On September 23, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced easier access to permanent residence for foreign-trained physicians to help address doctor shortages in the country.
The Express Entry system posed barriers for some physicians who are seeking permanent residency due to the “fee-for-service” model used in Canada’s healthcare sector. This model places healthcare professionals outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship. Thus, some physicians are considered self-employed, making them ineligible to meet the economic pathways’ criteria required for permanent residency.
Today, Minister Fraser announced that IRCC is implementing an exemption for physicians who work with public health authorities in a fee-for-service model. This exemption recognizes the special employment model used in Canada’s healthcare system and will enable eligible physicians to access the country’s economic permanent residency pathways. As a result, more physicians who are already working in Canada and filling vital vacancies in the healthcare industry will be able to remain in the country permanently.
Over 2,500 specialized physicians, 620 nurses, and 550 nurses’ aides and orderlies had their work permit and work permit extension applications approved by IRCC in 2021. As of June 2022, the healthcare streams of the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence Pathway had admitted approximately 4,300 permanent residents.
The changes aim to attract and retain skilled healthcare professionals, especially physicians, to meet the increasing demand for medical services in Canada.