Canada provides clarity on eligibility criteria on new immigration programs

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  • May 31, 2021

Canada launched 6 new pathways this month to secure permanent residency for the international graduates, essential workers and French speakers. The programs were launched on May 6 where three of the new programs will make a way for 90,000 news immigrants to get PR this year. The other three streams are for French-speaking immigrants that have no specified intake cap.

The English-speaking International Graduate stream reached its quota of 40,000 applications after one day. However, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has stated IRCC is open to exploring adjusting the quotas under the various streams.

The two English-speaking essential worker streams have had over 11,000 applications submitted. Combined, their quota is 50,000 applications.

The program guidelines issued on IRCC’s website on May 26 are meant to help IRCC staff assess applications submitted under the six PR streams.

The guidelines state that applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be approved under any of the six streams:

  • Legal entry into Canada and status as a temporary resident
  • Official language proficiency
  • Current work experience
  • Intent to reside outside of Quebec
  • Qualifying work experience
  • Education requirements


Legal entry into Canada and status as a temporary resident:

Candidate must be present in Canada during the application on temporary resident status and must be physically present in Canada when IRCC approves application and PR is received. Those who do not have temporary resident status in Canada, such as refugee claimants, are not eligible under the six PR streams.


Official Language Proficiency:

Essential workers must obtain a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 4 on a language test that is designated by IRCC. International graduates need a score of at least 5.


  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System (General Training test only)
  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program


  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
  • TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français (in French only)


Current work experience:

Applicants must be working to be eligible for the streams. IRCC notes the current employment…

  • must be in Canada
  • can be in any occupation
  • must be legal
  • must be paid in wages or commission
  • is not self-employed work unless working as a paid medical doctor for a health authority


Intent to reside outside of Quebec:

The six programs are available to applicants who intend to reside anywhere in Canada outside the province of Quebec. IRCC staff are instructed to inform an applicant of their concerns if they are not convinced the applicant intends to reside outside of Quebec.


Qualifying work experience:

Essential workers must meet the following criteria:

  • have gained work experience in an eligible National Occupation Classification (NOC) code of at least 1,560 hours in the three years before the application has been submitted
  • the applicant must have been authorized to work in Canada
  • the work occurred in Canada
  • wages or commission were paid
  • the applicant must not have been self-employed unless they were a medical doctor being paid by a health authority


Education requirements:

International graduates must meet the following requirements:

  • The program of study completed at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • The applicant completed their program at a Canadian DLI no earlier than January 2017
  • The applicant must have had a study permit while enrolled at the DLI
  • The applicant received an eligible credential (e.g., a degree, diploma, certificate or attestation from a program leading to a job in a skilled trade)
  • One or more credentials will be accepted if the combined study in Canada is equivalent to a 2-year credential (at least 16 months in duration)

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