Talk about unexpected news: the Government of Canada just announced that they’ll be allowing Caregivers to bring their families with them when they start working for their employers, with the bonus of having pre-approved Permanent Residency.
That means, Caregivers get to bring their family members with them when they start working in Canada.
One of the biggest problems of the Caregiver Program (formerly known as the Live-In Caregiver Program LCP), a stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program TWFP, is that Caregivers had to spend years away from their families, working in Canada alone before their families join them.
Caregivers had to come to Canada first, work for Canadian employers for a specific period of time before being able to apply for Permanent Residency.
Only after after having been granted Permanent Residency by the Government of Canada would a Caregiver’s family be allowed to join them in Canada.
There continue to be many problems along the way.
Many families do not survive the prolonged separation intact. Reports of failed marriages and estranged children are commonplace.
Caregivers who successfully apply for Permanent Residency also have to contend with life after the program. Many choose to remain as caregivers, or continue working in minimum wage positions. *
New Caregiver pilot program pre-approved Permanent Residency
The Caregiver Program, which continues to be very popular with Filipino workers, will allow OFWs to bring their family members with them to Canada.
OFWs and their family members will also receive pre-approved Permanent Residency.The Government of Canada made the announcement on Saturday, February 23, 2019.
The Government of Canada will determine whether or not Caregivers are eligible for Permanent Residency even before they arrive in Canada.
Under the pilot program, Caregivers will receive a new, occupation-specific Work Permit that allows for changing employers without the need for submitting an application for a new Work Permit.
Who can come to Canada with Caregivers?
The new pilot program, which will run for 5 years, will allow Caregivers to bring their spouses, common-law partners and dependent children.
Caregivers’ spouses and common-law partners will be issued Open Work Permits, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer who will take them.
Dependent children will be issued Study Permits, which will allow them to register for school.
In a statement released by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada IRCC, Minister Ahmed Hussen said that, “Caregivers provide care to families in Canada that need it, and it’s time for Canada to care for them in return. We are providing them with both the opportunity to bring their family members here and access permanent residency to demonstrate our commitment.”
No further details were released by IRCC, including the what the criteria for Permanent Residency will be or what will happen to OFWs who don’t qualify for Permanent Residency and end up overstaying their Work Permits.
In 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada CIC no longer required Caregivers to live in their Canadian employers’ homes. Other changes resulted in higher educational and language proficiency requirements.
Caregiver advocates criticized the changes, saying that there were a lot of Caregivers unable to apply for Permanent Residency because the changes made them ineligible.
Current Caregivers can still apply
OFWs already in Canada can take advantage of an interim program being launched by IRCC.
From March 4 to June 4, Caregivers who are already in Canada and have worked legally for at least a year, and have completed a language proficiency exam like IELTS, and have earned the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma.
Hussen also said that “This interim program is being launched after hearing directly from caregivers and interested parties that the previous changes made in 2014 were not well understood. Many caregivers began working for families in Canada, only to find later that they were not going to qualify for permanent residence under an existing program.”
No further details about the new programs were provided by IRCC.
Caregiver Program continues to be very popular with OFWs
The news about the newest changes to the Caregiver Program comes as the November deadline for the current pilot programs approaches.
The Caregiver Program is still very popular with OFWs because it is one of Canada’s very few programs that allows foreign workers to come to Canada with minimal education and work experience, and still be able to apply for Permanent Residency after meeting the program’s minimum requirements.
Also, Caregivers don’t need to meet the “show money” or Proof of Funds requirement.
The life of a Caregiver is not easy. Caregivers must endure years of separation from their families. They also need to continue working as Caregivers, who are paid minimum wage.
For decades, the Caregiver Program (and its predecessors) has been heavily criticized for creating difficult working environments for foreign workers, and keeping families apart for years on end.
The latest changes to the Caregiver Program will make the following changes:
1) Foreign workers will be allowed to bring their family members with them to Canada at the beginning of their employment.
2) Pre-approved Permanent Residency
Caregiver Program: 5,500 Work Permits available
There will be a limit of 5,500 Caregiver Work Permits to be issued for 2019.
Family members and other qualified dependents will not count towards the 5,500 limit.
Caregivers and their supporters in Canada have clamoured for changes to the program for decades. Calling it fundamentally flawed, caregiver groups have called for changes to the program, including granting Permanent Residency upon arrival.
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