The province of Quebec in Canada has come to the aid of temporary foreign workers. Temporary foreign workers in Quebec that are on implied status might now have their health care coverage extended for a period of 6 months.
From April 29, temporary foreign workers with permits that are expiring and unable to renew the same owing to processing delays due to COVID-19 special measures will be able to continue accessing the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Quebec [RAMQ].
The RAMQ is the government health insurance board in Quebec.
RAMQ officials have confirmed the extension in a letter sent to the Canadian Bar Association [Quebec Section].
The implied status allows temporary foreign workers – that though having applied for an extension of their permits will nonetheless have their permits expire before a decision in this regard is made by the federal immigration authorities – to remain in Canada.
A temporary foreign worker that submits an application for extension of their work permit before its expiry can remain in Canada and continue working in the same job for the same employer while a decision is awaited on their application for extension.
However, if a different type of work permit is applied for – for instance, a work permit for a different employer – the temporary worker must stop working on the date that the current permit expires.
If the application is approved, the temporary foreign worker [as well as family, if applicable] can remain in Canada under the conditions of the new permit.
The period of time between the expiry of a permit and the issuance of a new permit will not impact Canada PR application, should the temporary foreign worker wish to apply for the same later on. The period of time spent under implied status is accepted by immigration officers.
In Quebec, implied status does not give a foreign worker a right to accessing the RAMQ. Simply put, not being able to access RAMQ would mean not being entitled to reimbursement of hospital costs, etc.
With the COVID-19 special measures in place in Canada since March 18, there have been much disruption and limitation in services, leading to applications being on hold due to processing delays.
With effect from April 29, all temporary workers that have a valid implied status in Quebec can benefit from a 6-month extension of the medical coverage under the RAMQ.
Do keep in mind that as the renewal will not be done automatically, the TFWs are expected to contact the RAMQ themselves requesting an “extension form”.
Once the extension form is received, the form will have to be completed, signed and mailed back to the RAMQ. A copy of the previous work permit will have to be included along with a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] as a confirmation of the receipt of the work permit extension request.
On the successful completion of these steps, applicants will be mailed new RAMQ cards with a 6-months’ validity.
The health coverage might also include the applicant’s accompanying family members.
According to Radio-Canada, this support measure will be limited to those individuals that had access to the RAMQ earlier.
Following a decision by the Quebec government towards the end of March, those impacted by COVID-19 special measures and without a health insurance card can still access free health care.
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