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Essential Workers and Students in Canada: Are you Eligible for PR?

Last updated: 16 July 2021

Stay in Canada and apply for permanent residence immigration

Complete the form below to find out if you are eligible for Canada's new immigration pathways! 

On April 14, 2021, IRCC introduced new pathways to permanent residency to allow 90,000 essential workers, international students, and francophones to call Canada their permanent home. The pathways were launched on May 6.  Discover your eligibility for these pathways now by using this free CanadaVisa tool!
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About the Pathways

These pathways to permanent residence are for temporary workers and international graduates already in Canada who have the skills and experience Canada needs to fight the pandemic and accelerate our economic recovery. Candidates can submit their applications between May 6, 2021 and November 5, 2021, however the Canadian government will stop accepting applications if the quota of 90,000 applications is achieved before the November 2021 deadline. Click here to see the application guide.

The new pathways target temporary workers employed in our hospitals and long-term care homes and those on the front lines in other critical sectors. They also target international graduates who are the driving force of tomorrow's economy. Moreover, Canada is looking to welcome Francophone candidates through the pathways.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to admit up to 90,000 new permanent residents under these streams:

There will not be any intake caps for French-speaking candidates. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Workers: To be eligible, generally speaking, workers must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in a health-care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation. Click here to see the full eligibility criteria for workers.
  • French-speaking Workers: Canada is also offering a stream for French-speaking essential workers. The full eligibility criteria can be found here.
  • Graduates: International graduates must have completed an approved Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017. Click here to see the full eligibility criteria for international graduates.
  • French-speaking Graduates: Canada is also offering a stream for French-speaking graduates. You can find the full eligibility criteria by clicking here.

Graduates and workers must also be proficient in one of Canada's official languages (English and/or French), meet general eligibility requirements, be in Canada and be authorized to work at the time of application to be eligible.

Application quotas and timeframes

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began accepting a set number of applications in the three streams on May 6, 2021:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care;
  • 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations; As of July 16, 2021, this stream has reached its 30,000 candidate limit and has closed.
  • 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution. As of May 7, 2021, this stream has reached its 40,000 candidate limit and has closed.

Streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit.

Do you live in Canada? Use CanadaVisa's free tool to find out if you're eligible for these new PR pathways!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions you may have about the new immigration streams. Please go over them to better prepare yourselves for submitting an application.

1. When will the new streams launch?

All 6 new immigration streams for essential workers and international students have been launched on Thursday 6 May 2021 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time.

2. How will IRCC prioritize applications?

IRCC will process applications on a first come, first serve basis.

3.  How can I apply?

Step 1: Use the new online portal to submit your application. The portal will have a "How to Apply Tool". This tool helps you decide which stream is right for you. There will also be a wizard to make sure you are eligible. If you already know you are eligible, you can skip this wizard.

Step 2: Agree to terms and conditions

Step 3: Create an account. You will get an email with a verification code. You will need to copy and paste this code onto the portal. Now, you can sign in with your email address and password.

Step 4: At this point, you will see a document checklist. This will include a generic form called the IMM 0008 form. You must validate your form and submit them with 2D barcodes. You do not need to sign this form. An attestation at the end is enough.

Step 5: If you are using a representative, make sure that the representative form has a wet signature. 

Step 6: Submit your documents. This will include your proof of eligible work or study experience in Canada. If your dependents are part of your application, there will be separate fields to upload their files.

Step 7: After you submit your documents, you will see an acknowledgement and consent form, as well as a privacy statement.

Step 8: You will then have to pay the required fees.

Step 9: Click on the big blue "Submit" button at the end of the page. The next page confirms that you have submitted your application.

4. What documents are needed?

When you apply, a list of the required documents will be generated depending on the stream you are applying for. Here is a list of documents that you will need to submit:

  • "Generic Application Form for Canada" which is also known as an IMM 0008. You need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the form; 
  • Police certificates;
  • Medical exams;
  • Proof of funds;
  • birth certificate (if you are declaring dependent children);
  • use of a representative form (if you have hired a representative);
  • common-law union form (if you declare your marital status as "common-law");
  • marriage certificate (if you declare your marital status as "married");
  • divorce certificate and legal separation agreement (if you declare your marital status as "divorced");
  • death certificate (if you declare your marital status as "widowed");
  • adoption certificate (when your dependent child is listed as "adopted").

If you do not have police certificates at this time, and you are unable to obtain them, you will need to prove that you have put in reasonable effort to do so. 

5. I cannot complete a medical exam. What do I do?

If you completed an immigration medical exam as part of a previous application, then you can submit that exam. If the medical exam cannot be used for this application, IRCC will contact you and ask you to complete a new medical exam.

