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Canada relaxes PR rules for healthcare frontline asylum claimants

In recognition of their exceptional service, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced a temporary measure that will provide a pathway to permanent residency for healthcare frontline asylum claimants (asylum claimants working in the health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Frontline workers play a critical role in keeping Canadians healthy and healthcare frontline asylum claimants have made extraordinary sacrifices during the ongoing pandemic.


“The government recognizes the extraordinary contribution of asylum claimants working in Canada’s health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in long-term care centres. As these individuals face an uncertain future in Canada, the current circumstances merit exceptional measures in recognition of their service during the pandemic.”

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

Under the temporary measure, healthcare frontline asylum claimants, that is asylum claimants across the country who are working on the frontlines providing direct care to patients in health-care institutions will be able to apply for permanent residency if they meet the criteria. Quebec will select those qualifying for this special measure who wish to reside in Quebec. This approach recognizes those with precarious immigration status who are filling an urgent need and putting their own lives at risk to care for others in Canada.


To qualify, individuals must meet all of the following criteria:

  • have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • were issued a work permit after they made a claim for asylum
  • have worked in the health-care sector, in health institutions (for example, hospitals, long-term care homes, home care through an organization or agency, assisted living facilities)
  • have worked in a designated occupation for no less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020 and August 14, 2020. The designated occupations that are included in this special measure are orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides and patient service associates, assistant orderlies and certain home support workers.
  • demonstrate 6 months of experience in the designated occupation before being granted permanent residence. Applicants will have until August 31, 2021 to acquire this experience.
  • have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), if wishing to reside in Quebec (See note below)
  • meet existing admissibility requirements, including those related to criminality, security and health  

IRCC stated that, as with all applicants for humanitarian and compassionate consideration, and in line with the government’s commitment to family reunification, in-Canada family members of the principal applicant would be included in the application and granted permanent residency, if the application is approved. Those who have been found ineligible to make an asylum claim, or who have withdrawn or abandoned their claims, would be excluded from applying.

See Pathway to permanent residency recognizes exceptional service of asylum claimants on front lines of COVID-19 pandemic.

See also Seeking asylum in Canada – What you need to know.

Note on Quebec settlers:

Immigration to Quebec is a two-step process in which an individual interested in settling in Quebec must first apply for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (also known as a Quebec Selection Certificate or “CSQ”) from MIDI, a document that allows the holder to immigrate to Quebec. Once the applicant obtains a CSQ, he or she must then submit an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for federal approval before the Canadian Immigration (Permanent Resident) Visa can be issued.