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Canada launches new immigration programs for a limited time

Six new accelerated pathways to permanent residency will be launching on May 6, 2021 targeting healthcare workers and international students.

2021 has been a year full of surprises when it comes to immigration.

On April 14, 2021 Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced six new immigration pathways, which will enable over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates to become permanent residents of Canada.

These temporary programs have been designed for those individuals who are already living in Canada and who are actively contributing to the Canadian economy. Their skills and experience will play a significant role in Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

IRCC will begin accepting applications as of May 6, 2021 under these three streams:

  • Temporary workers in health care: 20,000
  • Temporary workers in other selected essential occupations: 30,000
  • International students who graduated from Canada: 40,000

The streams will be open until November 5, 2021 or until they reach their cap, whichever comes first.

in an effort to increase the number of French-speaking immigrants across Canada, three additional streams with no intake caps have also been launched.

The six programs are open to all the provinces in Canada, with the exception of Quebec, since Quebec makes its own immigration policies.

Eligible family members may be included in the application even if they are not currently living in Canada. However, all applicants must meet the basic admission requirements to enter Canada.

Breakdown of the six programs:

International student graduates

A total of 40,000 recent international graduates will be accepted under this program as permanent residents. Students are required to have graduated from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) at the post-secondary level, before the application has been submitting but after January 2017. The program of study has to be at least eight months or longer.

Applicants will need to demonstrate they are currently working for a Canadian employer. Unfortunately, self-employed applicants are not eligible for the program.

If the education was completed in Quebec, candidates are still eligible, however, they will need to apply to live in a different province.

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 must also be met, in either English or French.

Essential workers in healthcare

Through this program, IRCC is planning on issuing permanent residencies to 20,000 healthcare workers.

The requirement for this program is very simple, applicants only need to demonstrate they have one year of full-time work experience in an eligible occupation in Canada. The list of eligible occupations include pharmacists, nurses, physicians and 37 other occupations.

In order to be valid, the work experience must have been met within a three-year time period leading up to the date the application is submitted.

A CLB 4 is the minimum language score required in either official language.

Essential workers in other occupations

Candidates who have experience in essential occupations across all National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels, are eligible under this program. A total of 95 occupations are listed as being eligible and include a diverse range of occupations such as construction laborer, farm worker and sales people.

30,000 newcomers will be welcomed under this program. Eligible candidates will need to have one year or more of full-time work experience within the last three years and they must be employed at the time of application. Self-employment will not be accepted.

The minimum language proficiency required in French or English is a CLB 4.

French-speaking international student graduates

French-speaking students who recently graduated from Canada and are currently living in Canada are eligible for this program.

Students need to have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) after January 2017. Any date before that will not be accepted.

In order to be recognized as an eligible program of study, the program has to be longer than eight months and for a Diploma of Vocational Studies or Attestation of Vocational Specialization, there has to be at least 1,800 hours of study combined.

Applicants need to be working in Canada at the time of submission and meet a minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) of 5 in French.

French-speaking essential workers in healthcare

This program has no cap! Under this pathway, the federal government is accepting an unlimited number of candidates, as long as they are French-speaking and are healthcare workers. Candidates must be looking to settle in another province, outside of Quebec.

Anyone who wants to settle in Quebec will not qualify.

The candidate’s work experience must be in one of the 40 eligible healthcare and social work occupations. They must also have worked one full year as a full-time employee within the last three years and must be employed at the time of application.

A minimum level of 4, is required in the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien for all areas of French.

Courtesy of Nicholas Bartos

French-speaking essential workers in other occupations

Canada will also be accepting who speak French and who have work experience in one of the 95 eligible occupations. There is no cap for this stream either! However, candidates must be willing to settle anywhere in Canada, except Quebec.

Like the other programs, one year of full-time work experience is a requirement for this program as well. The one year of experience must be completed within the past three years candidates must be employed when submitting the application.

Self-employed candidates will not be considered eligible.

A minimum Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien of 4 is required in French.

List of eligible essential occupations

IRCC sorted these other essential occupations into units and sub-units. They are listed by National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.

