Canadian Immigration Fire Sale on Now!

by Ronalee Carey Law

April 2021

In an attempt to make up for a pandemic-related shortfall of potential immigrants from overseas, the Canadian government will open temporary programs for individuals working in Canada.  There will be three streams available:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care

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

  • 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution

In addition to these programs, three additional streams will be available for French-speaking or bilingual applicants.  There will be no intake caps for these streams.  Eligibility will be similar to the program for anglophones, but with the requirement of Canadian Benchmark Level 4 in French.  See essential occupations and international students.

For the healthcare and essential occupations programs, applicants must have at least one year of work experience in Canada within three years of application, and be employed in Canada when they apply (but not necessarily in healthcare or an essential occupation).

For the international students program, applicants must have completed a post-secondary program of study in Canada, and be employed in Canada when they apply.

The programs contain some innovations long requested by the immigration legal community:

  • Medical doctors in a fee-for-service arrangement with a local health authority may apply, even though they are technically self-employed. Other self-employed work will not be considered for the programs.

  • Minimum language requirements are low – Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 for the essential occupations stream and level 5 for the international graduates stream will be required. This will allow a greater range of applicants to apply.  Language tests evaluate the ability to perform well on language tests but do not necessarily reflect being able to succeed economically in Canada.  They have long caused disadvantages to those learning English or French after already having acquired several other languages. They also cause difficulties for those with learning disabilities, and for those too busy working in Canada to have the time to take test preparation courses. 

  • ‘Lower skilled’ occupations are being recognized as ‘essential’, including cashiers, pest controllers, taxi drivers, harvesting labourers, and janitors. Until now, there was no pathway for individuals with experience in these fields to apply for permanent residence.

There are a few shortfalls to this bonanza.

  • Applications will only be accepted until quotas are met, or until November 5th, whichever comes first. Those who already have completed language tests will be at an advantage. I checked both the CELPIP and IELTS websites the evening of the announcement; both were down, likely overwhelmed with people trying to book test dates.  Whether or not you will make the quota before the program closes may very well depend on if you can get a test date in time.

  • Refugee claimants need not apply. Refugee claimants are not granted ‘temporary resident status’, a requirement of the programs.

  • Those without status or outside of the restoration period (90 days of their status expiring) also may not apply. This is not a government fix to the issue of the many undocumented workers in Canada performing essential services.

  • These programs are only for those who will live outside of Quebec.

  • Graduates of private institutions are for the most part shut out.

  • This is a one-time deal. Though innovative, it is limited in scope.

This is a limited-time offer!  The sale starts May 6th.  Be sure to apply early!