for the exact time of study. Whereas if the program has been for more than two years, this Permit can be granted for three years.

Here’s a valuable tip:
If you study in a program in Canada for one year or more, and if your spouse is eligible for an open Work Permit, that spouse can work for at least one year. Upon meeting all the requirements, he / she may be eligible for this process, including you in the permanent residence process.

In the next edition, we will detail what to do to legally work in Canada through obtaining a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

Marco Castro is an immigration consultant, certified and member of ICCRC, translator and notary public, with an office in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For more information, call 604-696-6042, send an email to [email protected] or visit