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Canada’s New Immigration Program for Essential Workers and Graduates

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The month of May was for most immigrants in Canada a month of joy as Minister Marco Mendicino announced on May 14 a new immigration program for essential workers and graduate in Canada.

The reactions gathered from foreign residents following this announcement showed that the announcement came right on time because there are already many foreign residents whose work permits have expired or are about to expire.

This is not only a piece of good news for those foreigners who are already Canadian residents, but also for those who intend to move to Canada for work or as student workers. This post will give you all the information you need to take advantage of this opportunity.       

Canada is introducing a new open work permit program for individuals who have applied through the recently opened pathway to permanent residence for essential workers and international graduates.

This new open work permit program will enable applicants whose work permits are expiring within four months to apply for a new permit. This will allow them to continue working while their permanent residence is being processed.

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The new program will begin accepting applications on July 26, 2021. In order to qualify for this one-time open work permit, applicants must show that they:

  • have successfully submitted an application under one of the new permanent residence pathway’s streams
  • held a valid work permit, or were authorized to work without a work permit, at the time their permanent residence application was submitted
  • hold a valid work permit that is set to expire within the next 4 months
  • have temporary resident status, maintained status or are eligible to restore their status at the time their open work permit application is submitted
  • are in Canada at the time their open work permit application is submitted
  • meet the language requirements of the stream under which they applied at the time their permanent residence application was submitted

Canada’s new permanent residence pathways for essential workers and graduates overview

More than 90,000 temporary residents in Canada have the opportunity to become permanent residents this year through six new immigration pathways that were officially launched on May 6.

These new Canadian immigration pathways will target essential workers, international students, and French speakers.

The new programs were announced on April 14 by Marco Mendicino, Canada’s immigration minister, and the application will be accepted until November 5, 2021, or until the program quota is reached. 

The whole essence of this is to further Canada’s initiative to help more temporary residents in Canada to remain in the country permanently.

Can I apply with my spouse or family?

Applicants are eligible to apply with their spouse or partner and dependent children, giving families the opportunity to obtain Canadian permanent residence together.

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Eligibility for Canada’s immigration streams for essential workers

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 — which has a quota of 30,000. 

French-speakers have their own additional streams — the criteria are identical, except for the French-language requirement, and French-speakers are exempt from the quotas.

Do I Need Work Experience to be eligible for this Program?

To apply through the essential workers’ immigration streams, candidates must have at least one year of full-time work experience, or an equivalent amount in part-time experience (1,560 hours), gained within Canada in the three years prior to submitting an application.

For the healthcare workers stream, the Canadian work experience must be in one or more of the eligible healthcare occupations.

For the non-healthcare worker’s streams, the Canadian work experience must be in one or more of the eligible non-healthcare occupations (experience in the healthcare occupations can also be combined to apply through this stream).

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Do I Need Language Proficiency to be Eligible?

Candidates must submit results from an approved language test in either English or French showing results consistent with the Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 4 (CLB 4). Remember, French speakers, are exempt from the program quotas.

Other Eligibility Criteria for Essential Workers

In addition to the eligibility criteria listed above, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • be in Canada on valid status (or eligible to restore status)
  • be physically present in Canada at the time the application is submitted and at the time the application is approved
  • have the intention to reside outside the province of Quebec
  • be criminally and medically admissible to Canada

Eligibility for Canada’s immigration streams for international graduates

These streams are for international graduates from Canadian post-secondary schools. The stream for English speakers reached its quota of 40,000 applications and is now closed. French speakers are exempt from the quota and can apply at any time while the applications are open between May 6 and November 5, 2021.

What are my Qualifying Educational Credentials for Essential Graduate Stream?

To apply through the international graduate stream, candidates must have completed a program of study at an eligible institution in Canada noearlierthanJanuary2017. 

Only the following types of educational credentials are eligible

  • a degree issued upon completion of a program at least 8 months in duration.
  • a degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation issued upon completion of a program of any duration, so long as it has lead to an occupation in a skilled trade.

Do I Need a Language Proficiency to be Eligible under Graduate Stream?

Candidates must submit results from an approved language test in either English or French showing results consistent with the Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 5 (CLB 5). 

All applicants need to submit language test results — even if their qualifying educational credential is for an English program.

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Other Criteria for Graduate Stream

In addition to the eligibility criteria listed above, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • be in Canada on valid status (or eligible to restore status)
  • be physically present in Canada at the time the application is submitted and at the time the application is approved
  • have the intention to reside outside the province of Quebec
  • be criminally and medically admissible to Canada

Application Procedures and Required Documents for Essential Workers and Graduates program

The application guide for Canada’s new immigration programs for essential workers and graduates is now available on the Government of Canada website. This guide includes detailed instructions regarding required documentation and application procedure.

The application process will be broken down into four steps here.

Step 1 – Gather Supporting Documents

When applicants sign up for IRCC’s online application portal, a document checklist will be generated based on the applicant’s profile, and then sent to them. All applicants will require the following documents:

  • Proof of entry and status in Canada
  • Proof of current employment in Canada (work permit — if applicable, employer reference letter, pay stubs)
  • Proof of language proficiency (approved language test results less than two years old).
  • Passports (biodata page)
  • Immigration Medical Exams (IME)
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Photographs

Support Documents for Essential Workers

For the essential workers’ stream, all applicants must submit proof of qualifying Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation:

  • A copy of the work permit (if applicable)
  • Employer reference letters for the periods of qualifying work(which includes location of work, period of employment, description of main duties and responsibilities which matches an eligible National Occupational Classification code, salary and benefits, hours worked per week, employer’s name, signature, address, telephone number, and email).
  • Applicants must also include copies of T4 tax slips and Notice of Assessment (if applicable); or work contracts; or pay stubs.

Support Documents for Graduate Stream

All applicants under the graduate stream must submit proof of their qualifying Canadian educational credential, which includes:

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  • A final transcript, and
  • A letter from the institution and/or the formal notice of graduation.

Applicants must provide proof that shows:

  • The type of credential granted (degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation)
  • The length (in weeks, months, or years) of the program of study,
  • the date of completion;
  • the name of the school that granted the degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation.

Additional documents may be required depending on the profile of the applicant. These may include identity and civil status documents, documents relating to family members and familial relationships, etc.

Any documents submitted in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Step 2 – Completing the Application

Once candidates have registered for the application portal, they will be required to submit personal information, upload supporting documents, and complete and upload a variety of required forms. Forms can be completed by downloading them onto a computer and completing the required fields.

Step 3 – Pay the Fee

Once an application is complete (and you’ve double- and triple-checked everything!), you must pay the required fees.

  • Your permanent residence fees (principal applicant): CAD$1,050 (includes a $550 processing fee and a $500 right of permanent residence fee)
  • Spouse or partner’s permanent residence fees (if applicable): CAD$1,050 (includes a $550 processing fee and a $500 right of permanent residence fee
  • Dependent children’s fees, per child (if applicable): CAD$150
  • Biometrics fees: CAD$85 for a single applicant, or CAD$170 for a family

All fees must be paid at the time of submission — if your application is refused you will receive a refund, but only of the $500 right of permanent residence fees paid by adult applicants.

All fees must be paid at the time of submission — if your application is refused you will receive a refund.

Step 4 –Submitting Application

When ready, applicants can submit the application. Currently, it is not known how long application processing will take for these programs.

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Why is Canada’s Immigration Program for Essential Workers and Graduates very Important?

Minister Mendicino, admitted that the pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers, recognizing the incredible contribution of temporary residents in Canada, especially through the challenges of the past year.