Canada adds 6 new immigration programs for essential workers, international students and French speakers - Canada Visa & Immigration
Canada new immigration programs

Canada adds 6 new immigration programs for essential workers, international students and French speakers

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Canada announced on April 14 that in May 2021, Canada is launching six new immigration programs for international graduates, essential workers and French speakers. The new immigration programs are designed to facilitate the conversion to permanent residents of approximately 90,000 essential workers and international student graduates on temporary status in Canada by year end. There will also be three programs that will accept an unlimited number of eligible French speakers. See Canada to give PR to 90,000 essential workers and international graduates in 2021.

The new immigration programs will launch on May 6 and will accept applications until November 5, 2021, or until the program quota is reached. The new immigration programs are “temporary public policies,” meaning that they may not become permanent programs, although their extension is possible. 

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says that the new immigration programs are intentionally targeted to temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes, and those on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international student graduates from Canadian designated learning institutions.

“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers. These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting—and we want you to stay.”

– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

Essential workers, who have been critical to Canada’s ongoing management of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be eligible to apply through two different streams: one for temporary workers in 40 health care occupations — which has a quota of 20,000, and one for temporary workers in 95 other essential services occupations such as construction, agriculture, and sales — which has a quota of 30,000. 

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IRCC says the new immigration programs will help the government meet its goal to accept 401,000 new permanent residents this year while COVID-19 travel restrictions continue to limit the numbers of newcomers landing in the country. Canada is committed to a new plan to increase immigration to more than 400,000 newcomers in 2021, and up to 1.2 million by 2023. Canada believes that immigration will spur economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis.

On May 6, IRCC will begin to accept applications under the following three streams:

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

These three streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their intake cap.

To promote Canada’s official languages, three 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 these three new pathways will contribute to the vitality of these Francophone minority communities.

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  • Unlimited quota for French-speaking international student graduates
  • Unlimited quota for French-speaking essential workers in healthcare
  • Unlimited quota for French-speaking essential workers in other occupations.

Eligibility requirements

International student graduates

Under this new program, in 2021 Canada will admit up to 40,000 recent international student graduates as permanent residents.

To be eligible, you must have graduated from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017. Candidates 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.

Essential workers in healthcare

Through this new program, this year Canada will admit up to 20,000 healthcare workers as new permanent residents. There are 40 eligible occupations including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dietitians and physiotherapists, and social work-related occupations such as social workers, social and community service workers, and home support workers.

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Veterinarians and veterinarian technicians are not eligible for this pathway. Self-employed workers are not eligible unless you are a medical doctor in a fee-for-service with a health authority.

Unlike the Express Entry economic-class immigration programs that require years of skilled work experience, the new programs require only one year of Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation.

You need to have at least one year of eligible full-time work experience within the three years leading up to your application date. 

Candidates must demonstrate English or French language proficiency equal to or higher than Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 4 (CLB 4). This is a lower threshold than most other economic Canadian immigration programs. French-language speakers will be eligible to apply through their own distinct pathways — identical in every way, but exempt from the quotas.

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Finally, to be eligible you must intend to reside in a Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.

Essential workers in other occupations

Under this new program, Canada plans to welcome 30,000 new permanent residents with work experience in 95 essential occupations across all National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels. The 95 eligible occupations include labourers, retail salespersons, cashiers, contractors, plumbers, general farm workers, and construction workers.

Candidates must demonstrate English or French language proficiency equal to or higher than Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 4 (CLB 4).

Candidates must have at least one year of eligible full-time work experience “in any occupation” within the three years preceding their application. Self-employed work is not eligible.

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Candidates must intend to reside in a Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.

French-speaking international student graduates

The eligibility requirements for this program are identical to the general International Student Graduates discussed above, except that there is no cap to how many new permanent residents Canada will admit under this program.

French-speaking essential workers in healthcare

The eligibility requirements for this program are identical to the general Essential Workers in Healthcare discussed above, except that there is no cap to how many new permanent residents Canada will admit under this program.

The program is aimed at admitting an unlimited number of French-speaking healthcare workers into other provinces and territories outside Quebec. It is not for French speakers who want to immigrate to Quebec.

French-speaking essential workers in other occupations

The eligibility requirements for this program are identical to the general Essential Workers in Other Occupations discussed above, except that there is no cap to how many new permanent residents Canada will admit under this program.

The program is aimed at admitting an unlimited number of French-speaking non-healthcare essential workers into other provinces and territories outside Quebec. It is not for French speakers who want to immigrate to Quebec.

For all programs eligibility details read:

List of eligible healthcare occupations

Below is a list of eligible healthcare occupations and their National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • 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

List of eligible essential occupations

Major unit groups

Sales and support occupations

  • 6611 Cashiers
  • 6621 Service station attendants
  • 6622 Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers
  • 6623 Other sales related occupations

Industrial, electrical and construction trades

  • 7201 Contractors and supervisor, 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

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

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 truck 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

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

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

Minor unit groups

Mail and message distribution occupations

  • 1511 Mail, postal and related workers
  • 1512 Letter carriers
  • 1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

Retail salesperson

  • 6421 Retail salespersons

Cleaners

  • 6731 Light duty cleaners
  • 6732 Specialized cleaners
  • 6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents

Agriculture and horticulture workers

  • 8431 General farm workers
  • 8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers

Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations

  • 8441 Fishing vessel deckhands
  • 8442 Trappers and hunters

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

Specific 4-digit unit groups

  • 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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You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.