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Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm
Sep 23, 2020

Pathway to Permanent Residence for Pandemic Workers

Genevieve Giesbrecht

Pathway to Permanent Residence for Pandemic Workers

On August 14, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino announced a new pathway for permanent residence. The pathway targets asylum claimants who have been working in healthcare on the frontlines of the pandemic. The media has called these workers “guardian angels” as they have played a vital role in Canada’s fight against the global pandemic.

This new pathway is designed to recognize the service of these workers, as they demonstrated “a uniquely Canadian quality in that they were looking out for others”, according to Mendicino. It also highlights the important role that these workers play in Canada’s economy. 

This program also emphasizes Canada’s commitment to family reunification. Family members of the principal applicant currently in Canada will also be granted permanent residence if the application is approved.


In order to be eligible to apply under this program, applicants must:

  • Have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • Have been issued a work permit, after they claimed asylum
  • Worked in the health care sector or in health institutions
  • Worked in a designated role
  • Worked no less than 120 hours between March 13 and August 14, 2020
  • Have 6 months of work experience in the designated role by August 31, 2021
  • Be admissible to Canada
  • Have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), for applicants wishing to live in Québec
  • Not have been found ineligible for, or have withdrawn or abandoned, a claim for refugee claim. However, those who have had a refugee claim denied are still eligible.

Designated Role

The government of Quebec has listed the following roles that fall under this program:

  • Nursing coordinators and supervisors
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Nurse aids, orderlies and patient service associates
  • Certain home support workers

The Government of Canada has published a similar list.

Excluded Roles

It is important to note that solely working in a healthcare setting is insufficient to qualify an asylum seeker for this program. For example, security, maintenance, and food services staff will not be able to apply under this program, despite being deemed essential workers for other purposes. Thus, it is important to look at the exact requirements of the program before applying.

Application Process

The application process has not been released, but it is expected that more information will be available shortly. In the meantime, if you wish to discuss your options for permanent residence in Canada, please contact our office

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