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Canadian permanent residency programs

Canada to give PR to 90,000 essential workers and international graduates in 2021

Canada announced today that it is creating new pathways to permanent residency for 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada. The announcement states that in May 2021, Canada is launching six new immigration programs for international graduates, essential workers and French speakers.

The Government says that the new programs will grant permanent status to temporary workers and graduates who possess the skills and experience the country needs to fight the pandemic and achieve an economic recovery.

See New pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates.

The new programs will be for 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.

Please also see ★ Canada releases application & document guide for 6 new immigration streams

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says the new policy 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.

Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, announced that the new programs will pave the way for 90,000 new immigrants to get permanent status this year through three of the streams.

On May 6, IRCC will begin to accept applications under the following three 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 designated learning institution

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 this pathway will contribute to the vitality of these Francophone minority communities.

Eligibility requirements

Health care and other eligible essential workers must have at least one year of Canadian work experience to apply, while international graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017.

To qualify, a candidate 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.

For full eligibility details read:


“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

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.

See also ★ Language test guidance for Canada’s new 2021 temporary permanent resident programs