10 months ago today we began our campaign for full and permanent immigration status for all. Today, migrants won a major victory. At least 90,000 more people and their families will get permanent resident status!
Migrants bravely spoke up about injustice and forced the federal government to acknowledge that permanent resident status is necessary to be able to access or assert basic rights. Today’s announcement proves that the federal government can change immigration rules. Full and permanent immigration status for all in the country and permanent resident status on arrival for all in the future is possible and we will not stop until we win it. Nothing less is acceptable. Your support has been crucial in this victory and we ask you to recommit to this fight.
Today’s announcement creates a partial and short-term opening to PR for some but does not change the fundamentally temporary nature of the immigration system. Each year hundreds of thousands of people come with temporary permits. The new program only includes migrants with select work experience and denies status to anyone who is unemployed, even in an economic downturn.
All undocumented migrants – over 500,000 people – are excluded from this new program, despite the essential work many are doing in our communities. It is the temporary immigration system that has pushed our communities out of status, and it is the same immigration system that continues to keep us out.
The new program includes English language requirements which will exclude many groups of workers and entire communities. Many migrants who otherwise could meet the language requirements will be scrambling to get testing and accreditation done during this short window because of COVID-19 related shutdowns.
It is crucial that in this moment we assert that all of us are essential. All migrants, no matter what kind of work we do, waged or unwaged, must be included. Permanent resident status is not a gift or a prize to be earned – it is the only way to ensure equality of rights and access to basic services. Anything less permits and produces inequality.
If you are a migrant who fulfills the criteria below you may be able to apply for permanent resident status. But remember, we won this because of collective action, and we cannot stop until we win STATUS FOR ALL.
Here’s what migrants are saying
“For us undocumented migrant workers, we know that our work is truly essential. So it is disappointing to see that in this announcement we are excluded. When the government does not address the temporary migrant workers program’s fundamental issue, these changes, although welcomed, indeed fall short of the aspirations of ALL migrants and advocates. It simply reinforces the existing neoliberal agenda within the Canadian immigration system.”
– Marisol B. Migrante Canada
“Undocumented people like me work on the frontlines in long-term care homes, caring for the sick and the elderly, and in many other essential jobs. Why are we being excluded? Without permanent resident status, we are shut out of healthcare, even the COVID19 vaccine, we can’t defend ourselves against bad bosses, and we live in constant fear of detention and deportation”.
– Lily, Caregivers Action Centre
“For the first time, some seasonal agricultural workers may have a path to permanent resident status, but the requirement for passing a high level English test excludes the majority of us. This is discrimination. They call us essential, but they continue to exclude us. We demand status for all.”
– Gabriel Flores, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
“As essential workers we do permanent work and therefore we should be granted FULL and PERMANENT IMMIGRATION STATUS so we can bring our family the soonest in Canada and be reunited, especially with our children who needed our guidance as their parents. We give so much of our life to improve Canada’s economy by serving our Canadian employers with the best of our service even though we missed our family back home. We shouldn’t wait any longer – full and permanent immigration status for all migrants now!”
– Judy, Vancouver Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights
“The immigration program announcement excludes migrant student workers like me who do not meet these narrow and arbitrary requirements. We have seen over and over that the government can make changes but is choosing not to make the necessary changes that we all deserve. All migrant and undocumented people deserve full and permanent immigration status! “
– Sashanna, Migrant Students United
On April 14, 2021, the federal government announced the creation of a new short-term program for permanent residency. To qualify for the program, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- You must be working at the time of application. You must be authorized to work or be eligible to restore your work authorization. You do not necessarily need to be employed in the sector through which you qualify for the program. Self-employed work in any qualifying sector does not count.
- You must have temporary status in Canada. Most refugee claimants with work permits do not have temporary status. Undocumented people are excluded.
- If you are applying through Stream A or B, you must have 12 months (1560 hours) of accumulated work experience in the previous 3 years in the qualifying sectors.
- If you are applying through Stream A or B, you must prove CLB Level 4 language competency. If you are applying through the educational stream, you must prove CLB Level 5.
- You must not be inadmissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- You must be inside Canada, and cannot reside in Quebec. If you are in Quebec, you can apply but you must prove that you will not continue to live in Quebec.
- You must file a complete application online, and pay fees (approximately $1,133) when you apply.
- The streams are:
- STREAM A & B: 20,000 spots for temporary workers in 40 occupations in health care and 30,000 spots for temporary workers in 95 selected essential occupations including caregiving and food production and distribution. Click here for list of occupations.
- EDUCATIONAL STREAM: 40,000 spots for international students who have graduated with a minimum 8 month degree from a university, or a 16 month certificate or diploma from a Canadian college in the last 4 years, but no earlier than January 2017. You do not need any work experience for these two avenues. If you completed an education term shorter than the 16 month certificate, but your education led to a skilled trade you are also eligible. You must have met the conditions of your study permit throughout your studies. Click here for list of occupations and more details.
- French-speaking or bilingual candidates outside of Quebec are eligible through the same streams but do not have a cap on spots. See more here and here.
Applications will open on May 6 and will remain open for six months or when the caps are reached. Other final details will only be available when the program opens on May 6th.
If you do not qualify for this program, do not lose hope. This program was only created because migrants spoke up, we must continue to raise our voice to call for full and permanent immigration status for all.