The Live-In Caregiver Program was a stream under the Government of Canada‘s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which brought in foreign workers from many different countries to address acute labour shortages. Although it was not an exclusively Filipino program, the low skills needed to qualify matched with no placement fees required proved too tempting for most people.
What followed were years of frenzied recruitment all over the world. With no formal licenses needed, everyone who had a printer and an internet connection could be a third party representative (more commonly known as agencies and recruiters in the Philippines). With little to no government oversight, plenty of people made a lot of money off the backs of desperate people wanting to come to Canada. They paid Canadian employers to sign applications to hire foreign workers, and collected three times the amounts from the prospective workers abroad. Tens of thousands upon thousands of Filipinos arrived in Canada to work as nannies for Canadian families, ostensibly to care for children, elderly or disabled. Driven by the promise of reuniting their families at last, most paid big money to come to Canada. Some were fortunate and were paired with genuine employers, the rest were released upon arrival.
The Government of Canada, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada) gave foreign Caregivers the opportunity to apply for Permanent Residency after completing 2 years of continuous employment under the program. After completing the 2 year requirement, Caregivers would be able to sponsor their qualified dependents to join them.
With widespread abuse becoming headlines in newspapers all across the country, the Government of Canada finally ended the original Live-In Caregiver Program in November 2014, replacing it with a new Caregiver Program with much stricter requirements for both employee and foreign worker.
There is still a significant backlog of Permanent Residency applications from foreign workers under the old Live-In Caregiver Program, by some accounts as high as 30,000. Ahmed Hussen, Minister for Immigration, has said on record that the Trudeau government will eliminate the backlog by the end of 2018.
After many high-profile cases exposing the flaws inherent in the Live-In Caregiver Program, the Government of Canada stopped issuing new work permits. Removing the requirement to live with their Canadian Employers, Caregivers were given new work permits. This caused much confusion whether or not Caregivers would still be able to apply for Permanent Residency.
To confuse things even more, IRCC established two new pilot programs under the Caregiver Program: the Caring for Children Program and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program. When IRCC released a statement on how the two programs are being considered for cancellation, Caregivers understandably voiced their concerns. Many have been in Canada for many years, having worked for numerous Canadian employers, both legally and otherwise.
No new updates have been made as to the final fate of the two pilot programs. The Government of Canada also made no statement on concrete plans to address the existing backlog, such as what will happen to Caregivers who fail to meet the minimum requirements of the original Live-In Caregiver Program.
If you are an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who came to Canada under the original Live-In Caregiver Program and have any questions whatsoever about your application for Permanent Residency (or your failure to meet the minimum requirements thereof), call the IRCC Contact Centre at 1 (888) 242-2100.
If you came to Canada with a regular work permit to work as a Caregiver (that is, a non-LCP work permit issued after November 30, 2014), you’ll have to apply under either of the two pilot programs. Check the official IRCC website regularly for updates.