Health insurance rules changed for foreign workers

Posted by admin on Apr 1st, 2009

April 01, 2009, Toronto Star. Nicholas Keung, IMMIGRATION REPORTER

A year after hundreds of foreigners on open work permits were denied health insurance in Ontario due to an immigration glitch, the province changed the OHIP rules in order to to fix the problem. Immigration Canada last April relaxed rules to allow foreign students who graduate from a Canadian university or college to work here for up to three years — an attempt to keep talented people with Canadian credentials to stay here. The rules also apply to some temporary foreign workers.

These open work-permit holders, however, were denied OHIP because their work visas don’t name a Canadian employer or indicate their prospective occupation as stipulated under the old immigration law. Without the employer’s name, health officials would not issue them health cards.

The changes, effective today, mean all temporary foreign workers or foreign graduates here on “open work permits,” along with their spouses and dependants can now receive OHIP as long as they are employed full time in Ontario for a minimum of six months and have lived here for at least 153 days.

According to immigration, 63,673 international students came to Ontario last year and 11,000 postgraduate employment work permits were issued.

It also admitted 66,875 temporary foreign workers. It is not known how many of them were issued an “open” permit.

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