Over 8,500 Undocumented Foreign Health-Care Workers Allowed to Stay in Canada Under Amnesty Program: Federal Record

by EditorT

Healthcare surround a bed taking care of a COVID-19 patient at Humber River Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in Toronto on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Cole Burston / AFP via Getty Images)

By Isaac Teo

More than 8,000 undocumented foreign health-care workers and their families were allowed to remain in Canada under a temporary amnesty program launched by the federal government in 2020, says a briefing note by the immigration department.

“Over 8,500 individuals have received permanent residence through this pathway which includes family members,” said the Nov. 9 note, obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, referring to the “Guardian Angel” program.

The program was introduced on Dec. 14, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to make up for shortages of “orderlies, nurses’ aides, nurses, assistant orderlies, and certain home support workers” experienced in the health care sector across the country at the time.

None of the foreign medical workers had a legal right to stay in Canada, though a small undisclosed number crossed the border illegally, said the note, titled “Undocumented Workers.”

“An undocumented migrant is an individual who has no authorization to reside or work in Canada,” the note said. “The majority become undocumented by falling out of status when they cannot meet eligibility criteria for existing immigration programs after lawfully entering Canada and have overstayed their authorized period of stay.”

“Only a small portion of undocumented migrants are thought to have unlawfully entered or were trafficked or smuggled into Canada,” it added.

‘Hidden Population’

The Guardian Angels program stopped receiving applications on Aug. 31, 2021, but the note said there are no accurate figures representing the number or composition of undocumented migrants currently residing in Canada.

“Estimates, which come from academic sources, range between 20,000 and 500,000 persons although there may be more,” staff wrote.

According to the department last March, undocumented migrants are considered to be a “hidden population” that are hard to reach, mostly living in large urban areas.

The federal government has been raising its immigration quotas, saying that the country is “now facing critical labour market shortages causing uncertainty for Canadian businesses and workers.”

“Last year Canada welcomed over 405,000 newcomers—the most we’ve ever welcomed in a single year,” said the immigration department in a news release on Nov. 1, 2022.

“The Government is continuing that ambition by setting targets in the new levels plan of 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.”

 

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.

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