Canada launching immigration programs for refugees working in healthcare


On December 14, Canada will begin accepting applications for permanent residence from refugee claimants who provided direct healthcare to Canadians.

Canada’s minister of immigration, Marco Mendicino, had announced two new temporary immigration programs this past summer. One is for refugees in Quebec, and the other is for refugees in other Canadian provinces. The program is intended primarily for orderlies, nurses, and service aides.

Applications are open from December 14 to August 31, 2021. Applicants must meet existing admissibility requirements such as those related to criminality, security, and health. They can also include their family members who are in Canada to be a part of the permanent residency application.

Applicant’s internship experience will also be considered regardless of whether it was paid or not. However, it must be an essential part of a post-secondary study program, vocational training program, or a professional order requirement in one of the designated occupations.

Find out if you’re eligible for Canadian immigration

The new measures also extend to the spouses and common-law partners of refugee claimants who died from contracting coronavirus in Canada. These family members may be eligible if they arrived in Canada before August 14, 2020.

Applicants outside Quebec must send their applications to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. Canada’s immigration department will make the decisions on which applicants get permanent residence, based on whether they meet eligibility criteria and other admissibility requirements.

Applicants in Quebec

Quebec applicants must first submit their applications to IRCC. Once Canada has determined that they meet the requirements, Quebec will then take over the application.

The Quebec immigration department, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI), will validate whether or not the applicants meet the requirements for their special asylum seekers’ program. If the applicant is successful, they will receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).

The federal government will grant permanent residence once all eligibility requirements are met.

Quebec has more immigration powers than other Canadian provinces, and is allowed to set separate eligibility criteria for refugees.

To be selected by Quebec, applicants must:

  • Have applied for asylum before March 13 and have obtained a work permit;
  • Have worked a minimum of 750 hours in one of the eligible occupations prior to September 1, 2021.
  • Have worked at least 120 of those hours between March 13 and August 14 2020
  • Internships completed in the health sector as part of a program of study leading to eligible jobs or to meet the requirements of a professional order for eligible jobs may be counted towards the hours required by the program.

Principal applicants may include their family members in Canada in their application.

In addition, the Quebec program will also accept applications from spouses and common-law partners of claimants who worked in an eligible job in Canada between March 13 and August 14, 2020 and who died as a result of COVID-19.

This new regularization program for refugee claimants who worked during the pandemic is the result of several months of negotiations between the Canadian and Quebec governments. There is no cap on applications for the Quebec program.

Find out if you’re eligible for Canadian immigration

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