On 14 December 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee who worked in Canada’s health-care sector and provided direct care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic

To apply, applicants residing inside Canada (outside of Quebec) must submit an application for permanent residence to IRCC. IRCC will then assess the applicant’s eligibility and ensure admissibility requirements met. If an applicant is successful, they will then be granted permanent residency in Canada. This policy does not apply tot those refugee claimants currently living in Quebec.

The application process opened 14 December 2020 and end on 31 August 2021. During this time, family members of the applicant who are living in Canada can be included on the application. However, they must also meet the admissibility requirements.

To qualify, individuals must meet all of the following criteria:

  • have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • were issued a work permit after they made a claim for asylum
  • have 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)
  • have worked in a designated occupation for no less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020 and August 14, 2020. The designated occupations that are included in this special measure are orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides and patient service associates, assistant orderlies and certain home support workers.
  • demonstrate 6 months of experience in the designated occupation before being granted permanent residence. Applicants will have until August 31, 2021 to acquire this experience.
  • have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), if wishing to reside in Quebec
  • meet existing admissibility requirements, such as criminality, security and health.

In addition, applicants’ internship experience both paid and unpaid will also be considered as long as it is an essential part of a post-secondary study program or vocational training in one of the designated occupations.

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced this policy to recognize the significant contribution and risk to their health that failed and pending refugee claimants have made during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also benefits the families of refugee claimants who may have contracted COVID-19 and passed away while working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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