If you have never completed an immigration medical exam, you should make every effort to do so. If you can’t because of COVID-19 disruptions, you should provide proof that you have scheduled a medical appointment with a panel physician.

6. Can a representative apply on my behalf?

No. Only the applicant is allowed to access and upload documents using the portal.

7. I am eligible for more than one stream. Can I submit multiple applications?

Yes. You will need to pay the application fee twice.

8. I am eligible for more than one stream. Which stream will my application be processed under?

When you are submitting your application, you get to choose the stream you wish to apply under.

9. I am not currently working (for example: I am on sick leave, on maternity leave, temporarily laid off etc). Can I still apply?

No. You must be currently working in any job. It does not matter if your work is full or part time.

10. What is the application fee?

CAD $1,050. You may need to pay other applicable fees such as for any dependents, and for biometrics.

Your total application fee, including your processing fee (CAD $500) and the right of permanent residence fee (CAD $550) is CAD $1,050. You must pay both fees up front.

If you are including your spouse or partner, that will cost another CAD $1,050. For every dependent child, the cost is CAD $150.

In addition, you will need to pay for your biometrics. For one person, the cost is CAD $85. For a family of 2 or more, the cost is CAD $170.

For example, if you are applying with your spouse and two children, the total cost will be:

$1,050 (for yourself) + $1,050 (for your spouse) + $150 (for one child) + $150 (for another child) + $170 (biometrics for a family) = $ 2,570

11. How long will it take for my application to be processed?

IRCC hopes to be able to process most applications within six months. IRCC expects to process 40,000 applications in 2021.

12. Do I need to submit my IELTS General Training or CELPIP score with my application?

Yes. Applications without a language test will be considered incomplete and may be refused.

13. I cannot take the language tests at the moment. What do I do?

You can use a previous language test, as long as the result is less than two years old when the application is received by IRCC.

You must make sure that your application includes valid language test results.

14. Can I use my old language test results?

Yes. You can use your old language test results as part of your application, provided they are less than 2 years old on the date of application.

15. I have a study permit. Can I apply?

Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements of one of the streams.

16. I am an international student and I have worked in an essential occupation. Can I use this work experience under one of the essential worker streams?

Yes, as long as you have at least 1,560 hours of Canadian work experience in an essential occupation, in the last three years.

17. Do I currently need to be working in an essential occupation for me to be eligible?

No. You can be working in any occupation. You just need to show that you have 1,560 hours of Canadian work experience in the last three years in an essential occupation.

If you are applying through one of the graduate streams, you do not need to have work experience in an essential occupation.

18. What jobs are accepted under an international graduate stream?

Any job is fine, both full-time or part-time. The only requirement is that the job is paid. Unpaid work or self-employed work does not count.

19. I am currently working but am not getting paid. Can this count as current work experience?

No. Your current work experience must be paid work.

20. I am currently working part-time. Can this count as current work experience?

Yes. Current employment can be full-time or part-time.

21. Does my current employment need to be permanent?

No. There is no requirement that your current employment needs to be permanent.

22. Does my one year of work experience need to be continuous?

No. Your work experience can be acquired through multiple periods of employment. It only needs to add up to one year, or 1,560 hours of work, and must be acquired in the last three years.

23. Does my one year of work experience include paid vacation time?

Yes, as long as it is a reasonable period of vacation time. For example, this could be a 2 week paid vacation in a 52 year period of work.

24. I worked for a Canadian company but I was not physically in Canada. Can this work experience count?

No. You need to have been physically present in Canada during the time of your employment.

25. I was paid in commission for my work. Can this work experience count?

Yes. It does not matter if you were paid in wages or commission.

26. Can I apply if I am on maintained status (implied status)?

Yes.

27. I am waiting for my Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) to be approved. Can I still apply?

Yes.

28. I have already submitted an Express Entry profile. Can I still apply?

Yes. You will need to pay the application fees for one (or more) of the new streams.

29. I have already received a permanent residence invitation, or have applied under another immigration program. Can I still apply?

Yes. You will need to pay the application fees for one (or more) of the new streams.

30. Do I need to get an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) for my foreign education?

No. Your foreign education is not assessed under these immigration streams, therefore you do not need to submit an ECA.

31. I have self-employed work experience in an essential occupation. Does it count towards the work experience required for the essential worker streams?

No. Your work will be assessed to establish whether or not it was self-employed. 

Self employment does not count unless you are a medical doctor in a fee-for-service arrangement with a health authority.

32. I live in Quebec, or have previously lived in Quebec. How can I show that I intend to live in another province?

Candidates can show their plan to move outside Quebec such as their new residence, or a job offer from another province or territory.

