Asylum Seekers On The front Lines May Get Canadian Permanent Residence

Canada is working on a temporary program that will give asylum seekers a route to permanent residence if they were found working on the front line in the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is expected to kick start in the next few weeks, Radio Canada reports. Though it is not clear how many people would benefit, the numbers could reach in the thousands. Quebec province is said to be home to the majority of asylum seekers who could be qualified for the new program.

La Maison d’Haïti, a Quebec-based support organization for immigrants, roughly estimates as many as 1,000 asylum seekers are presently working in the province’s health sector. Some are still working through the pandemic despite having their asylum claims rejected, or while waiting on decisions from the government.

The support organization has been very vocal on this subject in recent weeks, stating that many asylum seekers are now effectively integrated into Canadian society and has been asking that their hard work and dedication be recognized and rewarded.

Many requests for the regularization of the status of asylum seekers presently on the front lines in healthcare facilities have been submitted to the Government of Quebec by both immigration attorneys and humanitarian organizations.

However, asylum seekers’ claims do not fall within the provincial jurisdiction. In fact, an independent administrative body, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, reviews these claims. That is why the file is now in the hands of the federal government.

The Immigration Minister, Marco Mendicino furnished the details of the project to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Cabinet Committee on Tuesday. Canada’s French-language public broadcaster, Radio Canada, was able to get a copy of the presentation. Cabinet must first approve the program proposed by Mendicino before it can go into effect.

The proposed program is not just limited to workers in long-care facilities, but also includes those in hospitals such as nurses aides, security, cleaners and others.

However, asylum seekers working in other sectors, even if they were deemed essential services during the pandemic, are not included in the proposed program.

Eligibility Criteria To Be Used

The eligibility criteria presented by the immigration minister, Marco Mendicino are as follows, candidates must:

  • be an asylum seeker, even if the original application had failed, or if the claim is awaiting a decision;
  • have requested asylum before the date that the program will be announced;
  • Possess a valid work permit;
  • have worked in the health sector; and
  • have worked for at least four weeks, between the month of January 25, 2020 and until the date of the announcement of the special measures.

Recruitment of immigrants to work in the care homes part of new Quebec reforms

After cutting down on immigration levels in its first year in power, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government recently announced a major plan to recruit migrants to work as orderlies in the province’s long-term care homes.

Part of the plan includes the introduction of a pilot program to provide Canadian permanent residence to up to 550 experienced health care workers every year.