Special program for temporary workers and international students announced

This week, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Marco Mendicino, made an announcement that we were already waiting for. It was another surprise, since we had one last February 13 when the score necessary for workers with Canadian Work Experience to apply for permanent residence dropped to 75 points.

This week, on April 14, Minister Mendicino announced a special program that allows permanent residency to 90,000 temporary workers and international students, who have been actively contributing to the Canadian economy.

It is a program for which the regulations are not yet in place, but which will give permanent residence to temporary workers and international students who are already in Canada, who have been working here with a work permit, and who have been working against the pandemic and to accelerate the economic recovery of the country.

The main focus of this program is going to be people who are employed in hospitals and long-term health care facilities, as well as in essential jobs. In the same way, international students will be allowed to apply.

To be eligible, workers must have at least one year of work experience in a profession that is related to health, and there is a huge list that includes nurse coordinators, nurses, doctors, therapists, laboratory technicians, people who have to see with dental assistants, nursing assistants, etc.

It also includes essential workers such as people who work in food businesses, some in skilled labor, in industry, transportation, construction workers, people who come to harvest, delivery couriers, cleaners, farmers, fish farmers, operators of machines and lots of other jobs, so check the list carefully and see if the person is going to qualify, particularly when you have the specific details of the program.

International students, for their part, must have completed post-secondary studies in the last four years, that is, from January 2017. The program will start operating on May 6, 2021 and there will be three different groups: they will accept 20,000 applications from health workers, 30,000 temporary workers (who are doing essential jobs), and 40,000 applications from international students who have graduated from a Canadian institution.

The program will remain open until November 5, 2021 or until the 90,000 positions are filled. 

Another special program exclusively for people who speak French will also be launched, in which there will also be three groups, but there will not be a specific number in each one. The idea is to try to increase the francophone communities in Canada.

The Minister of Immigration said that the pandemic has shown the incredible contribution that newcomers to Canada make, so this new policy will help people with temporary status to plan their future in Canada and play an important role in the economic recovery of the country and in helping to rebuild Canada in a better way. The message that Minister Mendicino gave is that the status of these people may be temporary but their contribution has a long-term duration and we want them to stay in the country.

What is behind this announcement is that in 2020 Canada fell short of more than 45% of the number of immigrants it was supposed to bring, that is, we fell short of 185 thousand immigrants; and the projection for this year is to bring 401 thousand immigrants. This means that in total we have to bring around 586 thousand immigrants to fill the quotas for last year and this year. And we started 2021 very badly, with the borders closed and therefore with the inability to give residency to the people who are needed for the recovery of the economy and to fill the quotas that have been projected.

In this logic, what is happening is something that the government has already been saying, that within Canada we have the people that are needed to reach those numbers of immigrants, and that is precisely what the Minister of Immigration is doing. We already saw in February that the score for the Canadian Experience Class program was lowered and just over 23 thousand people who were already working in the country were given the possibility of applying for residency, and now with this announcement we will be reaching the quota of more or less a quarter of the quota for this year.

Obviously these announcements are being made because immigrants are needed in order to maintain the Canadian economy and to recover from the effects of the pandemic. Something else that has been seen in terms of the Express Entry programs is that the score has also been lowered significantly so that there are more people who qualify within the Canadian Experience Class program.

From the outset, we assume that the process will be very similar to the one used regularly, that applicants will have to fill out all the forms and must demonstrate that they have worked in the areas that are open for this program, they should have employment letters in which it is shown that they meet the requirements of the occupation, and international students must have proof that they actually completed their courses after January 2017.

In the same way, as in all immigration processes, they must pass medical examinations and security and police checks, because if a person is inadmissible to Canada they will not give them permanent residence, so they will have to prove that they are admissible.

Interested parties should contact immigration consultants or immigration attorneys to check if they fall into the categories that have been announced, and to begin preparing since the program launches on May 6, and once it is launched. fill the quotas the admissions will be cut.

I really think that this announcement is an excellent measure because it seems that the process is going to be relatively simple and because it is giving the opportunity to obtain permanent residence to people who in other circumstances are not given, such as workers of unskilled labor. Because agricultural workers, cleaners and many of these people are never allowed to apply for permanent residence, and as we recently talked with Senator Rosa Galvez, one effect that this pandemic has had is that the country has realized that essential workers are not necessarily academics, but cleaners and people who work in food distribution and sales. They are the essentials, the farmers, who have always been looked down upon in terms of giving them the possibility of obtaining permanent residence.

In this sense, it seems to me that the announcement is a very important step and that I hope that they will not be taken into account only now due to the need for immigrants and the closure of the border, but that the possibility that these workers will continue in the future can obtain permanent residence.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the program is only for people who are in Canada with a work permit and therefore does not include the undocumented, but we have to see when the regulations arrive if the people who are requesting refuge can enter this process. Once we have the information we will provide it.

Vilma C. Filici