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What you need to know when employing workers from abroad

Workers from abroad or employees without a permanent resident status

The labour shortage!  For some time now, this statement has been on everyone’s lips. The labour shortage has had a significant impact on the entire Canadian labour market.  Because of this reality, we are calling on workers from foreign countries.  Are these employees eligible for Group Insurance Plans?  Here is some useful information.

What are the impacts on your Group Insurance Plan?

First, it is important to verify the eligibility requirements of your Group Insurance contract.  Does it stipulate that your employees must be covered by a provincial health insurance plan?

Be careful with exclusions

Exclusions are determined on a case-by-case basis; however, it should be noted that travel insurance coverage is rarely included for employees who do not have provincial insurance.

Restrictions also extend to inpatient care, including medications, tests and nursing care.

Note that some insurance companies do not accept to cover these employees for salary insurance, the reason being that these employees are in Canada temporarily and could very likely return to their country of origin in the event of a disability preventing them from working for several months.


Types of work permits vs RAMQ coverage

Closed work permits are tied to a single employer.  Employees who hold a closed license are eligible for RAMQ, under certain conditions.

Open work permits allow for the possibility of working for more than one employer while in Canada, while closed permits are tied to a single employer.

Employees who hold an open permit are not eligible for RAMQ unless they are awaiting permanent resident status.  Note that under these conditions, the spouse and children are also eligible.


Replacement coverage

Due to the long waiting time before a request is accepted by the RAMQ, it is important to protect your employees.  RAMQ replacement coverage is available for care normally covered by the Provincial plan.  This protection replaces the RAMQ coverage and covers the cost of repatriation to the employee’s country of origin.

You should consider that many insurers offer health insurance products specifically designed for you, the worker, from abroad.

Significantly, these insurance coverages for foreign workers are available, provided they meet the eligibility requirements of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

Note that individual insurance does not exempt the employee from the obligation to participate in Group Insurance, as it only replaces what is normally covered by RAMQ.  When the RAMQ card is issued, the employee can terminate the replacement coverage.