Canada offers essential workers, international students permanent resident status

by Jay Domingo, PDM Staff Writer

| Photo by Prachatai via Creative Commons/Flickr

NEW YORK – Essential workers and international students in Canada may now have a pathway to becoming permanent residents. On July 26, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) broadened this pathway’s benefits after launching the Temporary Resident To Permanent Resident (TR to PR) for essential workers on May 6, 2021.

They may now apply for an open work permit while their temporary residence status is still in place and until a decision is made on their permanent residency application. This open work permit allows those awaiting a decision on their application to extend or remain in status during this transition.

This new pathway will focus on temporary workers employed in our hospitals and long-term care homes and on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international graduates who are driving the economy of tomorrow.

To be eligible, workers must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in a healthcare profession or another pre-approved essential occupation. International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last 4 years and no earlier than January 2017.

Effective May 6, 2021, IRCC had begun accepting applications under the following 3 streams:

  • 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

The streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit. Up to 90,000 new permanent residents will be admitted under these 3 streams.

To qualify for this one-time open work permit, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be currently living in Canada;
  2. Have submitted an application under one of the TR to PR pathways;
  3. Must have obtained one year of lawful work experience from within Canada at the time the application was submitted;
  4. Meet the minimum language proficiency requirements of the TR to PR stream they applied under at the time the permanent residence application was submitted; and
  5. Have valid temporary resident status, maintained status, or be eligible to restore their status.

Applicants with valid status and who meet the above requirements can apply for an open work permit under this new public policy. Those with current valid work permits can apply up to 4 months before the expiration of their work permit.

The IRCC has begun on July 26 to accept applications under this new public policy. According to policy guidelines, this is for a one-time open work permit and will give temporary status to successful applicants until December 31, 2022. Eligible family members of applicants may also apply for an open work permit at any time if they are a spouse/common-law partner or a dependent child of a principal applicant.

IRCC is demonstrating continued support and appreciation for essential workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada. Introducing this new open work permit ensures that individuals who have been actively contributing to Canadian society during the pandemic can continue to work in their essential roles and ultimately remain in Canada permanently as permanent residents.

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