Overview of the Canada Experience Class Program and Comparison With the FSWP

Overview of the Canada Experience Class Program and Comparison With the FSWP

With just 2-3 program-specific draws in a year, many foreign skilled workers in the EE pool got ITAs and became Canadian permanent residents without even coming across a program-specific EE draw.

Express Entry is the application system for:

The CRS scoring system is the same for all applicants, which meant FSWP applicants always enjoyed a distinct advantage over those FSTP or CEC applicants in getting ITAs in Express Entry draws.

The impact of Covid-19 on international travel has forced IRCC to focus on skilled workers already living in Canada. And this is why there have been nine PNP-specific and eight CEC-specific draws in the 19 EE draws conducted in March-July 2020

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About Canada Experience Class Program

As the name suggests, this program is restricted to skilled workers with work experience in Canada.

To qualify, you must fulfill this primary eligibility requirement.

  • Canadian work experience
  • In a NOC 0,A, or B occupation
  • For at least 12 months
  • Within three years of submission of the application for permanent residence
  • in the past three years     

The CEC program will consider work experience only if gained as a work-permit holder in Canada. Work experience gained as a full-time foreign student in Canada won’t make your eligible for applying under CEC.

With no minimum educational requirements, the only other important eligibility condition is that you must have language proficiency of CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A positions and CLB 5 or above for NOC B positions

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CEC vs. FSWP Compared

Work Experience

FSWP requires one year work experience—Canadian or foreign—in the past ten years.

CEC requires work experience in Canada only and within the past three years.


You must complete your secondary education to qualify under the FSWP. CEC has no minimum education requirements, but this actually impacts your EE CRS score negatively.

A CEC applicant not submitting details of educational qualification will not get any CRS points for the same. A FSWP applicant will score higher by submitting details of Canadian degree or ECA-supported foreign degree.

The simplest way to avoid this disadvantage is to submit details of your education when applying under the CEC even if you are not required to do so. Of course, you will have to get your foreign educational credential assessed, but this can prove a good investment if it helps you get an ITA faster.

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CEC is under the spotlight because of the IRCC view that a CEC applicant is more likely to be present in Canada as compared to a FSWP applicant. However, this will happen only if you are working in Canada and are in the EE pool.

You can apply under the CEC from anywhere in the world as long as you fulfill its eligibility requirements, which means you have qualified for an ITA under the latest set of draws despite not being in Canada. In such a scenario, you should seriously consider obtaining professional immigration assistance to respond to your Invitation to Apply and to complete all procedures and formalities despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

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