by Christine Santos, ABS-CBN News
TORONTO —The government announced new pilot programs that will allow caregivers to apply for permanent residency, and even bring their families with them.
This was the promise made by immigration minister Ahmed Hussein at the announcement of two 5-year caregiver immigration pilot programs, to replace the existing pilots expiring in November.
Under the new programs, foreign caregivers will be assessed for permanent residency before coming to Canada.
The only criteria they need to fulfill after they arrive is two years of work experience.
Unlike before, families of caregivers will now be allowed to accompany them through government-issued open work permits for spouses or common-law partners, and student permits for dependent children.
“A very exciting day where we can recognize the caregivers are giving to our families, now we’re helping them keep their families with them,” said Robert Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West.
Also included are occupation-specific work permits for caregivers, allowing them to change jobs quickly when necessary.
“No longer will a caregiver be tied to one employer. If a caregiver is working for a particular employer and they feel abused or exploited, they can choose to go to another employer,” said Hussen.
Many caregivers have overstayed their work permits in Canada, after being disqualified from the live-in caregiver program in 2014.
In response, the minister announced the launch of the interim pathway for caregivers, which will be open from March 4 to June 4 this year.
“Pinaliwanag namin kay minister na merong mga caregivers na hindi ma-mi-meet yung requirements at kung ano yung mangyayari sa kanila. Ang interim program ay 4 months lang so sabi nya i-ko-consider nyang review-hin ulit yung mga data. Tinatanong nya kung ilan yung mga apektado at ibibigay namin sa kanya yung data na hinihingi nya para ma-consider sila duon sa plano. Wala pa silang mga specifics…magkakaron pa ng technical briefings at i-po-provide pa namin sya ng mga information dun sa mga nakikita naming gaps.”
Despite lingering questions on eligibility requirements and the application process, the launch of these new programs bring renewed hope to caregivers who wish to make Canada their new home.