The opportunity for students was 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”.
“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the contributions of newcomers in essential jobs”
To be eligible for the graduate stream, international graduates had to have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last four years, and no earlier than January 2017.
Those eligible were able to submit their applications through IRCC’s online portal from May 6, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The quota was reached soon after on May 7, at 13:01.
“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the contributions of newcomers in essential jobs, as we have recognised the caregivers, cooks and cashiers as our everyday heroes,” said minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco Mendicino.
“With this new pathway, we are recognising their key role in our economic recovery, allowing them to set down roots in Canada 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.”
The temporary resident to permanent resident pathway is a limited-time pathway to permanent residence for certain temporary residents currently working in Canada and their families. The country also offers generous post-study work opportunities lasting up to three years, depending on the length of the study program.
People may be eligible for permanent residence if they have work experience in Canada in an essential occupation or the health or health services field or if they recently graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.
There are six streams in the pathway. Three which accept both English and French-speaking applicants and three which are specifically for French speakers.
A post on IRCC’s website said that the limit of 40,000 for recent international graduates from a Canadian institution had been reached.
“I pity vulnerable and anxious immigrants especially students who are desperate”
However, some reported that there were issues with the application process.
“It’s [an] omnishambles! The payment system failed on the first day of applications and the second day one stream is full. I pity vulnerable and anxious immigrants especially students who are desperate,” one Twitter user said.
Another, Vishnu Venugopal said that the policy for international graduates was unfair – “they put out the guide one day before and in 24 hours, it’s full,” he said.
The PIE News contacted IRCC to ask whether the payment system had failed on the first day of applications, but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.
While the 40,000 application limit has been reached for graduates this is not the case for those graduates who are French-speaking.
IRCC’s website says that there is currently no cap for French-speaking recent international graduates from a Canadian institution.
According to IRCC, the portal will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until we have reached the maximum number of applications.
It is hoped that the pathway to residency will 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”.
“International students are extremely valuable members of our university communities and beyond”
Back when the pathway to residency for international graduates was announced in April, Universities Canada told The PIE that it “sends the message that the contributions of international students and graduates are important to the economy – both during the pandemic and the recovery”.
“International students are extremely valuable members of our university communities and beyond. They enhance our classrooms with diverse perspectives; they contribute more than $22 billion annually to the Canadian economy; and they expand course offerings for domestic students.
“Those who choose to stay in Canada after their studies enter the workforce with valuable skills and experience. Universities across Canada want these students here,” the spokesperson said.