As of April 29, temporary foreign workers whose permits expire and cannot be renewed due to delays in processing and as a result of the special measures put in place by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be able to enjoy continued access to the Quebec government health insurance board (RAMQ).
RAMQ officials confirmed the decision in a letter sent to the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec section last week.
Temporary foreign workers (TFW) who have applied for their permits to be extended but whose visa expires before the federal immigration authorities make a decision, may remain in Canada under implied status.
Having implied status in Quebec, however, does not grant a foreign worker a right of access to the RAMQ, and implies, among other things, that they will not be entitled to reimbursement of hospital costs.
In recent weeks, many organizations, humanitarian aid movements and immigration lawyers have called on governments to act, highlighting and the lack of medical coverage and precarious immigration status of TFWs.
Many workers are in a precarious position because their applications are on hold due to approval delays affecting all levels of government. At the same time, certain steps have been placed in place to control the pandemic of coronavirus.
From now on, all temporary foreign employees with valid implied status in Quebec will be able to take advantage of a six-month extension of the RAMQ medical coverage. The renewal will not be done automatically, however, and TFWs are required to contact the RAMQ itself and to request an “extension form.”
When the form is submitted, it must be completed, signed and sent back to the RAMQ along with a copy of the previous work permit and a letter from the IRCC confirming receipt of the new work permit extension application. At this time, applicants are not allowed to include photographs of their identification.
After these measures, new RAMQ cards, valid for six months, will be mailed to applicants. The insurance benefits can also be applied to family members accompanying him. According to information published by Radio-Canada, this support program is limited to people who had previously accessed the RAMQ.
The response from Canada to the coronavirus was remarkable, having gone above and beyond welcoming refugees, international students, and temporary foreign workers. Canada’s attempts to accommodate foreign visitors indicate substantial gaps between themselves and other countries, such as the United States.