Canada will grant permanent residency to more than 90,000 foreign students and workers who helped treat patients during the pandemic, the immigration minister has announced.
The program, in effect from 6 May, is intended for workers with at least one year of work experience in health care or dozens of other sectors deemed essential, from grocery store cashiers and shelf stockers, to truck drivers and farm workers, as well as graduates who’ve completed a post-secondary degree within the last four years.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said on Wednesday (local time) the measure should help Canada reach its target of welcoming more than 400,000 immigrants this year, compensating for a drop in immigration last year when the border was closed.
“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the incredible contributions of newcomers,” he told a news conference.
“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.
“Your status may be temporary, but your contributions are lasting – and we want you to stay.”
Canada is not the only country to make immigration concessions during the pandemic.
France in December last year announcedfrom foreign workers on its coronavirus frontline.
“Foreign workers gave their time and swung into action for all of us during the COVID crisis. It is now up to the Republic to take a step toward them,” France’s junior minister for citizenship, Marlène Schiappa, said at the time.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Scherer.