Find Out if You’re Eligible to Immigrate to Canada as an Essential Worker or Graduate

Canada is opening up immigration routes for essential workers, international students, and Francophones living in the country.

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In this guide, we’d be showing you everything you need to know about Canada’s new immigration programs.

On 6th May, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) opened the door to 90,000 essential workers and graduate international students with temporary status in Canada. There will also be three programs that will accept an unlimited number of eligible Francophones.

The new programs apply to eligible temporary residents who wish 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 an immigration policy in Quebec.

The new programs will only be open for a limited time until November 5 or until admission limits are reached.

There are 40 eligible health care occupations, plus 95 additional eligible occupations, other essential workers in a variety of industries such as construction, agriculture, and sales.

Applicants can also include their eligible family members in their applications, regardless of whether they are in Canada or not.

All individuals named in the application must be admissible to Canada, which means they must meet general criminality and medical criteria.

Eligibility Criteria For All Six New Programs

International Student Graduates

Canada will accept up to 40,000 recently graduated international students as permanent residents.

To be eligible, you must have graduated from a post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) after January 2017 and prior to submitting your application. You must also be working in Canada at the time of your application. Self-employment is not eligible.

Even if your diploma or degree was completed at a DLI in Quebec, you can apply. However, you must apply to live in any other province.

In general, the programs studied must have a minimum duration of eight months. For a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) or a Certification of Vocational Specialization (AVS), each study program must be a minimum of 900 hours in length and the combined study program must be at least 1,800 hours.

The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or French in all competencies.

Essential health workers

This year, IRCC will admit up to 20,000 new permanent residents through this temporary stream for healthcare workers in Canada.

In many economy class immigration programs, it is important to have qualified work experience to be eligible. This isn’t the case with this program, you are only required to have a year of Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation.

There are 40 eligible occupations for this program, including nurses, doctors, and pharmacists.

There are also some occupations related to social work in this category, such as social workers, social and community service workers, as well as home support workers. Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians are not eligible for this pathway.

You must have at least a year of eligible full-time work experience within the three years prior to the date of your application. Government criteria say you must be employed in any occupation at the time you apply.

You cannot be self-employed unless you are a doctor on 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 competencies.

Lastly, you must be destined for any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.

List of Eligible Healthcare Occupations

Below is the list of the eligible healthcare occupations sorted by National Occupational Classification (NOC):

3011 Nursing coordinators 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 Related primary health professionals.

3125 Other professional occupations in the diagnosis and treatment of health.

3131 Pharmacists.

3132 Dietitians and nutritionists.

3141 Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists.

3142 Physiotherapists.

3143 Occupational therapists.

3144 Other professional occupations in therapy and evaluation.

3211 Medical laboratory technologists.

3212 Assistants to medical laboratory technicians and pathologists.

3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists, and cardiopulmonary technologists.

3215 Medical radiation technologists.

3216 medical sonographers.

3217 Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists.

3219 Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health).

3221 Dentists.

3222 Dental hygienists and dental therapists.

3223 Dental technologists, technicians and laboratory assistants.

3231 Optics.

3232 practitioners of natural healing.

3233 Licensed practical nurses.

3234 Paramedic occupations.

3236 Masseuses.

3237 Other technical occupations in therapy and evaluation.

3411 Dental assistants.

3413 Nursing aides, nurses, and patient service associates.

3414 Other occupations of assistance in support of health services.

4151 Psychologists.

4152 Social workers.

4153 Family, matrimonial and other related counselors.

4165 Researchers, consultants, and health policy program officers.

4212 Social and community service workers.

4412 Home support workers, homemakers and related occupations.

Essential Workers in Other Occupations

Under this temporary program, Canada will welcome 30,000 new permanent residents with work experience in essential occupations at all skill levels of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

In total, there are 95 occupations eligible, including retail salespeople, general agricultural workers, and construction trades workers, among others.

You are required to have at least a year of eligible full-time work (40hours weekly) experience within the three years prior to your application.  

At the time of your application, you must be employed, but government language says it can be “in any occupation.”  Self-employment is not eligible.

The minimum language requirement is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in English or French in all competencies.

It must also be destined for any Canadian province or territory other than Quebec.

List of Eligible Essential Occupations

The IRCC classified these other essential occupations into units and subunits. They are listed by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.

Sales and support occupations

6611 Cashiers.

6621 Service station assistants.

6622 Store shelves, shop assistants, and order-keepers.

6623 Other sales-related occupations.

Industrial, electrical and construction trades

7201 Contractors and supervisors, metal machining, shaping, forming and assembly trades and related occupations.

7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications.

7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades.

7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades.

7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and service providers.

7231 Machinists and inspectors of machining and tools.

7232 Manufacturers of tools and dies.

7233 Sheet metal workers.

7234 Boilermakers.

7235 Manufacturers and installers of metal and veneered structures.

7236 Blacksmiths.

7237 Welders and related machine operators.

7241 Electricians (except industrial and electrical systems).

7242 Industrial electricians.

7243 Electrical systems electricians.

7244 Electric line and cable workers.

7245 Telecommunication cable and line workers.

7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers.

