Extend your stay in Canada as an essential worker

Shelby Thevenot
Published: April 21, 2021

Cashiers, cleaners, and healthcare workers are among the many essential occupations that are eligible for Canada's new immigration programs.

Starting May 6, temporary foreign workers in 135 essential occupations can apply for the new permanent residency pathways. If you are working outside of Quebec, you could be one of the 50,000 new immigrants that are expected to gain permanent residency status through the new PR pathway for temporary foreign workers in essential occupations.

Do you live in Canada? Apply for PR under these news pathways!

This program will be open until November 5, or until the 20,000 spots for healthcare workers and 30,000 for other essential workers are filled, whichever comes first.

If you speak French, you could be eligible for the PR pathway for French-speaking temporary foreign workers in essential occupations. This program has an unlimited number of openings since Canada has historically had trouble attracting French-speaking immigrants out of Quebec.

See if you're eligible

In order to be eligible, you need at least one year of work experience within the past three years in an essential occupation. There are 40 eligible occupations for the healthcare stream, and 95 for the other essential workers stream. You may also be eligible if you have the equivalent part-time experience, or 1,560 hours working in an essential occupation.

Both streams require you to be employed in Canada in any occupation at the time of your application. You cannot be self employed unless you are a medical doctor in a fee-for-service with a health authority.

You have to be living in Canada on valid temporary status, or eligible for restoration. Also, you have to intend to immigrate to any province other than Quebec.

You need a Canadian Language Benchmark of at least 4 in all language abilities in English or French. The stream for French speakers requires an NCLC of at least 4 in order to be eligible.

You also cannot be deemed inadmissible to Canada for criminal or medical reasons.

Do you live in Canada? Apply for PR under these news pathways!

Eligible occupations

The Canadian immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), has divided the new programs for essential workers into two streams: Stream A and Stream B.

Stream A is for healthcare workers. Temporary residents who work in health-related occupations cannot use any work experience in other essential occupations toward their application.

Stream B is for essential workers in other occupations, and they can combine any work experience in a healthcare occupation toward their work experience requirement.

Stream A occupations

Here are the eligible healthcare occupations listed by National Occupational Classification (NOC):

  • 3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
  • 3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • 3111 Specialist physicians
  • 3112 General practitioners and family physicians
  • 3113 Dentists
  • 3121 Optometrists
  • 3122 Chiropractors
  • 3124 Allied primary health practitioners
  • 3125 Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
  • 3131 Pharmacists
  • 3132 Dieticians and nutritionists
  • 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • 3142 Physiotherapists
  • 3143 Occupational therapists
  • 3144 Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment
  • 3211 Medical laboratory technologists
  • 3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
  • 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • 3215 Medical radiation technologists
  • 3216 Medical sonographers
  • 3217 Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c.
  • 3219 Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health)
  • 3221 Denturists
  • 3222 Dental hygienists and dental therapists
  • 3223 Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants
  • 3231 Opticians
  • 3232 Practitioners of natural healing
  • 3233 Licensed practical nurses
  • 3234 Paramedical occupations
  • 3236 Massage therapists
  • 3237 Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
  • 3411 Dental assistants
  • 3413 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • 3414 Other assisting occupations in support of health services
  • 4151 Psychologists
  • 4152 Social workers
  • 4153 Family, marriage and other related counsellors
  • 4165 Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers
  • 4212 Social and community service workers
  • 4412 Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations

Stream B occupations

IRCC sorted Stream B occupations into units and sub-units. They are listed here by NOC code:

Major unit groups

Sales and support occupations

  • 6611 Cashiers
  • 6621 Service station attendants
  • 6622 Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers
  • 6623 Other sales related occupations

Industrial, electrical and construction trades

  • 7201 Contractors and supervisor, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations
  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7232 Tool and die makers
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7234 Boilermakers
  • 7235 Structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7272 Cabinetmakers
  • 7281 Bricklayers
  • 7282 Concrete finishers
  • 7283 Tilesetters
  • 7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
  • 7291 Roofers and shinglers
  • 7292 Glaziers
  • 7293 Insulators
  • 7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
  • 7295 Floor covering installers

Other installers, repairers and servicers and material handlers

  • 7441 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
  • 7442 Waterworks and gas maintenance workers
  • 7444 Pest controllers and fumigators
  • 7445 Other repairers and servicers
  • 7451 Longshore workers
  • 7452 Material handlers

Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations

  • 7511 Transport truck drivers
  • 7512 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
  • 7513 Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs
  • 7514 Delivery and courier service drivers
  • 7521 Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
  • 7522 Public works maintenance equipment operators and related workers
  • 7531 Railway yard and truck maintenance workers
  • 7532 Water transport deck and engine room crew
  • 7533 Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations
  • 7534 Air transport ramp attendants
  • 7535 Other automotive mechanical installers and servicers

Trades helpers, construction labourers and related occupations

  • 7611 Construction trades helpers and labourers
  • 7612 Other trades helpers and labourers
  • 7621 Public works and maintenance labourers
  • 7622 Railway and motor transport labourers

Harvesting, landscaping and natural resources labourers

  • 8611 Harvesting labourers
  • 8612 Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers
  • 8613 Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers
  • 8614 Mine labourers
  • 8615 Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
  • 8616 Logging and forestry labourers

Minor unit groups

Mail and message distribution occupations

  • 1511 Mail, postal and related workers
  • 1512 Letter carriers
  • 1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

Retail salesperson

  • 6421 Retail salespersons


  • 6731 Light duty cleaners
  • 6732 Specialized cleaners
  • 6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents

Agriculture and horticulture workers

  • 8431 General farm workers
  • 8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers

Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations

  • 8441 Fishing vessel deckhands
  • 8442 Trappers and hunters

Machine operators and related workers in food, beverage and associated products processing

  • 9461 Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing
  • 9462 Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
  • 9463 Fish and seafood plant workers
  • 9465 Testers and graders, food and beverage processing

Specific 4-digit unit groups

  • 0821 Managers in agriculture
  • 0822 Managers in horticulture
  • 4031 French and French immersion secondary school teachers (language of instruction must be French)
  • 4032 French and French immersion elementary school and kindergarten teachers (language of instruction must be French)
  • 4411 Home child care providers
  • 4413 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
  • 6331 Retail butchers
  • 6523 Airline ticket and service agents
  • 6524 Ground and water transport ticket agents, cargo service representatives and related clerks
  • 6541 Security guards and related security service occupations
  • 6551 Customer services representatives – financial institutions
  • 6552 Other customer and information services representatives
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • 9617 Labourers in food and beverage processing
  • 9618 Labourers in fish and seafood processing

Do you live in Canada? Apply for PR under these news pathways!

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