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International Graduate and Essential Worker Permanent Residence Streams

April 17, 2021

In this article we are going to discuss some of the specifics of the new temporary pathways to permanent residence for international graduates and essential foreign workers. The application window will open on May 6, 2021 and close on November 5, 2021 (or as soon as the caps described below are reached).

As discussed in our last blog, to be eligible under either temporary program, the Applicant must:  

a)    hold temporary resident status (or be eligible to restore it)
b)    be present in Canada
c)    be authorized to work in Canada
d)    be currently working in Canada
e)    have proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages
f)    meet general eligibility requirements of the stream they want to apply

At this time there is no additional information with respect to how IRCC will assess the genuineness of the employment. There are also questions regarding whether those working part-time qualify, and whether one may apply for permanent residence under both the essential worker and international graduate streams.

We will provide answers to these and other questions as soon as IRCC provides additional information regarding the new permanent residence pathways. In the meantime, the key requirements under each stream are provided below. 

International Graduates

It is important to note that while traditionally Federal immigration pathways were reserved for high-skilled occupations (NOC skill-type 0, A or B) there are no skill-type or NOC based restrictions with respect to employment under the international graduate pathway. In other words, one may work in any position to qualify under this program. To qualify under the international graduate pathway, the foreign national must:

  • Have completed, prior to the date on which the application for permanent residence is received and no earlier than January 2017, a program of study at a DLI, while being authorized to study in Canada;
  • Have been granted one of the following credentials:  
  • A degree which is issued on completion of a program of at least 8 months in duration;
  • A degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation issued on completion of a program of any duration leading to an occupation in a skilled trade (listed in Annex A);
  • one or more diploma/certificate/attestation where the following conditions are met:
    • The program of study must be 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 vocational studies, each program of study must be at least 900 hours in duration and the combined program must be at least 1800 hours in duration.
  • Be employed in Canada in any occupation with a valid permit. The applicant must not be self-employed, unless working as a medical doctor in a fee-for-service arrangement with a health authority;
  • Have attained a language proficiency of CLB 5 in either English or French as confirmed by the results of a valid language test;
  • Be physically present in Canada with valid temporary status or be eligible to restore status at the time the application is submitted and approval;
  • Intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec.

The international graduate pathway to permanent residence has an overall cap of 40,000 applications. However, the total cap will not apply to candidates who have scored at least CLB 4.0 on an approved French language test (TEF). This point is important as a CLB 4.0 score can be achieved by those with an intermediate knowledge of French. 

Having said this, given that most applicants under this stream will not meet the French CLB 4.0 requirement, it is extremely important to submit your application as soon as possible as the overall cap will likely be met prior to the program closing quickly.   

Foreign Workers In Essential Occupations

Essential occupations are divided into those listed in Annex A (healthcare) and Annex B (other occupations) to the public policy. Annex B contains both high and low skilled occupations such as cashiers, gas station attendants, janitors. In other words, occupations that were typically ignored or excluded by IRCC are now deemed essential. In addition the current employment can be in occupation.

To qualify under the essential worker pathway, the foreign national must:

  • Have accumulated at least one (1) year of full-time or part time equivalent (1,560 hours) of authorized work experience in Canada within the three (3) years immediately preceding the submission of the application, in an “essential” occupation as set out in Annex A or Annex B . It is important to note that there are different employment experience criteria for healthcare and non-healthcare essential workers:
    • Healthcare (Stream “A”): the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed in Annex A. Experience cannot be combined with Annex B occupations.
    • Non-Healthcare (Stream “B”): the one year of work experience must have been acquired in one or more occupations listed in Annex B, or a combination of occupations in Annexes A and B.
  • Be employed in Canada in any occupation at the time that the application for permanent residence is received. As with the international graduate stream, employment described in both a) and b) cannot be self-employed, unless working as a medical doctor in a fee-for-service arrangement with a health authority;
  • Have attained a language proficiency of CLB 4 in either English or French as evidenced by the results of a valid language test;
  • Be physically present in Canada with valid temporary status (or be eligible to restore) at the time of application’s submission and approval;
  • Intend to reside in a province or territory other than Quebec.

Application Caps

The application caps are as follows:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary foreign workers in healthcare
  • 30,000 applications for temporary foreign workers in other selected essential occupations

As with the international graduate stream there is no intake cap for those candidates who have scored at least CLB 4.0 on an approved French language test.

While we are expecting to get additional details about the program in the next few weeks, the eligibility criteria are clear. As noted before, we expect the caps to be reached fairly quickly. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the new pathways or any other Canadian immigration questions.