The Canadian government announced last week that it would open up new pathways to permanent residence for essential workers and international graduates in Canada.

Key Points:

  • To be eligible for one of the new streams, applicants must (1) have at least one year of experience in a health-care or other pre-approved essential profession or (2) have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years (not before January 2017).
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) will begin accepting applications on May 6, 2021, as follows:
    • Up to 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care.
    • Up to 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations.
    • Up to 40,000 applications for international students who graduated from a Canadian institution.
  • The streams will remain open until Nov. 5, or until they have reached their numerical limit, whichever occurs first.
  • IRCC will also open up permanent residence streams for French-speaking essential workers and recent graduates outside of Quebec who meet similar eligibility requirements.
  • Additional information on the stream for French-speaking essential workers is available here. Additional information on the stream for French-speaking international graduates is available here.

Background: The Canadian government set a goal last year to bring 1.2 million new permanent residents to Canada over the next three years, including 401,000 this year. IRCC said the new streams would help Canada reach that goal and would “help create jobs and drive long-term growth in Canada.”

Analysis & Comments: Canada has set ambitious goals regarding permanent residents and is taking steps to meet them. The new streams provide essential workers and international graduates a new pathway to permanent residence. Employers with employees who may qualify are urged to work closely with their BAL professional to determine their eligibility.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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