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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Temporary foreign workers

and public policy offering

by Michael Scott

On April 14, 2021 the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), Marco Mendicino announced a new pathway to permanent residency for over 90,000 essential temporary foreign workers and international foreign student graduates.

The initiative comes under IRPA s.25.2 (1) of the Act or as a public policy initiative of the Minster. The need is immediate and the news is exciting for temporary workers in Canada as well as international student graduates. It signals again the government’s interest to address the shortfall caused by the pandemic, giving priority to temporary foreign workers employed in our hospitals and long term care homes, and in other essential sectors.

The immigration authorities do not have to worry about the admission of these workers but rather their retention. The in-Canada workers will assist in the country’s immediate response to the coronavirus and encourage them to remain in Canada rather than return to their homelands after their temporary work status ends.

The public policy initiative also targets international student graduates as a source for future economic growth. The country needs essential and high potential workers to secure its future economic growth, and it makes good economic sense to prioritize applicants who are already in the country and working.

Effective May 6, 2021, IRCC will start accepting applications under the following 3 streams:

  • 20,000 applications for temporary workers in the health care sector;
  • 30,000 applications for temporary workers in other selected essential occupations; and
  • 40,000 international students who graduated from a Canadian learning institution.

The streams will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their cap. The total number of 90,000 will help Canada reach its intended target of 401,000 admissions of new permanent residents in 2021 as part of its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan.

The foreign national temporary workers must have at least one year of full-time work experience, or the equivalent part-time experience (1,560 hours), in Canada, in an eligible occupations listed in Annex A or Annex B in the last three (3) years.

For a detailed list of eligible occupations see Annex A for Health Related Occupations and Annex B for Other Eligible Essential Occupations, which are listed on the Canada.ca website. (See the link at the end of this article.) The one year of work experience must be obtained from health occupations listed on Annex A not combined with Annex B occupations. Stream B eligibility is also based on one year of experience from one or more Annex B occupations. The applicant must be employed at the time of application submission and demonstrate a level of English or French language proficiency of at least benchmark 4 (CLB) in each of the four language skill areas. The applicant must be a resident of Canada with valid temporary residence status and be physically present in the country at the time of application submission and approval. The applicant must also intend to settle in a province or territory other than Quebec and submit the application for the initiative online. All applicants and accompanying dependants must be admissible under the Act and Regulations.

Foreign students must have graduated from an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the past four years, and no earlier than January 2017. They must be in status at the time of their application submission and be employed in any occupation (not limited by Annex A or Annex B) and demonstrate minimum CLB 4 language proficiency at the time of application submission.

The public policy comes into force on May 6, 2021, and there should be some place to indicate that submissions are made under a special public policy initiative of the minister or under IRPA s.25.2(1). The fees for permanent residence application must be paid at the time of submissions. There will be more information as the initiative becomes operational, but it is important that foreign temporary workers and international student graduates become aware of the new offering because this public policy initiative is intended to speed up the process of acquiring permanent residence.

Minister Mendicino summarized the purpose of the public policy offeringing statement: “The pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers. These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contribution is lasting – and we want you to stay.”

The Public Policy change has opened up a promising pathway to permanent residency for eligible international student graduates and temporary workers. If you qualify, take advantage of the 90,000 spots opening up for you.

Find details of Annex A & B at: Canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/mandate/policies-operational-instructions-agreements/public-policies/trpr-Canadian-work-experience-html.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com.

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