From CUAET and other temporary status to permanence: Pathways to Canadian permanent residence

A groundbreaking visa to respond to the displacement caused by war in Ukraine saw Canada welcome engineers, developers, sales professionals, graphic designers, truck drivers, parents, elderly parents, kids, and pets. Our team has been lucky enough to know some of them as they build their careers and community in Canada.   

On March 17, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) which enables Ukrainian nationals and their families to come to Canada as quickly as possible, while also providing them with the ability to work or study while in Canada. This is a special, accelerated temporary pathway and currently does not provide permanent residence. Since its release and at the time of writing, IRCC has approved over 302,000 CUAET applications. 

Our team supports TalentLift candidates who arrive on temporary visas like CUAET to navigate their pathway to permanent residence. We’re sharing this overview for the many more folks across Canada exploring their options. 

If you have applied for the CUAET or have arrived in Canada under another temporary pathway and you wish to remain in Canada and apply for permanent residence, there are a number of different pathway options that may be available to you and are outlined below. Please note that the correct pathway for you is best determined by an immigration professional after an individual assessment has been made. The below options are intended for information purposes only. 

Express Entry 

Express Entry is an online Canadian immigration selection system for skilled workers. It is completely electronic and applicants are chosen to become permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and take part in the Canadian economy. It is not an immigration program in itself, but a method for selecting the best candidates from one of the following existing skilled worker immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and/or Canadian Experience Class. Some Provincial Nomination Programs, which will be explained in further detail below, have an option of applying through Express Entry, as well. 

Provincial Nominee Programs

Most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate foreign nationals through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Applicants must have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory, and must want to live there. Most PNP programs require a job offer from an eligible employer before being eligible to apply.

After receiving a nomination, you can apply to the Canadian government for permanent residence which will process the application in around 16 months. Some provinces allow you to apply for a nomination through the Express Entry system. This usually involves creating an Express Entry profile first, submitting a nomination application to a province or territory, then once you receive your nomination certificate, you add it to your Express Entry profile to receive additional points. 

Each province and territory has its own “streams” (immigration programs that target certain groups) and criteria for their PNP. The following provinces and territories have provincial nomination programs, and links to their websites are included below:

The Atlantic Immigration Program 

The Atlantic Immigration Program is a pathway to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador. The program helps employers hire qualified candidates for jobs they haven’t been able to fill locally. 

To apply through this program, you will need a job offer from a designated Atlantic employer. More information on the program including eligibility requirements can be found here.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) is a community-driven program. It’s designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of the 11 participating communities located across Canada. 

To apply through this program, you will need a job offer from an employer in one of the RNIP communities. More information on the program including eligibility requirements can be found here.

Other skilled worker programs

Additional skilled worker programs are available that allow temporary residents to become permanent that are more specialized. These include:

  • Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
  • Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
  • Business Immigration
  • Quebec Immigration

Permanent Residence pathways not based on skilled work 

There are other pathways to permanent residence that are not based on an applicant’s skilled work experience. These include:

  • Expedited Family Sponsorship for Ukrainians
  • Humanitarian and compassionate grounds

TalentLift continues to work in partnership with hiring teams across the country, alongside IRCC, provinces, territories and supporting NGOs and advocates for the improvement and expansion of pathways from temporary to permanent residence. 

CUAET represents a fantastic Canadian response to a displacement crisis. It has allowed swift, large scale relocation to Canada of talented people and their extended families who will contribute to this country for generations. It gives us a model for what’s possible in responding to refugee crises around the world, and TalentLift continues our advocacy to replicate CUAET innovations for all displaced talent.

Candidates living in refugee circumstances and seeking a job in Canada can join TalentLift. Employers seeking global talent while engaging their team in something transformative can start hiring.