Canadian immigration announces changes to Canadian Experience Class

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On 8th November 2013, the Canadian immigration minister Chris Alexander announced changes to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) visa stream which came into force on 9th November 2013.

The CEC allows foreign nationals who already have at least one year's work experience in a skilled occupation in Canada to apply for a Canadian permanent residence visa providing that they meet Canada's immigration criteria.

Applicants under the CEC must have Canadian work experience in one of three Canadian National Occupational Classification System (NOC) categories;

  • Skill Type 0 – Managerial jobs
  • Skill Level A – Professional jobs
  • Skill Level B – Technical jobs and skilled trades

12,000 new applications accepted in 2014

Mr Alexander announced that only 12,000 new applications will be accepted under the CEC in 2014. This, he said, was to prevent backlogs building up in the system. He said that there would still be 15,000 CEC permanent resident visas issued in 2014 as announced by Mr Alexander on 28th October 2013. This would allow the current backlog to be reduced.

Further, because of high numbers of applications, people with experience in six occupations will not be eligible to apply under the CEC. These occupations are Skill Level B technical and trade jobs. They are

  • Cooks (NOC code 6322)
  • Food service supervisors (NOC 6311)
  • Administrative officers (NOC 1221)
  • Administrative assistants (NOC 1241);
  • Accounting technicians and bookkeepers (NOC 1311); and
  • Retail sales supervisors (NOC 6211).

Language testing will take place at earlier stage

In addition, Mr Alexander announced that the language skills of applicants will be tested at an earlier stage in the process than was previously the case. By testing applicants at an earlier stage, Mr Alexander hopes that time will be saved by weeding out the applications of those with inadequate English. There will be no change to the level of English required of applicants.

Applicants who are applying for CEC visas with experience in managerial or professional jobs will be required to speak English to a high standard – Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7. Applicants with technical and trade experience are required to speak English or French to a lower standard CLB 5.

Applicants who fail to prove that they can speak English to the required standard will now be weeded out at an early stage. Mr Alexander said that this was more 'client-friendly' because those who fail to establish sufficient linguistic ability will now have their application fees refunded whereas before they would have lost their application fees.

Sub-caps on Level B occupations

Finally, Mr Alexander announced that there will now be sub-caps of 200 applications in all the qualifying NOC Skill Level B occupations. This means that a maximum of 200 applications will be accepted from those with experience in occupations such as plumbers, electricians, plasterers and so forth.

Sanwar Ali or said 'These changes mean that, if you are thinking of applying for a CEC permanent residence visa, you should do so as soon as possible, particularly if your Canadian experience is in an technical or trade position classified in NOC Skill Level B. The CEC program has proved extremely popular. You should get in touch straight away.'

CEC founded in 2008

The CEC was established in 2008. At that time only 2,500 visas were issued and applicants needed to have two years' work experience in Canada, not one. The programme has been expanded in order to favour applicants who have already proved their ability to contribute to the Canadian economy.

Sanwar Ali of said 'The changes to the CEC introduced by Mr Alexander's predecessor Jason Kenney in December 2012 have made it much easier to get a CEC visa. You now only need to complete one year of skilled work experience in Canada to qualify. The CEC is a fantastic opportunity for foreign workers with Canadian work experience. can help you with your application'.

If you would like to apply for a visa can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with 25 years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.