Written by: Charlene Aviles, Peak Associate 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced on April 14, 2021 that temporary workers in health care and essential services and international graduates may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. 

From May 6 to November 5, 2021, applicants can apply online to their respective categories. Each category accepts a maximum number of applications. For Francophone or bilingual applicants, there are three additional categories without limitations on maximum applications. Prospective applicants can calculate their application fees online

To be eligible for permanent residency, temporary workers must have:

  • A minimum of one year of Canadian health care or essential services work experience within three years before the application date
  • Legal employment in Canada during application
  • Fluency in French and/or English

International graduate applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Completion of a Canadian post-secondary program by January 2017 or later at a designated learning institution while having a valid study permit
  • Fluency in French and/or English
  • A valid work permit
  • Temporary resident status (or eligibility to renew this status)

Applicants’ family members who live in Canada during the application date may also be eligible for permanent residence status.

Canadian industries, especially healthcare, have been impacted by labour shortages, according to the IRCC. By recruiting temporary workers and international graduates, they aim to address these labour shortages. Further, the program seeks to promote Canada’s economic recovery and growth and support the 2021 Immigration Levels Plan’s goal to admit 401,000 new permanent residents. 

“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,” said Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees, and citizenship in a press release.

These immigration policies also target the decreasing employee-to-retiree ratio, which pose a challenge to funding public services.

“In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior. Today, there are three — and by 2035 there will be only two. Without newcomers, future generations will end up paying more to sustain the public services we rely on,” said IRCC.

Before these new policies, most permanent residence applicants applied through the Express Entry system, which ranked eligible applicants based on their Comprehensive Ranking System score. 

The Express Entry programs recruited applicants who lived abroad and primarily admitted those working in information technology, business, and finance. The new policies pertain to applicants residing in Canada and international students or temporary workers in health care and essential services. 

The Peak reached out to IRCC for more information but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.