Canadian families looking for caregivers or nannies will have a harder time, thanks to the federal legislation that is capping overseas applications, according to Migrante BC.
Between December 2014 and March 2015, the federal government only approved 92 of the 880 applications for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (which an employer needs to obtain before hiring overseas caregivers).
“We say it looks like this because only three per cent of applications for overseas caregivers were approved by the federal government recently,” says Hessed Torres, who came under the Live-in Caregiver Program.
“For caregivers like me who are already here, this is a big problem because it means I might not be able to complete the 24 months of caregiving work needed for me to qualify as a permanent resident applicant,” says Torres, who is also a Migrante BC member.
“Caregivers are treated as fairly as any other workers who require work experience in Canada before applying for permanent residency. In fact, Caregivers are the only workers who have direct path to permanent immigration.” – Bruce Hicks, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change estimates about 70,000 workers had to leave Canada as of April 1, 2015. Workers who have been employed for four years cannot apply for another work permit for another four years, nor can they re-enter Canada for that time frame.
Torres notes that if the time (about four to six months) it takes to process applications is factored in, it might mean people applying for the program could run out of time to qualify for the program and be forced to return to their home country.
‘Revolving Door Immigration System’
The four-in-four-out rule is the government’s entrenchment of a “revolving door immigration system,” says Syed Hussan, Coordinator of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
“A well-trained workforce will be replaced by people who are new, and less aware of their rights. The real solution is permanent residency on arrival, now,” says Hussan in an interview with The Philippine Reporter.
In response to the extraordinarily high rejection rate of Filipino nannies, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) media spokesperson Bruce Hicks stated that this year CIC will aggressively be attacking the backlog of applicants. Hicks said CIC will be admitting 30,000 caregivers (and their spouses and dependents) as permanent residents by the end of 2016.
“The massive red tape to hire foreign caregivers hurts parents and families in need of elderly and disabled care. Furthermore it puts caregivers already in Canada in difficult positions as they are not allowed to legally work until they receive their work permit and it can take six to seven months at the moment. In reality, who can afford not to work for six to seven months?” -Manuela Gruber Hersch, International Nannies & Homecare Ltd.
Furthermore, the government says in 2014, there was a record set of 17,500 permanent resident admission levels for caregivers.
“Caregivers are treated as fairly as any other workers who require work experience in Canada before applying for permanent residency. In fact, Caregivers are the only workers who have direct path to permanent immigration,” says Hicks.
Manuela Gruber Hersch, General Manager and Regulated Immigration Consultant of International Nannies & Homecare Ltd. points out that the government’s Permanent Residency backlog should be seen as a separate process from people receiving a LMIA.
“The PR backlog of caregivers was created by this Government and based on the CIC website, processing is now up to 45 months,” she says. She wants to know how the government ” aggressively” attacking the backlog? She notes that many 2010 applicants are still waiting for their PR and the medical of their family members in the Philippines has expired.
“There is a shortage of qualified Canadians who have solid childcare experience and references and the massive red tape to hire foreign caregivers hurts parents and families in need of elderly and disabled care. Furthermore it puts caregivers already in Canada in difficult positions as they are not allowed to legally work until they receive their work permit and it can take six to seven months at the moment. In reality, who can afford not to work for six to seven months?” says Gruber Hersch.
New guidelines for caregivers looking after children and seniors include:
- Having two years of full-time work experience in Canada as a care provider within the past four years
- Having at least one year of a Canadian post-secondary education credential or equivalent foreign credential
- Having a minimum language requirement of ‘initial intermediate’ by meeting the Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in a designated third-party language test
Published in Partnership with The Filipino Post.
Florence Hwang is a Saskatchewan-based freelance writer. She is a media librarian who loves storytelling. She has written for La Source newspaper, CBC Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Folklore and South Asian Post.