Canada’s New Immigration Program for Essential Workers and Graduates

The month of May was, for most immigrants in Canada, a month of joy as Minister Marco Mendicino announced on May 14 a new immigration program for essential workers and graduates in Canada.

The reactions gathered from foreign residents following this announcement showed that the announcement came right on time because there are already many foreign residents whose work permits have expired or are about to expire.      

Canada is introducing a new open work permit program for individuals who have applied through the recently opened pathway to permanent residence for essential workers and international graduates.

The new program will begin accepting applications on July 26, 2021. In order to qualify for this one-time open work permit, applicants must show that they:

  • Have successfully applied to one of the new permanent residence pathway’s streams
  • Held a valid work permit or were authorized to work without a work permit at the time their permanent residence application was submitted
  • Hold a valid work permit that is set to expire within the next four months
  • Have temporary resident status, maintained status or are eligible to restore their status at the time their open work permit application is submitted
  • Are in Canada at the time their open work permit application is submitted
  • Met the language requirements of the stream under which they applied at the time their permanent residence application was submitted

Overview of the New Permanent Residence Pathways

More than 90,000 temporary residents in Canada have the opportunity to become permanent residents this year through six new immigration pathways that were officially launched on May 6.

These new Canadian immigration pathways will target essential workers, international students, and French speakers.

The new programs were announced on April 14 by Marco Mendicino, Canada’s immigration minister, and the application will be accepted until November 5, 2021, or until the program quota is reached. 

The whole essence of this is to further Canada’s initiative to help more temporary residents in Canada to remain in the country permanently.

Eligibility Criteria for the Immigration Program (Essential Workers and Graduate Stream)

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be in Canada on valid status (or eligible to restore status)
  • Be physically present in Canada at the time the application is submitted and at the time the application is approved.
  • Have the intention to reside outside the province of Quebec
  • Be criminally and medically admissible to Canada.

Application Procedures and Required Documents the Immigration Program

The application process will be broken down into four steps here.

Gather Supporting Documents

When applicants sign up for IRCC’s online application portal, a document checklist will be generated based on the applicant’s profile and then sent to them.

All applicants will require the following documents:

  • Proof of entry and status in Canada
  • Proof of current employment in Canada (work permit — if applicable, employer reference letter, pay stubs)
  • Proof of language proficiency (approved language test results less than two years old).
  • Passports (biodata page)
  • Immigration Medical Exams (IME)
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Photographs

For the essential workers’ stream, all applicants must submit the following support documents as proof of qualifying Canadian work experience in an eligible occupation:

  • A copy of the work permit (if applicable)
  • Employer reference letters for the periods of qualifying work which include:
    • The location of work
    • Period of employment
    • Description of main duties and responsibilities which matches an eligible National Occupational Classification code
    • Salary and benefits
    • Hours worked per week
    • Employer’s name
    • Signature
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email
  • Applicants must also include copies of T4 tax slips and Notice of Assessment (if applicable), or work contracts, or pay stubs.

All applicants under the graduate stream must submit the following support documents as proof of their qualifying Canadian educational credential, which include:

  • A final transcript, and
  • A letter from the institution and/or the formal notice of graduation.

Applicants must provide proof that shows the following:

  • The type of credential granted (degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation)
  • The length (in weeks, months, or years) of the program of study,
  • The date of completion;
  • The name of the school that granted the degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation.

Additional documents may be required depending on the profile of the applicant. These may include identity and civil status documents, documents relating to family members and familial relationships, etc.

Any documents submitted in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Completing the Application

Once candidates have registered for the application portal, they will be required to submit personal information, upload supporting documents, and complete and upload a variety of required forms.

Forms can be completed by downloading them onto a computer and completing the required fields.

Pay the Fee

Once an application is complete, you must pay the required fees. Make sure you thoroughly check all documents before you make payments.

  • Your permanent residence fees (principal applicant): CAD$1,050 (includes a $550 processing fee and a $500 right of permanent residence fee)
  • Spouse or partner’s permanent residence fees (if applicable): CAD$1,050 (includes a $550 processing fee and a $500 right of permanent residence fee
  • Dependent children’s fees, per child (if applicable): CAD$150
  • Biometrics fees: CAD$85 for a single applicant or CAD$170 for a family

All fees must be paid at the time of submission — if your application is refused, you will receive a refund, but only of the $500 right of permanent residence fees paid by adult applicants.

Submitting Application

When ready, applicants can apply. Currently, it is not known how long application processing will take for these programs.

Can I apply with my spouse or family?

Applicants are eligible to apply with their spouse or partner and dependent children, giving families the opportunity to obtain Canadian permanent residence together.

Do I Need Work Experience to be eligible for this Program?

Candidates must have at least one year of full-time work experience, or an equivalent amount in part-time experience (1,560 hours), gained within Canada in the three years prior to applying.

Do I Need Language Proficiency to be Eligible?

Candidates must submit results from an approved language test in either English or French, showing results consistent with the Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 4 (CLB 4).
Remember, French speakers are exempt from the program quotas.

What are my Qualifying Educational Credentials for Essential Graduate Stream?

A degree is issued upon completion of a program at least eight months.
A degree, diploma, certificate, or attestation issued upon completion of a program of any duration, so long as it has led to an occupation in a skilled trade.


Minister Mendicino admitted that the pandemic had shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers, recognizing the incredible contribution of temporary residents in Canada, especially through the challenges of the past year.

The minister said that these new immigration policies for essential workers and graduates would help those with temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help Canada build back better.

Therefore, take advantage of this opportunity. Make sure to share this article with your friends. Cheers.