33. I have a disability and need accommodation.

You may request an alternative format for your application. You are encouraged to contact IRCC early. If the stream you are applying for has an intake limit, the request must be received by May 20, 2021 or before the limit has been reached, whichever is later.

You can make the request by email or by phone to the Client Support Centre. If you are making the request by email, please send it to IRCC.BCSU-UCSE.IRCC@cic.gc.ca, and include the following details:

  • Your full name;

  • Your mailing address;

  • Your telephone number;

  • The stream you are applying for;

  • The alternative format you need (paper, braille, large print);

  • If you wish to receive the alternative format by mail or email;

  • Confirmation that you are requesting an accommodation because of your disability.

34. Where can I find the application guide?

You can find the application guide through this link.

35. What happens after I submit my application?

Once you submit your application, IRCC will check to make sure that all application forms were completed properly, that the required fees were paid, and that all the required documents were submitted. If your application is missing any of the requested documents, it may be refused.

You will be sent an email that confirms receipt of the application. The email will include your IRCC application number.

IRCC will then review your application. If you are successful, you and your family members will receive permanent residence status in Canada.

36. I have given biometrics before. Do I need to give them again?

If you have submitted your biometrics in the last 10 years, you may be exempt from submitting them again. You will need to provide proof with your application that you have previously submitted your biometrics.

37. How do I prove my status in Canada?

You will need to prove your status in Canada as part of your application. You can do this by submitting a copy of your most recent immigration document. This can be a work permit or a study permit.

38. How can I prove my current employment in Canada?

You will need to prove that you are currently employed in Canada as part of your application. You must submit three things:

  • A copy of your work permit (if applicable);

  • Your most recent pay stubs;

  • A reference letter from your current employer detailing:
    • the location of work,

    • the specific period of employment,

    • the description of your main responsibilities and duties,

    • your total annual salary and benefits,

    • the number of hours you work per week

    • your employer’s name, signature, full address, telephone number and email address (if applicable).

39. How can I provide proof of language proficiency?

You will need to provide proof of your language proficiency as part of your application. To do this, you must submit a valid language test result.

For English, you can pursue the IELTS General Training or the CELPIP tests. For French, you can pursue TEF Canada or TCF Canada.

40. What supporting documents must I provide for the essential worker streams?

Here is a list of documents that you must provide for the essential worker streams (Worker in Canada streams):

  • A copy of your work permit in Canada,

  • A reference letter from your current employer detailing:
    • the location of work,

    • the specific period of employment,

    • the description of your main responsibilities and duties,

    • your total annual salary and benefits,

    • the number of hours you work per week

    • your employer’s name, signature, full address, telephone number and email address (if applicable).

You must also provide one of the following:

  • Your most recent pay stubs;

  • Copies of your T4 tax information slips and your Notice of Assessment, or

  • Your work contracts.

41. How can I prove that I completed my studies in Canada?

If you are applying through the International Graduate streams, you will need to prove that you have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution, and earned an eligible credential.

Here is a list of documents that you must provide:

  • A final transcript,

  • A letter from the institution and/or the formal notice of graduation.

You must prove the following:

  • The type of credential you received (for example: a degree, diploma, certificate or attestation),

  • The length of the program of study,

  • That you were authorized to study for the duration of your program(s),

  • The date you completed your program,

  • The name of the institution that granted the credential.

42. What do I do if one of my documents is in a language other than English or French?

You will need to translate your documents that are in another language to English or French. The translated document must be stamped by a certified translator, or you must attach an affidavit from the person who completed your translation.

You must also submit a scan of the original document.

43. What supporting documents do I need to submit?

Here is a list of supporting documents that you will also need to submit:

  • Copy of the biographical data page of a passport or travel document

  • Identity and Civil Status Documents

  • Children's information (if applicable)

  • Immigration Medical Exams (IME)

  • Police certificates and clearances

  • Photos

  • Fees

44. Do I need to provide police certificates for all of the countries I have lived in?

You need to provide police certificates for you and your family members who are over 18 years old, for every country you (or a family member) lived in during the last 10 years for six or more consecutive months.

45. The country I am requesting a police certificate from needs a letter from IRCC first. What do I do?

You will need to upload a document in the police certificate field that says the following: “I am applying from a country that requires an official request letter from IRCC to get a police certificate”.

46. I have more than 5 dependents and the Generic Form (IMM 0008) only lets me add up to 5. What do I do?

The Generic Application form (IMM 0008) only allows you to add in up to five dependents. You must fill out the following form for each additional dependent you wish to add.

Additional Dependants/Declaration (IMM 0008DEP)