There is a lot of confusion around the work experience requirements for Express Entry. In fact, we get a lot of questions around things like whether you can use foreign work experience for your Express Entry score, how to prove this foreign work experience, and is there a difference in points for work experience inside and outside of Canada?
Let’s jump into some of these important questions and answer them here:
Here is an important question you may be asking about eligibility: say you have skilled experience from back home – does that count for Express Entry? How does previous work from other countries help or hurt your CRS score?
Whether you are inside or outside of Canada, if you have 1 year of skilled work experience, it can usually be counted towards your CRS score and help make you eligible for Express Entry. So, yes, you can be eligible and get points for skilled work outside of Canada or inside of Canada, or both. That is great news, it means your previous work experience will not be forgotten or a waste of time.
But getting that foreign work experience to help your CRS score does require some work by you and your previous employer. No matter if you are inside or outside of Canada you are going to want to make sure you can prove that experience to Immigration Canada. The one key requirement to proving this work experience and boosting your CRS score is a reference letter, so you’ll want to maintain contact with your current/previous employer to get that done when needed. You can also sign up to the free Visto Platform to download our reference letter template!
As you can expect, Canadian work experience will give you more points than foreign work experience. However, getting 1 year of foreign work experience can make you eligible from outside Canada, and having 3 or more years of foreign work experience will give you even more points!
Speaking of work experience from foreign countries, aside from the reference letter what do you need from the employer when applying for Express Entry?
That is a good question. Like I said, for work experience back home in a foreign country, typically what is expected is a reference letter straight from your employer. Honestly, the hard requirements do not actually include anything other than a reference letter. That is the only document Immigration Canada requires. Before you go about getting that letter, make sure you understand the requirements of all the details that IRCC requires for an Express Entry reference letter. This needs to include details such as start date and end date, salary, title, main duties, company contact info and more.
Some other documents that might be a good idea to include, if you have them, are:
This is a question that I often get about CRS scores: does FSW (Federal Skilled Worker program) give you a better CRS score than CEC (Canadian Experience Class)? That is a valid question, one that can apply to almost anyone applying for Express Entry who has Canadian work experience.
The answer to that question is thankfully quite simple and easy to understand. Basically, the scores are calculated the exact same way. Whether you are coming through the FSW program, CEC program or others, the way they calculate your score is actually the same for all of them. The difference might be that CEC applicants may by nature have higher scores because if you are eligible through CEC, it means you have at least 1 year of Canadian experience – which does give you more points than foreign work experience.
So yes, the points are actually calculated the exact same, with the exception being that people coming through the CEC program usually – not always – have slightly higher scores if they have Canadian experience or a Canadian degree to rely on.
We hope these blogs and Q&A content is helpful, and if you’re serious about immigrating to Canada, make sure to join our free immigration platform here to get started!