FAQs about Canada's new 2021 PR programs for essential workers, international student graduates - Canada Visa & Immigration
Canada's new 2021 PR programs

FAQs about Canada’s new 2021 PR programs for essential workers, international student graduates

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On April 14, 2021, Canada launched six new temporary programs – Canada’s new 2021 PR programs – for 90,000 temporary workers and international graduates to become permanent residents in 2021. The move is part of the initiatives to reach the federal government target of 401,000 newcomers this year, despite pandemic-related travel restrictions. See Canada to give PR to 90,000 essential workers and international graduates in 2021.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will keep accepting applications for Canada’s new 2021 PR programs starting May 6 until Nov. 5, or until the maximum number of applications is reached.

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  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in healthcare;
  • 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations, and;
  • 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution.

IRCC will also accept an unlimited number of applications from candidates who speak French.

You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.

IRCC will be releasing guidelines on what information candidates will need to submit with their applications.

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Here are some answers to frequently asked questions on Canada’s new 2021 PR programs for essential workers, international student graduates. We will be updating this page as more information becomes available from IRCC.

What are the basic eligibility requirements for essential workers?

Applicants must demonstrate 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 level4 in English or French in the last 2 years if applying under the foreign national’s program and at least CLB level 4 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 are the basic eligibility requirements for international students?

Applicants must demonstrate the following:

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  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.

How do I apply to one of Canada’s new 2021 PR programs?

All applications must be submitted electronically (online). IRCC will start taking applications on May 6.

IRCC will create a “How to Apply Tool” on its website which will help candidates to decide which program to apply for and how/where to create an account. 

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But the first step is to check your eligibility (See FAQs above for a summary). There are different requirements for each of the programs for essential workers and international graduates, as well as French-speaking essential workers and international graduates.

What documents do I need to apply for Canada’s new 2021 PR programs?

IRCC will be publishing a documents checklist outlining all the required documentation, but IRCC has indicated that document requirements will be similar to the Canadian Experience Class application guide which requires the following:

  • Completed application forms
  • Civil status documents
  • Language test results
  • Copy of education credential and transcripts of Canadian education
  • Work reference letters from Canadian employer
  • Passport or travel document
  • Copies of all Canadian immigration permits
  • Police clearances
  • Medical examination results
  • Digital photo

The IRCC “How to Apply Tool” will include a document checklist to ensure completeness before you submit your application. You will be able to view what you uploaded after you have submitted your application.

It is important to submit everything at once because candidates may not get a chance to correct or supplement their documentations.

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Do I have to show proof of funds?

Unlike other immigration programs to Canada, applicants are not required to demonstrate settlement funds when applying under one of the new 2021 PR programs.

Are medical results required with my application?

IRCC is well aware of the impact of the pandemic on medical testing for immigration.

IRCC is currently trying to extend medicals as much as possible during COVID-19 for applicants that are already in Canada. These candidates will be divided into two categories: those who have never done medical and those who have done medical for other immigration purposes. It is likely that previous medical will suffice for these programs but it is not yet known how old the medical can be.

How much do Canada’s new 2021 PR 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 the new 2021 PR programs.

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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.

All fees must be paid up front.

Can I apply to more than one of the new programs?

Yes, but you will have to pay separate fees for each program.

How long is the processing time for Canada’s new 2021 PR programs?

IRCC has not finalized processing time yet but it is aiming to process applications submitted to the new 2021 PR programs within in six months of receiving a complete application. IRCC describes these programs as “accelerated pathways” to Canadian immigration to allow foreign essential workers and international graduates a quicker way to become permanent residents of Canada. It is to be expected that IRCC will do its best to prioritize and expedite the processing of these applications.

Is a job or job offer required to apply for Canada’s new 2021 PR programs?

The programs targeting Essential and Health-Care Workers require the applicant to have at least one year of Canadian work experience in the last 3 years. You just need work requirement of 1560 hours in an eligible occupation within the past three years.

The programs targeting international graduates require the applicant to be currently working in Canada. But there are no requirements on the type of Canadian work experience.

Can I include my spouse and dependent children in the application?

Eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, can be included in an application for permanent residence under the new 2021 PR programs, as accompanying dependents. This means that they will also be granted permanent residency status under these new programs. However separate fees must be paid for each accompany spouse and dependent.

Can I apply for the new 2021 PR programs if I want to settle in Quebec?

Only applicants who want to settle outside Quebec are eligible for these programs.

Candidates who currently live and work in Quebec may apply to one of these immigration programs if they demonstrate their intent to reside outside of Quebec.

How long will these immigration programs be available?

These new Immigration programs are a temporary measure. They 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. However, IRCC has been known to extend temporary immigration pilots if it is necessary to achieve its set goals.

What are the programs intake limits?

The non-French essential workers and international graduates have a limit on the number of applications that will be accepted in each program:

  • 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 French-speaking essential workers and international graduates. IRCC will process all eligible applications submitted under these programs.

What are the eligible essential healthcare occupations?

Here is the list of eligible healthcare occupations sorted by 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 Dieticians 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

What are the eligible non-healthcare essential occupations?

As listed by IRCC by National Occupational Classification (NOC) code:

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.