The opportunity is part of a wider announcement to permit permanent residency to over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who “possess the skills and experience [the country] needs to fight the pandemic and accelerate [its] economic recovery”.

Along with the international graduate option, two other streams will grant permanent status to some 20,000 temporary workers in health care and 30,000 temporary workers in other selected essential occupations.

“Your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting”

“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers,” said Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco E. L. Mendicino.

“These new policies will help those with a temporary status to plan their future in Canada, play a key role in our economic recovery and help us build back better. Our message to them is simple: your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting — and we want you to stay.”

To be eligible for the graduate stream, international graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017.

The government added that the accelerated pathway to permanent residency will encourage international graduates to “put down roots” in Canada, while it will also help the country to retain the talented workers it needs as a result of “serious demographic challenges”.

Mendicino comments are similar to those he made when revealing a new 18-month open work permit to post-graduation work permit holders earlier in 2021.

“Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here,” he said at the time.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has also extended post-graduate work permit rules to international students forced to study online  to ensure they “won’t miss out on opportunities” on work after graduation.

 

The new pathway to residency will also help Canada achieve its 2021 Immigration Levels Plan, aiming to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents, who the government say will help create jobs and drive long-term growth.

Universities Canada previously said that those immigration targets are a “positive signal to international students that Canada is eager to welcome skilled talent from around the world”.

IRCC also said three additional streams with no intake caps have been launched for French-speaking or bilingual candidates in order to promote Canada’s official languages. The pathway will contribute to the vitality of Canada’s Francophone minority communities, it added.

“As we continue the fight against the pandemic, immigration will remain critical to our economic recovery by addressing labour shortages and adding growth to our workforce,” the government said.

In 2020, Colleges and Institutes Canada highlighted the “critical” role international talent could play in the post-Covid economic recovery.

IRCC will begin accepting applications for the three streams on May 6, 2021. The graduate stream will end on November 5, 2021, or once 40,000 applications have been received, whichever comes first.

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