7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians.

7251 Plumbers.

7252 Steam Installers, Pipe Installers and Sprinkler System Installers.

7253 Gas installers.

7271 Carpenters.

7272 Cabinetmakers.

7281 Masons.

7282 Concrete terminators.

7283 Tile setters.

7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and gluers.

7291 Roofers and shingles.

7292 Glaziers.

7293 Insulators.

7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators).

7295 Floor covering installers.

Other installers, repairers and repairers and material handlers

7441 Residential and commercial installers and repairers.

7442 Water supply and gas maintenance workers.

7444 Pest Controllers and Fumigators.

7445 Other repairers and repairers.

7451 Longshore workers.

7452 Material handlers.

Transportation and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations

7511 Transport truck drivers.

7512 Bus drivers, metro operators, and other transit operators.

7513 Drivers and chauffeurs of taxis and limousines.

7514 Delivery and courier service drivers.

7521 Heavy equipment operators (except cranes).

7522 Operators of public works maintenance equipment and related workers.

7531 Truck and rail yard maintenance workers.

7532 Water transport deck equipment and engine room.

7533 Ship and cable ferry operators and related occupations.

7534 Air transport ramp attendants.

7535 Other auto mechanic installers and repairers.

Trades helpers, construction workers, and allied occupations

7611 Construction trades helpers and laborers.

7612 Helpers and day laborers of other trades.

7621 Public works and maintenance workers.

7622 Rail and motorized transport workers.

Harvest, landscaping, and natural resource workers

8611 Harvest workers.

8612 Landscaping and yard maintenance workers.

8613 Aquaculture and marine harvesting workers.

8614 Mining workers.

8615 Oil and gas drilling, maintenance and related products.

8616 Wood and forestry workers.

Mail and message distribution occupations

1511 Post offices, postal workers and the like.

1512 Postmen.

1513 Door-to-door messengers,

messengers and distributors.

Retail seller

6421 Retail sellers.

Cleaners

6731 Light cleaners.

6732 Specialized cleaners.

6733 Janitors, custodians, and building superintendents.

Agricultural and horticultural workers

8431 Agricultural workers in general.

8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers.

Other workers in fishing, trapping and hunting occupations

8441 Sailors on deck of fishing vessels.

8442 Trappers and hunters.

Machine operators and related workers in the processing of food, beverages and associated products

9461 Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing.

9462 Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and allied workers.

9463 Fish and shellfish plant workers.

9465 Testers and Sorters, Food and Beverage Processing.

Specific 4-digit unit groups

0821 Agricultural managers.

0822 Directors of horticulture.

4,031 French secondary school teachers and French immersion teachers (the language of instruction must be French).

4032 French and French immersion primary school and kindergarten teachers (language of instruction must be French).

4411 Family Child Care Providers.

4413 Primary and secondary school teacher aides.

6331 Retail butchers.

6523 Air ticket and service agents.

6524 Land and water ticket sales agents, cargo service representatives and related employees.

6541 Security guards and occupations related to security services.

6551 Customer Service Representatives – Financial Institutions.

6552 Other customer and information service representatives.

8252 Agricultural service contractors, agricultural supervisors, and skilled livestock workers.

8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping services, grounds maintenance and horticulture.

9617 Workers in food and beverage processing.

9618 Workers in fish and shellfish processing.

Graduate French-Speaking International Students

This new stream is for French-speaking international recent graduate students living in Canada. You may not intend to move to Quebec, but you may still be eligible for the program with a Quebec-based education.

To be eligible, you must be working in Canada at the time of your application. You must also have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) at the post-secondary level after January 2017.

The program you graduated from must also meet the eligibility criteria. Generally, they have to last for more than eight months.

For a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) or a Certification of Vocational Specialization (AVS), each study program must be at least 900 hours in length and the combined study program must be at least 1,800 hours.

You must also have a minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 5 in all areas of French language proficiency.

Essential French-Speaking Workers in the Healthcare Sector

This pathway will allow an unlimited number of French-speaking healthcare workers in Canada to become permanent residents. It is not for Francophones who want to emigrate to Quebec.

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 the 40 eligible health care and social work occupations.

Government criteria say you must be employed in any occupation at the time you apply. You cannot be self-employed unless you are a doctor on a fee-for-service with a health authority.

You must also have a minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 in all areas of French language proficiency.

Essential French-Speaking Workers in other Occupations

An unlimited number of French speakers with work experience in one of the 95 eligible occupations can become permanent residents through this pathway. Eligible candidates must intend to move to any Canadian province other than Quebec.

You must have met the full-time work criteria within a year of you applying. At the time of your application, you must have a job, but the government says you can be “employed in any occupation.”  Self-employment is not eligible.

You must also have a minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 in all areas of French language proficiency.

In this guide, we’ve shown you all the needed requirements for these new pathways to becoming a permanent resident of Canada, we hope it was answered all your questions. Good luck on your journey!

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