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Healthcare Pathway for Refugee Claimants

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada implemented a special measure on 14 December 2020 allowing both pending and failed refugee claimants who have performed work in the healthcare sector whilst providing direct care to patients to apply for permanent residence, once the eligibility criteria is met. Applications must be received by IRCC on or before 31 August 2021.



To be eligible to apply under this pilot, a person must show that:

  • They submitted a refugee claim prior to 13 March 2020 which failed or is still pending, and they are still residing in Canada;

  • They were issued a work permit after making a claim for refugee protection;

  • They have worked and provided direct patient care in one or more of the following occupations in Canada:

    • Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (NOC 3011)

    • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)

    • Licensed practical nurses (NOC 3233)

    • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)

    • Allied primary health practitioners (NOC 3124)

    • Home support workers (NOC 4412), except independent housekeeping

  • They, as well as their family members, are admissible to Canada;

  • They meet Quebec’s immigration and work experience requirements if they plan to live there.


A person who is the spouse or common-law partner of an eligible refugee claimant who worked in Canada’s health-care sector and died from COVID-19, may also be eligible to apply where they have been residing in Canada since 14 August 2020, are not inadmissible to Canada, and meet Quebec’s immigration requirements (if they plan to reside there).


Work Experience

The applicant must have worked for at least 120 hours between 13 March 2020 and 14 August 2020, and before 31 August 2021, must have a total of 30 hours/week for 6 months or 750 part-time hours in one of the selected occupations outlined above. These hours may be acquired cumulatively by 31 August 2020 which is the deadline to submit the application. Despite this requirement, an eligible person may submit proof of work experience after applying, but by 31 October 2021, if they plan to reside outside Quebec. 



Where a refugee claim was determined to be ineligible for referral to the IRB, withdrawn, abandoned or deemed manifestly unfounded or with no credible basis, the refugee claimant cannot apply for permanent residence under this pilot. Furthermore, cessation or vacation of protection and involvement in prohibited acts such as crime against humanity, war crimes and serious non-political crimes are also grounds for ineligibility.

We are here to help!  For more information about this pilot, you may contact us using our contact form

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