Published by Gabriel Oliveira
on April 21, 2021

Express Entry Without Work Experience

What is Express Entry? (Recap)

Express Entry is a process in place to recruit people interested in moving to Canada. Each candidate creates a profile, where they inform their age, profession, education level, language skills, etc. Based on that information, they get a score.

Different programs (FSW, CEC, PNP) then consume this big bucket of candidates (Express Entry Pool), and invite the ones with higher scores, that fit the program's specific criteria. These invitations happen every now and then, on what's called Invitation Rounds.

Now that you got the basics, let's talk about work experience!

Can I go through Express Entry without work experience?

No. All of the programs that are managed by Express Entry (FSW, CEC, PNP) require work experience.

Minimum Requirements for Express Entry with work experience highlighted

Minimum Requirements for Express Entry with work experience highlighted

Note: PNPs (Provincial Nominee Programs) have different criteria on each stream, but in general, they all require some sort of work experience too. Except some students streams, which require that you have studied in Canada.

Why is work experience needed?

Canada is looking for skilled workers, everybody knows that. And by "skilled", they mean specific items:

So, the reasoning is that, if you have already done your job for a while, you must know what you are doing. Which makes sense, right? Pretty much how a company would recruit its work force!

How much work experience do I need?

One year.

For the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), it can be anywhere in the world.

For the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), it must be in Canada. You can get that experience without being a permanent resident, if you are a temporary resident that is allowed to work.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) have different requirements for each province. You can see details for each here .

Can work experience be in any area?

No. Your work experience must be in the same NOC (National Occupation Code) that you used to create your Express Entry profile.

So, for an example, if you are applying to come to Canada as a Software Developer, you can't user work experience that you have as a bank clerk.

Also, NOCs must be managerial (Skill level 0), professional (skill type A) or technical (skill type B). Check out the NOCs full list for more details.

Work experience must match my studies?

No. For Express Entry, work experience and studies are two different and separate things.

However, work experience must match the NOC (National Occupation Code) that you used when you created your Express Entry profile (explained above).

How do I prove that I have work experience?

You must get a letter from your employers (current or past) stating:

Check out our article about Proof of Work Experience to see details of what the letter must have, and a template that you can use as a reference.


Bee Aug 15, 2021 13:04:25

Hi, I have two years working as bookkeeper (NOC B) without college or degree. Because my previous company trained me and i went for short course certificate to work in this position. After two years, I decided to take degree and graduated BA of accounting. Currently I have one year experiences after graduation. So Can I calculate to add up into 3 years experiences? Thank you

Bee Aug 15, 2021 13:05:19

P/S: i got 3 years gap in employment.

Gabriel (Author) Aug 16, 2021 16:36:46

Hi. So the gap shouldn't bee a problem, as long as it's all within 10 years. The work experience you can add up as long as they are on the same NOC (based on duties and responsabilities). For immigration purposes, work experience and education are separate things, so the fact that you did a job before graduation and another after, shouldn't be a problem!

deep Dec 15, 2021 11:53:51

hii. i have two years experience as ielts trainer (noc A) and 2 years of office administrator (noc B). Will my total experience be considered as 4 years or 2 years???? kindly reply. thanks

Gabriel (Author) Dec 26, 2021 04:15:09

Hey. I'd say you just need to mention the NOC you will use as your occupation on EE profile. Because the other ones won't help you in anything (on the score), and will only require you extra evidence...

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