On April 14, 2021, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s intention to create several new immigration pathways for permanent residence for essential workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada working.


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What are the available pathways for permanent residency under these new Immigration programs?

These new immigration pathways were introduced via special public policies and aim to grant permanent status to temporary workers and international graduates who are in Canada and who possess the sought-after skills and experience needed to accelerate Canada’s economic recovery following the COVID 19 pandemic.

Within these announcements, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada published 4 special public policies, introducing these new pathways to Canadian permanent residence. These are:

Who qualifies under the new immigration programs targeting International Students?

To qualify under the new immigration programs targeting international students, applicants must demonstrate that they have the following:

  1. Graduated from a program of study from a Designated Learning Institution in Canada after January 2017 that was at least 8 months in duration,
  2. Obtained one of the following credentials from the Designated Learning Institution:
    • a degree (Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate);
    • a degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation issued on completion of a program of any duration leading to an occupation in a skilled trade; or
    • one or more diploma/certificate/attestation where the following conditions are met:
      • For diplomas/certificates/attestations, each program of study must be at least 8 months in duration and the combined length of the credential(s) must be equivalent to a two-year credential (at least 16 months in duration).
      • For the DVS and AVS, each program of study must be at least 900 hours in duration and the combined program of study must be at least 1,800 hours in duration.
        • When combining one AVS with one DVS, the length of the AVS may be less than 900 hours if the combined length is at least 1,800 hours.
  3. Held a valid study permit throughout their education in Canada;
  4. Be currently employed in Canada with a valid work authorization to work
  5. Have attained a level of proficiency of at least CLB level 5 in English or French in the last 2 years if applying under the foreign national’s program and at least CLB level 5 in French if applying under the French-speaking program;
  6. 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;
  7. Intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec.

In addition to the above criteria, all applicants (and dependent family members) must pass medical and criminal background checks and must not be inadmissible to Canada.

Who qualifies under the new immigration programs targeting essential occupations?

To qualify under the new immigration programs targeting essential occupations, applicants must demonstrate that they have the following:

  1. At least one year of full-time or full-time equivalent work experience in an eligible essential worker or health- care worker within the last 3 years immediately prior to the submission of the application. The one year of work experience must be obtained in one or more of the eligible occupations as follows:
    • Health-Care Workers: the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed below.
    • Essential Worker: the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed below, or in a combination of occupations in classified as Health-Care Workers or Essential Worker.
  2. Are currently employed in Canada in any occupation at the time that the application for permanent residence is received;
  3. Meet the definition of a worker and held valid work authorization for the period of qualifying Canadian work experience;
  4. Have attained a level of proficiency of at least CLB level 5 in English or French in the last 2 years if applying under the foreign national’s program and at least CLB level 5 in French if applying under the French-speaking program;
  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.

In addition to the above criteria, all applicants (and dependent family members) must pass medical and criminal background checks and must not be inadmissible to Canada.

What occupations qualify for as an Essential Worker?

To qualify under one of the public policies targeting Essential Workers, applicants must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in the last 3 years in one of the targeted occupations. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have identified around 100 occupations that are considered essential. A full list of these occupations can be found here.

What occupations qualify as a Health-Care Worker?

To qualify under one of the public policies targeting Health-Care Workers, applicants must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in the last 3 years in one of the following occupations:
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

How do I apply to one of the new permanent resident immigration programs?

All applications must be submitted electronically with reference to the appropriate public policy the applicant qualifies under. We can expect more information on the application process when the programs are released on May 6, 2021.

What documents do I need to apply for the new permanent resident immigration programs?

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada are yet to issue a documents checklist outlining all the required documentation, but applicants can expect to submit the following documents as part of their application:

  • Completed application forms;
  • Civil status documents;
  • Copy of education credential and transcripts of Canadian education (if applicable);
  • Work reference letters from Canadian employer;
  • Passport copy;
  • Copies of all Canadian immigration permits;
  • Police clearances;
  • Medical examination results;
  • Digital photo.

All supporting documentation requested is necessary to assess whether a foreign national meets the conditions of the public policies must be included at the time of application.

Do I have to demonstrate settlement funds when I apply under a new permanent resident immigration programs?

Unlike other immigration programs to Canada, the applicant is not required to demonstrate settlement funds when applying under one of these new immigration programs.

How much does the new permanent resident immigration programs cost?

Applicants will need to pay the government processing fee of $825CAD plus the right of permanent residence fee of $500CAD when they submit their application under one of these permanent residency programs.

If an accompanying spouse or common-law partner is also included in the application, the applicant will also need to pay the government processing fee of $825CAD plus the right of permanent residence fee of $500CAD for their spouse, and if a dependent child is included in the application, the applicant will need to pay the government processing fee of $225CAD at the time of submission.

Do I need a job offer to apply for the new permanent resident immigration programs?

Applicants do not need a job offer from a Canadian company to apply under one of these new programs. Eligibility under these programs focuses on the applicant’s previous education or work experience in Canada, not future employment offers.

The public policies targeting Essential and Health-Care Workers require the applicant to have at least one year of Canadian work experience in the last 3 years.

The public policies targeting International Graduates require the applicant to be currently working in Canada. Under these policies, there are no requirements on the type of Canadian work experience.

How long will it take to process applications made under the new permanent resident immigration programs?

The public policies give no indication as to how long Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will take to process these applications. The objective behind these public policies is to allow foreign nationals and International Graduates the ability to become permanent residents of Canada to contribute to the countries economic recovery. With this in mind, it is likely that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will prioritize and expedite the processing of these applications.

Can my spouse and dependent children also be included in my application for permanent residence under these new immigration programs?

Under all 4 public policies, eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can be included in an application for permanent residence as accompanying dependents. This means that they will also be granted permanent residency status under these new programs.

Is there a limit to how many applications will be processed under these new permanent resident immigration programs?

The special public policies for Essential Workers and International Graduates both have a limit on the number of applications that will be accepted per stream. These limits are:

  • 40,000 applications from International Students;
  • 30,000 applications from Essential Workers;
  • 20,000 applications from Health- Care Worker.

No intake limit has been set for the special public policies available for French-speaking Essential Workers and International Graduates. This means that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will process all eligible applications submitted under these 2 public policies.

Once I get me permanent residence status under one of these new immigration programs, can I live anywhere in Canada?

All 4 of these immigration programs are aimed at immigrants who wish to settle in Canada but not in the province of Quebec.

If I live and work in Quebec, can I apply to one of these immigration programs if I am eligible?

Anyone who satisfies the program criteria may apply under these new immigration programs. This includes residents of Quebec. If the applicant is residing in Quebec at the time of the application, as part of the application process, they should demonstrate their intent to reside outside of Quebec.

How long will these immigration programs be available?

All 4 special public policies governing these new Immigration programs will come into effect May 6, 2021, and will close on November 5, 2021, or once the intake cap of the applicable stream has been reached, whichever occurs first. Any application submitted after November 5, 2021, will not be processed.

If you’re interested in beginning your Canadian immigration journey through one of these new immigration programs, contact us today to register for a free consultation!


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