Canada adds 6 new immigration programs for essential workers, international students and French speakers
April 16, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.