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Wednesday April 21, 2021

New Pathways to Permanent Residency for Essential Workers and International Students

Authored by: Scott T. McGirr Posted in: Immigration

In 2020, immigration to Canada was limited by the ongoing global pandemic. In the face of border closures and travel restrictions the number of new immigrants to Canada fell to the lowest levels since 1998. But the Canadian government recognizes that immigration is going to be critical to the country’s economic recovery and has set ambitious targets for 2021.

With overseas immigration limited by COVID-19, Canada is increasingly turning to temporary residents to meet its immigration targets for the coming year. Early this week, the Canadian government announced a new pathway to permanent residency for 90,000 essential temporary workers and international graduates. This will create a significant opportunity for people who may not have qualified under existing immigration streams.

International graduates who have completed an eligible post-secondary program since January 2017 may be eligible under this new pathway.

There will be two pathways for essential workers – one for those working in health care and another for “other” essential workers.

The category of “other” essential workers is interesting because it recognizes a variety of occupations that have been vital to maintaining day-to-day functioning during the pandemic but are too often overlooked or undervalued. This includes occupations such as cashiers, cleaners, retail sales, customer service, and labourers. The full list of eligible occupations covers a wide range of industries including retail sales, service, agriculture and fishing, manufacturing and processing, construction, and education to name just a few.

To be eligible for the new pathway, at the time of their application candidates must:

There is a cap for each pathway limiting the number of applications that will be accepted:

The pathway to permanent residence created by this policy is temporary and will only be accepting applications from May 6 until November 5, 2021 (or until the cap limit for each stream is reached).

Demand under this policy is expected to be high, so preparing in advance of the opening date is strongly recommended.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility or interest in applying through these pathways, please contact Scott McGirr at

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