EMPLOYER ALERT: Temporary Workers in Canada Have Gained a New Path to Permanent Residency

With borders closing and restrictions being put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Canada, a gap in the labour market has emerged.

The foreign national workforce that Canada relies upon has been drastically reduced as immigration slows due to these safety measures. In response to these challenges, the Canadian government has proactively announced a series of new public policies intended to help meet Canada’s immigration need. These policies will facilitate their goal of admitting 401,000 new permanent residents into Canada in 2021.

These public policies aim to accept at least 90,000 new applications for permanent residency split amongst health care and other essential workers, as well as recent international graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions.

This will allow Canadian employers who have employed foreign workers to keep these essential workers here in Canada without the worry of securing and renewing work permits. This also allows workers who don’t qualify under express entry or Provincial nominee programs to secure permanent residence in Canada.

This program will run from May 6, 2021 to November 5, 2021 or until each of the three streams have reached their respective application caps. There are also French language public policies being implemented alongside these policies which will not be addressed in this article.

There are three main streams: the healthcare stream, the essential non-healthcare stream, and the graduate stream.

All candidates seeking to apply along this new pathway to permanent residency must:

  • meet a prescribed language proficiency level;
  • reside in Canada with a temporary resident status,
  • have accumulated at least one year of experience of full-time work or the equivalent in part time experience in one of the occupations set out in their designated stream; and
  • be employed with a valid authorization to work at the time of application.

The other determining factors for the three streams are unique to each stream:

  • for the healthcare stream, which will accept 20,000 applications, the applicant must have work experience in one or more of the 40 health care related occupations listed in annex A of the program.
  • for the essential non-healthcare stream, which will be accepting 30,000 applications, the applicant must have work experience in one or more of the 95 occupations listed in annex B or a combination of annex A and B.
  • for the graduate stream, which will accept the remaining 40,000 applications, applicants must have completed their post-secondary program no earlier than January 2017 at a designated learning institution and been granted an eligible credential following its completion.

For more information on these recent policy changes or to inquire if you or an employee may qualify for permanent residency under these policies, please contact Naseem Malik, who practices corporate immigration law at Loopstra Nixon LLP.