A new, one-time program of immigration will grant permanent residence to asylum seekers in Canada who are working on the frontlines of the healthcare industry.
The decision could affect about 1,000 claimants across Canada but excludes many asylum seekers working in jobs deemed to be essential, but not in the healthcare industry. The federal government had initially sought to offer permanent residence to asylum seekers in other occupations deemed essential during the pandemic, but the province of Quebec took a more narrow approach to the one-time immigration program.
In a compromise with Quebec, the federal government will offer residency to frontline healthcare workers only. Given the tone of the negotiations, it is unlikely that the program will be expanded in the future to include other categories of workers.
Requirements to qualify for the for asylum seekers in Canada program
To qualify for the program, 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 healthcare sector, in health institutions (for example, hospitals, longterm 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.
- demonstrate six months of experience in a 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, including those related to criminality, security and health
Designated occupations eligible under the new program
- Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (NOC code 3011);
- Registered nurses (NOC code 3012);
- Auxiliary nurses (NOC code 3233);
- Orderlies and orderlies, nursing aides, orderlies and orderlies (NOC code 3413);
- Home support assistants (NOC code 4412: for professions that involve direct personal care only).