On 14 August 2020, the federal government announced a temporary pathway to permanent residency for refugee claimants working in the health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure will apply to persons anywhere in Canada.
We do not yet know the details of the measure or how to apply. However, we do know certain things.
Basic eligibility requirements
The person must:
- have made a refugee claim before March 13, 2020. The claim may be waiting for a decision at the Immigration and Refugee Board (Refugee Protection Division or Refugee Appeal Division), or refused. However, the person does not qualify if the claim was found ineligible, or was withdrawm or abandoned.
- have been issued a work permit after they made their refugee claim. (If the work permit later expired, that should not exclude the person.)
- have worked in the health-care sector, in health institutions, in a designated occupation (see below) for no less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020 and August 14, 2020.
- 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.
- meet other basic immigration requirements, including those related to criminality, security and health.
The following National Occupation Classifications (NOC) qualify (Source: Quebec release)
- 3011 – Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
- 3012 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
- 3233 – Licensed practical nurses
- 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
- 4412 – Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
Applying for the measure
The government has not yet developed the application process and it is not currently possible to apply. It is therefore not clear what evidence applicants will need to submit.
We expect that:
- Processing fees will be waived (but applicants will need to pay the Permanent Residence fee if accepted).
- If applicants have a claim pending at the IRB, the claim will be suspended while they apply.
- Applicants will not be removed while their application is being considered.
- Applicants will be able to include in their application immediate family members in Canada. However, family members who are outside Canada would need to be sponsored through the Family Class after the successful applicant is granted permanent residence.