Here’s how the Quebec and Federal government said “thank you” to the “Guardian Angels”

Earlier today the province of Quebec announced that it would be implementing a program to offer permanent residence in Canada to refugee claimants who have worked in medical support occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the federal ministry responsible for immigration, IRCC, has announced the launch of a very similar program that applies to the rest of Canada.

Like the Quebec program the federal pathway is designed to allow refugee claimants in Canada who have been doing crucial work, and caring for vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic to gain permanent status in Canada, regardless of the strength or weakness of their refugee claim.

The requirements of the program, as they have been announced so far are as follows:

  • Have claimed asylum before March 13, 2020
  • Were issued a work permit after they made a claim for asylum
  • Have worked in the health-care sector, in health institutions (for example, hospitals, long-term care homes, home care through an organization or agency, assisted living facilities)
  • Have worked in a designated occupation for no less than 120 hours between March 13, 2020 and August 14, 2020. The designated occupations that are included in this special measure are orderlies, nurses, nurses’ aides and patient service associates, assistant orderlies and certain home support workers.
  • Demonstrate 6 months of experience in the designated occupation before being granted permanent residence. Applicants will have until August 31, 2021 to acquire this experience.
  • Meet existing admissibility requirements, including those related to criminality, security and health

The program announced by the government of Quebec is open to applicants who are refugee claimants – either those whose claim is still being adjudicated, or those who have been refused. The applicant must be working in one of the following occupations:

  • Nursing co–ordinators and nursing supervisors (NOC code 3011)
  • Registered nurses (NOC code 3012)
  • Licensed practical nurses (NOC code 3233)
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC code 3413)
  • Home support workers (NOC code 4412 related to direct personal care)

Neither the federal nor Quebec programs offer a pathway for individual to come to Canada to do this work in exchange for permanent residence; in either program eligibility is limited to those who are already refugee claimants. The programs are backward looking, and in a way, is a reward for those doing difficult and dangerous work at a time when Canada badly needed people to do that work.

With the announcement of the federal program and Quebec program today there is now a pathway to permanent residence for qualifying asylum seekers no mater where in Canada they live and work.

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