The healthcare community has been under immense stress in recent months – in Canada and globally. Doctors, nurses, caregivers and orderlies are risking their lives caring for patients as we face a global health crisis, the likes of which we’ve never before seen.
In Canada, many of the orderlies and caregivers who care for our most vulnerable members of the community are asylum seekers. They gained entry to Canada because their lives were at risk in their home country. Now they are waiting – and hoping – to be able to stay here.
Proposed program rewards personal sacrifice
The unprecedented sacrifice made by these healthcare workers in recent months has not gone unnoticed. Canadian immigration officials are currently considering a proposal that would put these workers on a fast track to permanent residency. If approved, it would essentially allow these workers to jump to the front of the immigration queue.
The proposed program would not represent a permanent change to the way immigration applications are handled. It is intended to be a temporary program to benefit the frontline healthcare workers who are risking so much for all Canadians during this critical time in our country. The timeline of the program is not yet clear.
The program applies to workers in healthcare facilities – including hospitals and nursing homes. Workers do not need to be engaged in medical or caregiving work in order to qualify. For instance, security workers in such facilities would also be eligible. To qualify, you must:
- Be an asylum seeker (the status of your claim is unimportant)
- Have requested asylum before the program goes into effect
- Have a Canadian work permit
- Have worked in the health field
- Have completed at least 120 hours (4 weeks) of work between January 25 of this year and the effective date of the program
This is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. We are relying on the inherent goodness of each other to survive. Rewarding those who make sacrifices for our survival is a step in the right direction.