Window Of Opportunity For Up To 90,000 Permanent Residency Candidates

Time is of the essence for those eligible to apply for a temporary program granting permanent residence to certain health care and essential workers and international students already in Canada.

On May 6, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began accepting online applications for permanent residency, according to a new policy announced April 14. While the pandemic has slowed the pace of immigration, it has also underscored the importance of essential workers to the Canadian economy and populace.

To help boost the number of people coming into the country and meet the official goal of 401,000 new permanent residents this year, a new permanent residency program focuses on foreign nationals already here on temporary status with work experience in Canada in health care and other essential services. The program also targets foreign graduates of Canadian postsecondary educational programs.

(The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may designate other ways to apply than online for applicants with disabilities.)

Significantly, those granted permanent residency through this program will have options for their family members in Canada or abroad to obtain potential permanent resident status.

Qualifications And Parameters

The program caps the number of new permanent residents under it at 90,000 graduates and workers through three applicant streams:

  • Health care: 20,000 applications
  • Essential jobs: 30,000 applications
  • International students: 40,000 applications

IRCC will accept applications until Nov. 5, 2021, or until the department has filled all openings. To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Be a foreign national already in Canada with temporary resident status (or eligibility to restore that status)
  • Have at least a year of full-time work in Canada (or the equivalent part-time hours) within the past three years in at least one of certain listed jobs (see Annexes A and B) in health care or essential services, or have graduated from a Canadian postsecondary institution in the past four years
  • Be working in Canada at the time of application in any job
  • Be proficient in either French or English (as demonstrated in an official evaluation within the past two years)
  • Be willing to live anywhere in Canada except Quebec
  • Be admissible under immigration laws and regulations

Covered Work Experience

The department approved a wide range of jobs within the two categories. Health care occupations (Annex A) include not only doctors and nurses, but also specialists, therapists (occupational, respiratory, massage and others), lab techs, scan and ultrasound technologists, paramedics, mental health professionals, social workers, home health aides, nursing aides, dental professionals, chiropractors and others.

The essential occupations (Annex B) are even more diverse, ranging from managerial jobs to those requiring manual labor – but all rising to the top among the range of positions we have learned are essential during the public health crisis. Some examples:

  • Heavy transport and heavy equipment operators
  • Construction workers, installers, repairers, carpenters and servicers
  • Roofers and painters
  • Pest controllers
  • Harvesting, landscaping, agricultural and horticulture managers and labourers
  • Retail workers and cashiers
  • Gas station attendants
  • Food and beverage processors
  • French immersion teachers
  • Home childcare providers
  • Teaching assistants
  • Butchers
  • Transportation ticket agents
  • Mail, message delivery and cargo workers
  • Bus drivers, subway operators, boat and ferry operators, taxi and limousine drivers
  • Security guards
  • Financial institution and other customer services representatives
  • Livestock specialists
  • Fish and seafood processors
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Telecommunications and electric power line and cable workers
  • Cable television technicians
  • Auto mechanics
  • Mine, oil and gas drilling, and logging labourers
  • And several others


While this temporary pathway to permanent residence targets a relatively small number of specific types of people, those that may qualify should immediately investigate the program and apply if appropriate before the application caps are reached. An immigration lawyer can answer questions and assist with the application, which can be very effective. A lawyer can help gather sufficient evidence to prove (at application or in response to later requests) that the applicant meets all eligibility conditions.