Recent speculation of groups representing live-in caregivers across Canada suggest Immigration Minister Chris Alexander is considering changing the Foreign Caregiver program to the new Express Entry immigration system.
When it was excluded from the reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker program, reforms to the Live-In Caregiver Program were confirmed for fall 2014, though the details are unknown.
Manuela Gruber Hersch, president of the Association of Caregiver & Nanny Agencies Canada, speculates Alexander will open the program of Express Entry and make the process of live-in caregivers entering Canada more difficult. She has also criticized Alexander’s imposition of a $1000.00 fee on Canadian families looking for foreign caregivers, as it does not support the needs of Canadians.
Gruber Hersch attended a consultation meeting in Vancouver earlier this year, where Alexander lightly discussed other changes such as making it optional for foreign caregivers to live with their employers, as well as extending the period of time caregivers can spend studying.
Under the rules of the current program, foreign caregivers must live with the Canadian family who hires them, and they can take a course or program for six months before needing a study permit. Also, caregivers become eligible to apply for permanent residency after two years of work, but the process could take longer than three. The potential reforms of stricter language and education requirements to the program could make this process even longer.
The Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies Canada has expressed a demand for a grant of permanent residency upon arrival in Canada. Sandra Segura told the Globe and Mail that, “We take care of children, the sick and the elderly. We deserve to take care of our own kids and parents, too, and that means we want to come here as immigrants with our families, not as temporary workers with few rights.”
Alexander mysteriously explained to CBC News that, “wherever we go with the caregiver program, for now we have a very solid proven program with improved protections.” Not giving away many details, Alexander noted that this year, the CIC is processing 17,500 caregiver permanent residency applications, which is an unprecedented amount.
Several groups representing foreign caregivers collectively argue that the accusation that the Live-In Caregiver Program had become “a family reunification program” is lacking evidence and further consultations.
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