Major unit groups

Sales and support occupations

  • 6611 Cashiers
  • 6621 Service station attendants
  • 6622 Store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers
  • 6623 Other sales related occupations

Industrial, electrical and construction trades

  • 7201 Contractors and supervisor, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations
  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7203 Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7232 Tool and die makers
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7234 Boilermakers
  • 7235 Structural metal and platework fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7247 Cable television service and maintenance technicians
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7272 Cabinetmakers
  • 7281 Bricklayers
  • 7282 Concrete finishers
  • 7283 Tilesetters
  • 7284 Plasterers, drywall installers and finishers and lathers
  • 7291 Roofers and shinglers
  • 7292 Glaziers
  • 7293 Insulators
  • 7294 Painters and decorators (except interior decorators)
  • 7295 Floor covering installers

Other installers, repairers and servicers and material handlers

  • 7441 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
  • 7442 Waterworks and gas maintenance workers
  • 7444 Pest controllers and fumigators
  • 7445 Other repairers and servicers
  • 7451 Longshore workers
  • 7452 Material handlers

Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations

  • 7511 Transport truck drivers
  • 7512 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
  • 7513 Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs
  • 7514 Delivery and courier service drivers
  • 7521 Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
  • 7522 Public works maintenance equipment operators and related workers
  • 7531 Railway yard and truck maintenance workers
  • 7532 Water transport deck and engine room crew
  • 7533 Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations
  • 7534 Air transport ramp attendants
  • 7535 Other automotive mechanical installers and servicers

Trades helpers, construction labourers and related occupations

  • 7611 Construction trades helpers and labourers
  • 7612 Other trades helpers and labourers
  • 7621 Public works and maintenance labourers
  • 7622 Railway and motor transport labourers

Harvesting, landscaping and natural resources labourers

  • 8611 Harvesting labourers
  • 8612 Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers
  • 8613 Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers
  • 8614 Mine labourers
  • 8615 Oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers
  • 8616 Logging and forestry labourers

Minor unit groups

Mail and message distribution occupations

  • 1511 Mail, postal and related workers
  • 1512 Letter carriers
  • 1513 Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors

Retail salesperson

  • 6421 Retail salespersons


  • 6731 Light duty cleaners
  • 6732 Specialized cleaners
  • 6733 Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents

Agriculture and horticulture workers

  • 8431 General farm workers
  • 8432 Nursery and greenhouse workers

Other workers in fishing and trapping and hunting occupations

  • 8441 Fishing vessel deckhands
  • 8442 Trappers and hunters

Machine operators and related workers in food, beverage and associated products processing

  • 9461 Process control and machine operators, food and beverage processing
  • 9462 Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
  • 9463 Fish and seafood plant workers
  • 9465 Testers and graders, food and beverage processing

Specific 4-digit unit groups

  • 0821 Managers in agriculture
  • 0822 Managers in horticulture
  • 4031 French and French immersion secondary school teachers (language of instruction must be French)
  • 4032 French and French immersion elementary school and kindergarten teachers (language of instruction must be French)
  • 4411 Home child care providers
  • 4413 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
  • 6331 Retail butchers
  • 6523 Airline ticket and service agents
  • 6524 Ground and water transport ticket agents, cargo service representatives and related clerks
  • 6541 Security guards and related security service occupations
  • 6551 Customer services representatives – financial institutions
  • 6552 Other customer and information services representatives
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 8255 Contractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services
  • 9617 Labourers in food and beverage processing
  • 9618 Labourers in fish and seafood processing


The launch of these programs is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Essential workers feel appreciated and are encouraged to settle their roots in Canada permanently. This will help the country retain valuable talent and skills and help drive long-term economic growth.

These programs will also help Canada achieve its 2021 Immigration Levels Plan and goal of welcoming 401,000 newcomers into the country by the end of the year.

If you fall within any of the above eligibility criteria, don’t delay with your application. The programs are a sure fire fast-track way of becoming a permanent resident in Canada.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, one not to be missed!

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