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On December 9, 2020, IRCC announced that it will begin accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee claimants who work in Canada’s health care sector. Canada’s move comes after many refugee advocates spoke up about recognizing the significant efforts and sacrifices made by refugee claimants in Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must satisfy specific criteria in order to be eligible under the new program:

  • must have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • must have a valid work permit issued after their asylum claim
  • have worked in the health care sector (e.g., hospitals, long-term care homes, home care agencies, assisted living facilities)
  • have worked in a designated occupation for at least 120 hours between March 13 – August 14, 2020. Designated occupations include orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides, patient service associates, assistant orderlies, and certain home support workers.
  • must demonstrate at least 6 months’ experience in the designated occupation before being granted PR, and by the latest, until August 31, 2021 to acquire such experience
  • for those wishing to live in Quebec, must have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ)
  • must meet existing admissibility requirements, including those concerning criminality, security, and health

Recognizing that some otherwise eligible applicants may have passed away due to COVID-19, the program is extended to spouses and common-law partners of such individuals who are inside Canada and arrived before August 14, 2020.

IRCC will also consider applicants’ internship experience (whether paid or unpaid) as long as it was completed as an essential element of a post-secondary study program or vocational training program in one of the designated occupations listed above.

Refugee claimants who were found ineligible to have their claims referred to the IRB, or had their claims withdrawn or abandoned, are excluded from applying to this new temporary program.

How to Apply

Applicants outside Quebec must submit their PR application to IRCC. Those residing inside Quebec must first submit their PR application to IRCC, however once IRCC determines they have met the requirements,  the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration du Québec will validate whether the applicants meet the requirements under Quebec’s program and will then issue the Quebec Selection Certificate.

IRCC is accepting applications between December 14, 2020 and August 31, 2021.


Author Monique

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