What you need to know about Canada’s new immigration programs
Canada is opening up immigration pathways to essential workers, international students, and French speakers who are living in the country.
Starting May 6, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will open the door to 90,000 essential workers and international student graduates on temporary status in Canada. There will also be three programs that will accept an unlimited number of eligible French speakers.
The new programs apply to eligible temporary residents who want to immigrate to any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec. This is because the new programs were introduced by the Canadian federal government, which does not have the power to make immigration policy in Quebec.
The new programs will only be open for a limited amount of time until November 5 or until the intake caps are reached. There are 40 eligible healthcare occupations, plus an additional 95 eligible occupations other essential workers across a range of industries such as construction, agriculture, and sales.
Applicants may also include their eligible family members on their applications, regardless of whether they are in Canada or not. Everyone named on the application must be admissible to Canada, meaning they have to meet general criminality and medical criteria.
Here are some of the general eligibility criteria for each of the six new programs:
- International student graduates
- Essential workers in healthcare
- Essential workers in other occupations
- French-speaking international student graduates
- French-speaking essential workers in healthcare
- French-speaking essential workers in other occupations
- List of eligible healthcare occupations
- List of eligible essential occupations
International student graduates
Canada will accept up to 40,000 recent international student graduates as permanent residents.
To be eligible, you need to have graduated from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) after January 2017, and before you submit your application. You also have to be working in Canada at the time of your application. Self-employed work is not eligible.
Your diploma or degree may have been completed at a DLI in Quebec, however, you have to be applying to live in any other province.
Generally speaking, programs must be no less than eight months in duration. For a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) or an Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS), each program of study must be at least 900 hours in length and the combined program of study must be at least 1,800 hours.
The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or French in all proficiencies.
Essential workers in healthcare
This year, IRCC will admit up to 20,000 new permanent residents through this temporary stream for healthcare workers in Canada. In many economic-class immigration programs, it is important to have skilled work experience in order to be eligible. This is not the case for this program, you just need to have one year of Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation.
There are 40 eligible occupations for this program, which include nurses, physicians, and pharmacists. There are also some social work-related occupations under this category such as social workers, social and community service workers, as well as home support workers. Veterinarians and veterinarian technicians are not eligible for this pathway.
You need to have at least one year of eligible full-time work experience within the three years leading up to your application date. The government criteria say that you have to be employed 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.
The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in English or French in all proficiencies.
Essential workers in other occupations
Under this temporary program, Canada will welcome 30,000 new permanent residents with work experience in essential occupations across all National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels. There are 95 eligible occupations, which include retail salespersons, general farm workers, and construction trades labourers, among others.
You need at least one year of eligible full-time work experience within the three years prior to your application. At the time of your application, you have to be employed, but the government language says it can be "in any occupation." Self-employed work is not eligible.
The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in English or French in all proficiencies.
You also have to be destined for any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.
French-speaking international student graduates
This new stream is for recent French-speaking international student graduates who are living in Canada. You cannot be intending to move to Quebec, but you can still be eligible for the program with a Quebec-based education.
To be eligible, you need to be working in Canada at the time of your application. You also need to have already graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) at the post-secondary level after January 2017.
The program you graduated from also has to meet eligibility criteria. Generally, they have to be more than eight months in duration. For a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) or an Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS), each program of study needs to be at least 900 hours in length and the combined program of study must be at least 1,800 hours.
French-speaking essential workers in healthcare
This pathway will allow for an unlimited number of French-speaking healthcare workers in Canada to become permanent residents. It is not for French speakers who want to immigrate to Quebec.
In order to be eligible, you need at least one year of full-time work experience in Canada completed within three years of your application. Your work experience must be in one of 40 eligible healthcare and social work occupations.
The government criteria say that you have to be employed 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.
French-speaking essential workers in other occupations
An unlimited number of French speakers with work experience in one of 95 eligible occupations may become permanent residents through this stream. Eligible candidates must be intending to move to any Canadian province other than Quebec.
You must have completed the full-time work criteria within one year of applying. At the time of your application, you have to have a job, but the government says you can be "employed in any occupation." Self-employed work is not eligible.
List of eligible healthcare occupations
Here is the list of eligible healthcare occupations sorted 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
List of eligible essential occupations
IRCC sorted these other essential occupations into units and sub-units. They are listed by National Occupational Classification (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
- 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
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