Canada’s new pathway to permanent residency for in-country essential temporary workers and international graduates

Canada‘s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced an innovative pathway to permanent residence for over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who are actively contributing to Canada’s economy.

These special public policies will grant permanent status to temporary workers and international graduates who are already in Canada and who possess the skills and experience we need to fight the pandemic and accelerate our economic recovery.

The focus of this new pathway will be on temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes and on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international graduates who are driving the economy.

To be eligible, workers must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in a health-care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation (see below for the full list). International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last 4 years, and no earlier than January 2017.

Effective May 6, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications under the following 3 streams:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care
  • 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations
  • 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution

The streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit. Up to 90,000 new permanent residents will be admitted under these 3 streams.

To promote Canada’s official languages, 3 additional streams with no intake caps have also been launched for French-speaking or bilingual candidates. Communities across Canada benefit from French-speaking and bilingual newcomers, and this pathway will contribute to the vitality of these Francophone minority communities.

As Canada fights against the pandemic, immigration will remain critical to our economic recovery by addressing labour shortages and adding growth to our workforce.

With an accelerated pathway to permanent residency, these special public policies will encourage essential temporary workers and international graduates to put down roots in Canada and help us retain the talented workers we need, particularly in our health-care system.

Today’s announcement will help Canada achieve its 2021 Immigration Levels Plan, which will see Canada welcome 401,000 new permanent residents. The skilled newcomers and international graduates welcomed under this plan will help create jobs and drive long-term growth in Canada.

Quick facts

  • These public policies apply to workers in 40 health-care occupations, as well as 95 other essential jobs across a range of fields, like caregiving and food production and distribution.
  • These policies build on significant steps that we’ve already taken to help those here temporarily stay permanently, including new measures to ensure that international students don’t miss out on opportunities due to the pandemic and the largest draw in the history of the Express Entry system.
  • Graduates and workers must have proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages; meet general admissibility requirements; and be present, authorized to work and working in Canada at the time of their application to qualify.
  • Immigration is essential to the vitality of Francophone communities across Canada, which is why these policies include dedicated spaces for French-speaking or bilingual candidates, and no limit on applications for them.
  • Canada faces serious demographic challenges. In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior. Today, there are 3—and by 2035 there will be only 2. Without newcomers, future generations will end up paying more to sustain the public services we rely on.
  • According to Statistics Canada (January 2021), immigrants who previously held a work permit often report higher wages 1 year after becoming permanent residents.
Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to principal applicants

Based on public policy considerations, delegated officers may grant permanent resident status to foreign nationals who meet the following conditions.

The foreign national must:

  1. Have accumulated at least one (1) year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time experience (1,560 hours), in Canada, in an eligible occupation listed in Annex A or Annex B in the three (3) years preceding the date when the application for permanent residence is received. The one year of work experience must be obtained in one or more of the eligible occupations as follows:
    • Stream A: the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed in Annex A. Experience cannot be combined with Annex B occupations.
    • Stream B: the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed in Annex B, or a combination of occupations in Annexes A and B.
  2. Be employed in Canada in any occupation at the time that the application for permanent residence is received;
  3. The employment described in both a) and b) must meet the definition of work under subsection 73(2) of the Regulations, must have been authorized pursuant to the Act and Regulations and must not have been self-employed, unless working as a medical doctor in a fee-for-service arrangement with a health authority;
  4. Have attained a level of proficiency of at least benchmark 4 in either official language for each of the four language skill areas, as set out in the Canadian Language Benchmarks or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens. This must be demonstrated by the results of an evaluation by an organization or institution designated by the Minister for the purpose of evaluating language proficiency under subsection 74(3) of the Regulations; and the evaluation must be less than two (2) years old when the permanent residence application is received;
  5. Reside in Canada with valid temporary resident status (or be eligible to restore their status) and be physically present in Canada at the time the application for permanent residence is received and when the application is approved;
  6. Intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec;
  7. Have submitted an application for permanent residence using the forms provided by the Department for this public policy and which must include at the time of application all proof necessary to satisfy an officer that the applicant meets the conditions (eligibility requirements) of this public policy, except for evidence required to demonstrate physical presence in Canada at the time of application approval;
  8. Have submitted their application for permanent residence under this public policy using electronic means (apply online). Foreign nationals who, because of a disability are unable to meet the requirement to make an application, submit any document or provide a signature or information using electronic means may submit this application by any other means that is made available or specified by the Minister for that purpose; and
  9. The foreign national is not inadmissible under the Act and Regulations.

While all supporting documentation necessary to assess whether a foreign national meets the conditions of this public policy must be included at the time of application, officers retain discretion to request additional supporting documentation to confirm admissibility and eligibility throughout the processing of the application.

Conditions (eligibility requirements) applicable to family members in Canada:

In-Canada family members of a principal applicant who applies for permanent residence under this public policy are eligible to be granted permanent residence pursuant to this public policy if they meet the following conditions:

  1. the foreign national is in Canada;
  2. the foreign national has been included as an accompanying family member in an application for permanent residence by a principal applicant under this public policy;
  3. the foreign national meets the definition of a “family member” in subsection 1(3) of the Regulations;
  4. the foreign national is not inadmissible pursuant to the Act and Regulations; and
  5. a delegated officer has determined that the principal applicant meets all conditions (eligibility requirements) to receive permanent residence pursuant to this public policy.
Fees

Any applicable fees, including fees for processing an application for permanent residence or for a permanent resident visa and the Right of Permanent Residence Fee, must be paid at the time of application.

