By Marieton Pacheco
VANCOUVER – The much awaited reforms to the Live-in Caregiver Program are out.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced an end to the live-in requirement, making it optional for caregivers and their employers.
“That’s an end to the live-in requirement,” said Alexander to applause from the crowd, “which among other benefits will help ensure that caregivers are better protected against abuse.”
In the past, some live-in caregivers were forced to work overtime without pay, or do other jobs outside of child care.
The new pathways to permanent residency were also announced.
Government officials say this will cut down the processing time from three years to six month.
“One pathway for childcare providers and another pathway for those supporting individuals of high medical needs,” said Alexander.
The faster processing time comes as government solves a huge backlog for applications under the caregiver program.
But there’s a catch.
The new program will put a cap on the number of applicant for permanent residency, from unlimited to just 5,500 per year. Caregiver groups are not pleased.
“Pag ang cap nila ay 2,750 per year, ibig sabihin niyan, not everyone will be able to apply for landed status,” said Jane Ordinario, of Migrante BC. “So it’s really moving into contractual or guest worker ang lumalabas niyan plus the heightening of these requirements so mas mahirap na ngayon.”
“Certainly, we know that the government has raised both language and educational requirements,” said Ali Li Lim, Executive Director of West Coast Domestic Workers Association, “and with anything, whenever we talk about increased eligibility requirements, we’re talking about also the effect will be limiting access for certain people.”
What they want is permanent status upon arrival for caregivers in Canada.
The government starts the two new pathways for caregivers by Nov. 30.