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Canada to Ease Restrictions for Doctors to Become Permanent Residents

Austin Campbell

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Permanent Resident

IRCC announced that the immigrant doctors working in Canada on a temporary visa will qualify to apply for permanent residency under the Express Entry program. Most doctors in Canada have been practicing a ‘fee-for-service’ payment model which is completely different from the usual employer-employee setup. Doctors are considered self-employed, which does not make them eligible for Express Entry.

All self-employed applicants are not ineligible. If an applicant has garnered a year of work experience internationally, or as an employee in Canada, they may still qualify for an Express Entry program. Currently, Canada is experiencing a labour shortage of healthcare workers like physicians, worsened by the pandemic. Now, Canada has a job vacancy rate of approximately 6% in the healthcare sector.

As of June 2022, around 4300 permanent residents were admitted under the healthcare streams of the temporary residence to permanent residence pathway. Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser mentioned removing these restrictions will act as a signal to physicians that they are welcome to stay in Canada. He also added that “In my province, foreign-born physicians have been helping to keep families healthy and take care of the aging population.”

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Canada is facing a shortage of healthcare workers

The recent data by IRCC suggest that one in four healthcare workers in Canada is an immigrant. This involves 36% of physicians. Similar data also explains that approximately 500,000 people are working in the healthcare sector aged above 55 and thus will hit the retirement age of 65 within the coming decade. To overcome this labour shortage in Canada across all sectors, the latest Immigration Levels Plan is aimed at the highest-ever numbers of new permanent residents across all businesses. Most newcomers will be from economic class programs.

So far this year, IRCC has approved over 8600 temporary and permanent resident applications from immigrants who would like to work in the health sector.

Express Entry Changes

The exception for physicians indicates the start of changes in Express Entry that are expected to continue into 2023. In June, Bill C-19 was passed in the parliament and it offers more authority to the IRCC to target Express Entry applicants with specific work experience, education, or language abilities, rather than issuing invitations to apply to a wider audience based on their CRS score as a current norm.

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