From December 14, 2020, to August 31, 2021, the Government of Canada is accepting applications through a new immigration program that allows certain asylum seekers who have been working in crucial healthcare roles during the COVID-19 crisis to apply for permanent resident status. IRCC announced the program of the program in August, as a way of honouring the incredible contributions made by refugee claimants in Canada during the pandemic.
Throughout the health crisis, asylum seekers in Canada have been critical in providing services and care, especially in long-term care facilities where COVID-19 has hit the hardest. This program will recognize the incredible contributions made by these asylum seekers by enabling them to stay in Canada permanently.
Who is eligible for Canada’s PR pathway for asylum seekers working in healthcare during the pandemic?
In order to be eligible for the program, asylum seekers must have claimed asylum prior to March 13, 2020, and received a work permit after their asylum claim. Applicants must have then worked in the health-care sector, in health institutions (for example, hospitals, long-term care homes, home care through an organization or agency, assisted living facilities) for a specific amount of time — there are a few different ways to fulfill the work experience requirement.
Eligible occupations for this program include:
- 3011 – Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
- 3012 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
- 3233 – Licensed practical nurses
- 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
- 3124 – Allied primary health practitioners
- 4412 – Home support workers*
*Only certain job titles at NOC 4412 are eligible.
Accompanying family members, in many cases, are eligible to be included on the permanent residence applications of eligible applicants. Additionally, in the heartbreaking scenario in which an asylum seeker contracted COVID-19 and passed away, their spouse and common-law partner may still be eligible to apply through this pathway.
There are a few different combinations of eligibility criteria for this pathway. Candidates intending to reside in a province other than Quebec can consult full eligibility criteria here. Candidates intending to reside in the province of Quebec can consult full eligibility criteria here.