Canadian government is set to introduce a new pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals working in Canada in essential jobs such as personal support and health services, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced on Wednesday.
The new policy will allow up to 90,000 workers and international graduates already in Canada to convert their temporary status to permanent status, reports CBC News.
"Since COVID-19 first arrived on our shores, we have charted a course guided by one north star — that immigration is key to Canada's short term economic recovery and long term prosperity," Mendicino told a virtual news conference.
"Fundamentally, we know that by attracting and retaining the best and the brightest ... we will add more jobs, growth and diversity to our economy."
To be eligible for the new pathway, workers must have at least one year of Canadian work experience in one of 40 different health care jobs or 95 other pre-approved essential jobs.
Graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program over the last four years.
The department provided a list of occupations that are deemed essential. It includes people in a wide range of skilled trades, such as electricians and metal workers, along with farm workers, cashiers, home child care providers and French immersion teachers, among others.
Mendicino called the new policy a "broad, fast and innovative path" to permanent residency that focuses on jobs that are vital to the Canadian economy.
"This isn't just about giving people a new piece of paper. We're creating a pathway for newcomers that will strengthen their job security, expand their career horizons and encourage them to put down deeper roots in our communities where they are giving back," Mendicino said.
Eligible workers and graduates will be able to apply for permanent status through three streams between May 6, 2021 and November 5, 2021. The department will take up to 20,000 applications for temporary workers in health care, 30,000 applications for temporary workers in the essential job category and 40,000 applications for international students.
All applicants must be proficient in either English or French, and a certain portion of spots will be reserved for French-speaking or bilingual candidates.
The department says the new policy will help the government achieve its goal of welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents to the country.