Priority processing for temporary workers in essential occupations

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

COVID-19 border measures have ended

On October 1, 2022, all COVID-19 border requirements, including vaccination, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, and any testing and quarantine or isolation requirements, ended for all travellers entering Canada by land, air or sea.

COVID-19 related PDIs will be updated, removed, or information incorporated into the regular PDIs, as necessary.

The instructions on this page should be reviewed in conjunction with

To strengthen Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and lay the foundation for our long-term economic growth, applications from foreign nationals working within essential services will continue to be prioritized.

Note: Work permit applicants eligible for the urgent referrals process for work permits should continue to be processed on a priority basis, where operationally feasible.

Where operationally possible, offices are encouraged to prioritize work permit applications for occupations with NOC codes related to agricultural, agri-food and health care as these occupations have been identified as essential and critical for Canada.

Note: Starting November 16, 2022, IRCC is switching to the 2021 version of the NOC system. At that time, foreign nationals will begin using the NOC 2021 codes in their applications.

A daily report is being pulled by the Operations Planning and Performance Branch (OPPB) and distributed to the International and Centralized Networks to ensure the following NOC codes related to work permit applications are prioritized:

NOC 2016 codes NOC 2021 codes
NOC 6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale NOC 63201 – Butchers – retail and wholesale
NOC 65202 – Meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
NOC 8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers NOC 82030 – Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors
NOC 84120 – Specialized livestock workers and farm machinery operators
NOC 85100 – Livestock labourers
NOC 8431 – General farm workers NOC 84120 – Specialized livestock workers and farm machinery operators
NOC 85100 – Livestock labourers
NOC 85101 – Harvesting labourers
NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers NOC 85103 – Nursery and greenhouse labourers
NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers NOC 85101 – Harvesting labourers
NOC 9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers NOC 94142 – Fish and seafood plant workers
NOC 9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing NOC 95106 – Labourers in food and beverage processing
NOC 9618 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing NOC 94142 – Fish and seafood plant workers
NOC 95107 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing
NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers NOC 94141 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

OPPB will also pull a list of the following NOC codes for health-related work permit applications to ensure they are prioritized:

NOC 2016 codes NOC 2021 codes
NOC 3011 – Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors NOC 31300 – Nursing coordinators and supervisors
NOC 3012 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses NOC 31301 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
NOC 3111 – Specialist physicians NOC 31100 – Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine
NOC 31101 – Specialists in surgery
NOC 41310 – Police investigators and other investigative occupations
NOC 3112 – General practitioners and family physicians NOC 31102 – General practitioners and family physicians
NOC 3124 – Allied primary health practitioners NOC 31302 – Nurse practitioners
NOC 31303 – Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals
NOC 32103 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
NOC 3125 – Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating NOC 31209 – Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
NOC 31303 – Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals
NOC 3131 – Pharmacists NOC 31120 – Pharmacists
NOC 3211 – Medical laboratory technologists NOC 32120 – Medical laboratory technologists
NOC 3212 – Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants NOC 31303 – Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals
NOC 32120 – Medical laboratory technologists
NOC 33101 – Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations
NOC 3214 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists NOC 32103 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
NOC 3215 – Medical radiation technologists NOC 32121 – Medical radiation technologists
NOC 3217 – Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. NOC 32123 – Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists
NOC 3233 – Licensed practical nurses NOC 32101 – Licensed practical nurses
NOC 3234 – Paramedical occupations NOC 32102 – Paramedical occupations
NOC 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates NOC 33102 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
NOC 4411 – Home child care providers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants) NOC 44100 – Home child care providers
NOC 4412 – Home support workers, excluding housekeepers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants) NOC 44101 – Home support workers, caregivers and related occupations

Note: While applications in certain sectors are being prioritized based on NOC codes, this does not preclude an officer from prioritizing a case (should all processing requirements be met and operational capacity allow) where there is a demonstrated urgent need for the worker in Canada.

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