Canada has announced a temporary measure that will provide a pathway to permanent residency for asylum claimants working in the health-care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is in recognition of their exceptional service in filling an essential need since the beginning of the pandemic.


Under this measure, asylum claimants across the country who are working on the front lines providing direct care to patients in health-care institutions will be able to apply for permanent residency if they meet the criteria.  

Those who have been found ineligible to make an asylum claim, or who have withdrawn or abandoned their claims, would be excluded from applying.

Eligibility criteria:

  • have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • were issued a work permit after they made a claim for asylum
  • have worked in the health-care sector, in health institutions (for example, hospitals, long-term care homes, home care through an organization or agency, assisted living facilities)
  • have worked in a designated occupation for no less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020 and August 14, 2020. The designated occupations that are included in this special measure are orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides and patient service associates, assistant orderlies and certain home support workers.
  • 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.
  • have a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), if wishing to reside in Quebec
  • meet existing admissibility requirements, including those related to criminality, security and health  




Quebec’s Immigration Minister also announced that a new immigration program will be available to asylum seekers who have provided health care assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Special Program for Asylum Seekers During COVID-19 is available to eligible individuals currently awaiting a decision on their refugee status as well as those who have had their refugee claim refused. 

Those qualifying individuals who wish to reside in Quebec must meet below criteria-


  • They must have been employed in an eligible health-related job and provided direct patient care between March 13, 2020, and August 14, 2020, for at least 120 hours;
  • They must have acquired the equivalent of a least six months of full-time or 750 hours of part-time or full-time work experience in Quebec before or during the period of application of the immigration program in a public or private health institution or a company that specializes in-home care; and 
  • They must have met all the listed conditions at the latest by August 31, 2021.

List of admissible occupations: 

  • Nursing co–ordinators and nursing supervisors (NOC code 3011)
  • Registered nurses (NOC code 3012)
  • Licensed practical nurses (NOC code 3233)
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC code 3413)
  • Home support workers (NOC code 4412 related to direct personal care)
  • Workplaces considered eligible under this new program include those in the public sector, such as hospitals, CLSCs, rehabilitation centres, CHSLDs, as well as those in the private sector, including private homes for the elderly or private home care providers.