Thanks again to Lucy O’Connor for this great post on the Canadian Experience Class. Makes for some very informative reading for anyone taking this route to Permenant Residency. Read on, it pretty much hits the nail on the head every time & if anyone has any questions please let us know here or on the Forum:

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

So for those of you who have done your time in Canada and have (or will have) two years of professional experience/study in your field in this country, the Canadian Experience Class is still probably the best route towards residency for you.

What is it?

It’s a submission process by which you obtain Permanent Residence status in Canada bringing to an end your need for sponsored work visas. It is submitted by the individual, not your employer, and is going to set you back at the least, about $1000 to $1200 (application fee, landing fee and medicals fee).


  • You will be free to work anywhere in Canada (except in Quebec….) allowing you to change job as easily as a Canadian!
  • It’s step one towards Citizenship (if that’s your ultimate aim).
  • It lasts for 5 years….giving you plenty more time to see if you want to settle here or not (beware though, you have to spend a certain amount of time within Canada during your first five years in order to renew it again after the first five years).
  • You can still apply even if you have left Canada, or plan to leave during the application process. Once you have completed two years of work/study here you are eligible.


  • It’s expensive (your employer may or may not chip in).
  • It’s quite a bit of paperwork.
  • The wait times are unpredictable as it is a relatively new process, brought in to alleviate the numbers applying through the Federal Skilled Worker route.
  • You have to be a Skill Type O, A or B on the NOC list, which unfortunately will exclude some of the hard-working Irish here in Canada (the Federal Skilled Worker route is probably the best choice for you in this case).

What You Need To Know?

  • Immigration Lawyers can process this for you for a fee. However, having completed the process myself, I do not think this is a necessity. The great thing about the CEC is that it is designed to determine you eligibility on a purely factual basis – you are either eligible or not. Once you meet the requirements set out online, you will receive your residency – there is no need to convince them further than that. The paperwork is not overly complicated, but you must be diligent in compiling it, and very clear on your application form. That said, I applied as a single person, with no dependants, and with English as my first language, so it was a pretty straight-forward application.
  • You need paperwork from home – College/University transcripts, a police cert, copies of your birth cert. etc. so either sort it on your next trip or get a very obliging friend/family member to help you out!
  • You will send your application to Buffalo, but it could get transferred to another Consulate, e.g. New York, L.A., Seattle. This can be a good or bad thing. It usually means Buffalo is backed up and needs to offload applications, and the Consulate you are transferred to could be quicker to process than Buffalo….or could be slower.
  • You have to provide proof of proficiency in the English language. I included a letter in my application explaining my education, and all work to date, has always been in an English speaking environment, and referred them back to my Uni transcripts. We all know we can speak English (!) but it’s still a good idea to address this properly to make sure you are waived the English language test.
  • You have to get medicals done during the process which means blood tests, urine test and xrays. These must be carried out by a CIC approved doctor (lists are available on the website below depending on your location in Canada). A lot of people apply early for their medicals, i.e. prior to the official request, to save time, usually soon after they receive their AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) which contains their Bxxxxxxx number (required on your medical form). This is because once you complete your medicals, it takes about 2-4 weeks for the results to come back, and then they are sent to Ottawa and put into a general system there. When the Consulate that is processing your application eventually does request your medicals from you, you will send them a receipt showing proof of medicals taken and they will contact Ottawa to request the results…which will be there waiting for them if you completed your medicals ahead of time.
  • You can call the general CIC number to ask them any questions you have about your application and you can also check your application status online once you receive your Bxxxxxx number. The Consulates themselves do not usually take calls about your application (Buffalo definitely doesn’t), though they do respond to email (sometimes). CIC, if you are super polite to them, can give you certain information on the status of your application. They have no power over the processing of your application, but often they can see more information on your status than you can online e.g. they can tell you if Ottawa has received your medicals or not. Be nice though. They aren’t required to tell you anything!
  • Be prepared for unpredictable wait times, and also be prepared for varying wait times between you and your mate even though you both applied on the same day! There seems to be little rhyme or reason to the order or speed in which applications are processed. I would highly recommend signing up to the trackitt website below and reading through the forums. It is a great site for information, and a place of solidarity during those frustrating months when you can’t seem to get ANY idea of when you might reach the next step in your application process.
  • The CIC website is still quoting a 10 month application time, however I came in just shy of a year, and a friend of mine, who applied at the same time is still waiting….14 months later.
  • It’s worth it. Be patient!


Official application info etc;


Additional info/support;