Start and end dates

This public policy comes into effect on May 6, 2021 and will end on November 5, 2021 or once the intake cap of the applicable stream (20,000 applications received under stream A and 30,000 applications received under stream B) has been reached, whichever comes first. As with all public policies, this public policy may be revoked by the Minister, without prior notice.

Applications received pursuant to this public policy on or after May 6, 2021 up until November 5, 2021, or the date of revocation, if applicable, will be processed under this temporary public policy, subject to the applicable intake cap. Any applications received after the intake cap for the respective stream has been reached, will not be processed.

Annex A – Eligible Health-Related Occupations

Eligible health care occupations include all broad occupational category 3 occupations (Health occupations) from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) with the exception of Veterinarians (NOC 3114) and Animal health technologists and veterinary technicians (NOC 3213). Five occupations from broad occupational category 4 (Occupations in education, law and social, community and government services) are also eligible occupations.

Eligible Occupations:

NOC Occupation
3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
3111 Specialist physicians
3112 General practitioners and family physicians
3113 Dentists
3121 Optometrists
3122 Chiropractors
3124 Allied primary health practitioners
3125 Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
3131 Pharmacists
3132 Dietitians and nutritionists
3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
3142 Physiotherapists
3143 Occupational therapists
3144 Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment
3211 Medical laboratory technologists
3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
3215 Medical radiation technologists
3216 Medical sonographers
3217 Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c.
3219 Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)
3221 Denturists
3222 Dental hygienists and dental therapists
3223 Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants
3231 Opticians
3232 Practitioners of natural healing
3233 Licensed practical nurses
3234 Paramedical occupations
3236 Massage therapists
3237 Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
3411 Dental assistants
3413 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
3414 Other assisting occupations in support of health services
4151 Psychologists
4152 Social workers
4153 Family, marriage and other related counsellors
4165 Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers
4212 Social and community service workers
4412 Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations

ANNEX B – Other Eligible Essential Occupations

1. Major Unit Groups

Major Unit Group NOC Code Occupation
66 – Sales support occupations 6611 Cashiers
6621 Service station attendants
6622 Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers
6623 Other sales related occupations
72- Industrial, electrical and construction trades 7201 Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations
7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
7232 Tool and die makers
7233 Sheet metal workers
7234 Boilermakers
7235 Structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters
7236 Ironworkers
7237 Welders and related machine operators
7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
7242 Industrial electricians
7243 Power system electricians
7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians
7251 Plumbers
7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
7253 Gas fitters
7271 Carpenters
7272 Cabinetmakers
7281 Bricklayers
7282 Concrete finishers
7283 Tilesetters
7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
7291 Roofers and shinglers
7292 Glaziers
7293 Insulators
7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
7295 Floor covering installers
74 – Other installers, repairers and servicers and material handlers 7441 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
7442 Waterworks and gas maintenance workers
7444 Pest controllers and fumigators
7445 Other repairers and servicers
7451 Longshore workers
7452 Material handlers
75 – Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations 7511 Transport truck drivers
7512 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
7513 Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs
7514 Delivery and courier service drivers
7521 Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
7522 Public works maintenance equipment operators and related workers
7531 Railway yard and track maintenance workers
7532 Water transport deck and engine room crew
7533 Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations
7534 Air transport ramp attendants
7535 Other automotive mechanical installers and servicers
76 – Trades helpers, construction labourers and related occupations 7611 Construction trades helpers and labourers
7612 Other trades helpers and labourers
7621 Public works and maintenance labourers
7622 Railway and motor transport labourers
86 – Harvesting, landscaping and natural resources labourers 8611 Harvesting labourers
8612 Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers
8613 Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers
8614 Mine labourers
8615 Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
8616 Logging and forestry labourers

2. Minor Unit Groups

Minor Unit Group NOC Code Occupation
151 – Mail and message distribution occupations 1511 Mail, postal and related workers
1512 Letter carriers
1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors
642 – Retail salesperson 6421 Retail salespersons
673 – Cleaners 6731 Light duty cleaners
6732 Specialized cleaners
6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
843 – Agriculture and horticulture workers 8431 General farm workers
8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers
844 – Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations 8441 Fishing vessel deckhands
8442 Trappers and hunters
946 – Machine operators and related workers in food, beverage and associated products processing 9461 Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing
9462 Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
9463 Fish and seafood plant workers
9465 Testers and graders, food and beverage processing

3. Specific 4 digit unit groups

NOC Code Occupation
0821 Managers in agriculture
0822 Managers in horticulture
4031 French and French Immersion Secondary school teachers (language of instruction must be French)
4032 French and French Immersion Elementary school and kindergarten teachers (language of instruction must be French)
4411 Home child care providers
4413 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
6331 Retail butchers
6523 Airline ticket and service agents
6524 Ground and water transport ticket agents, cargo service representatives and related clerks
6541 Security guards and related security service occupations
6551 Customer services representatives – financial institutions
6552 Other customer and information services representatives
8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
9617 Labourers in food and beverage processing
9618 Labourers in fish and seafood processing

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