“..Significant policy and a giant step for essential workers” – Minister
Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas
Temporary workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada will be granted permanent status, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Wednesday.
“This is a significant policy and a giant step for essential workers,” the Minister told Philippine Canadian news.Com in a telephone interview.
The new policy will grant permanent status to temporary workers and graduates who possess the skills and experience the country needs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve an economic recovery, Mendicino said.
“Canada’s path to prosperity lies through immigration because newcomers … will come and roll up their sleeves and contribute and give back in our health care sector and in many other vital areas of the economy,” he said at a news conference.
Mendicino said health care and other eligible essential workers must have at least one year of Canadian work experience to apply, while international graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years.
On May 6, the immigration department will start accepting up to 50,000 applications from health care and other essential workers and 40,000 applications from international students who graduated from a Canadian institution.
“They fill labour market shortages, offset our aging population and broaden the tax base, thereby helping fund social and public services.”
But while the announcement was hailed as a “step in the right direction,” the Vancouver-based Migrant Workers Centre says the cap on applications will leave many out in the cold.
In a press release, the migrant’s group calls for the government to remove the cap and extend the program beyond November 5, 2021. In addition, they recommended a complementary public policy to allow undocumented workers to restore their status in Canada in order to qualify for the new public policy. Finally the group want the language requirement to remover the language requirement, saying it creates an “undue burden” for applicants.
The Minister told PCN.Com th language requirement has been “adjusted” to CLB4. While acknowledging the challenges these tests pose, the Minister defended the policy saying language ability foster foster integration into society.
With regards to undocumented workers, Mendicino pointed to the department’s “guardian angel policy” which leaves the door open for workers to “revisit and renew their applications.”
The Immigration department said the new policy will help the government meet its goal to accept 401,000 new permanent residents this year.
Mendicino said the jobs that are deemed essential are the same ones that people have sometimes labelled lower-skilled.
“From caring for seniors to putting food on our tables, we now have a greater appreciation for the many skills and talents and supports that temporary workers are contributing right across our economy.”
Mendicino said he hopes Canadians will look back on this moment as a time when the country began to recognize the value of essential workers with an immigration policy that reflects appreciation for their roles.
“What began as temporary changes to keep our economy going are now blossoming into a wider shift in how we see and treat immigration to Canada,” he said.
Immigration Canada will:
- finalize permanent residence applications for up to 6,000 caregivers who have completed their in-Canada work experience and their immediate family members, by December 31, 2021
- make at least 1,500 first-stage decisions on applications for the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots by June 30, 2021
- Prioritization of these decisions will allow more caregiver work permits to be issued for those who have valid job offers to work for families in Canada.
- increase the digitization of caregiver applications
- ensure applicants receive acknowledgement of receipt letters by May 31, 2021
A new public policy is being issued so that IRCC can process applications in 2021 that were received in 2020.
The Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots were launched in 2019. They feature a clear transition for caregivers from temporary to permanent status, as well as occupation-specific, rather than employer-specific, work permits. They also provide the opportunity for caregivers and their families to move to Canada as they gain work experience. The response to these pilots suggests these features are attractive to caregivers and the Canadian families who need in-home care for a family member.
- The new public policy will take effect on May 3, 2021. Applicants to the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots in 2020 will not need to reapply.
- As of March 3, 2021, there were applications for about 12,000 caregivers and their accompanying family members in the processing inventory. This includes applications to both the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots, but also cases that we continue to finalize from caregiver programs of the past.
- As of April 8, 2021, an estimated 2,367 applications have been received for the Home Child Care Provider Pilot, representing about 86% of the number of applications that can be accepted for 2021. For the Home Support Worker Pilot, an estimated 516 applications have been received, representing about 19% of the number of applications that can be accepted in 2021.
- Nearly 2,900 caregivers and their family members became permanent residents in 2020.
- Caregivers who are already in Canada could also have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence through the recently announced creation of a permanent residence pathway for essential workers.