Canada’s announced pathway to permanent residency is good news for migrant caregivers
KAIROS is greatly encouraged by the recent announcement that in November the Government of Canada will replace its problematic Caregiver Pilot Program with two 5-year pilot programs that will provide migrant caregivers with a pathway to permanent residence and the flexibility to change jobs quickly and easily. Under these pilot programs, family members will be able to accompany caregivers through work and study permits.
KAIROS, migrant caregivers, and allied advocates have for years called on the Canadian government to grant permanent residence on arrival to all foreign migrant workers and their families. While this announcement applies only to caregivers, and will grant caregivers full permanent residence status after working in Canada for two years, it is an important step in the right direction.
The new pilot programs replace the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs programs. By providing occupation-specific work permits, caregivers will be able to change jobs quickly and easily when necessary. Also, by allowing open work permits for spouses and common-law partners, and study permits for dependent children, caregiver’s will be able to have their family accompany them to Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) also announced the Interim Pathway for Caregivers program for those who recently came to Canada and are unable to meet the program’s two-year work qualification. According to IRCC: “The interim program will have modified criteria compared to the current pilot programs and offer a pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who, in good faith, have come to Canada and are providing care to Canadians, without a clear pathway to permanent residence.”
Foreign migrant caregivers serve Canadian families by providing children, the elderly and people with high medical needs with professional care and compassion. They also help fill a vacuum as often there are not enough Canadians willing to fill these jobs.
Despite their value to the Canadian economy, caregivers, like all foreign migrant workers, are subject to Canada’s temporary migrant worker programs. For decades, these programs have been marred by consistent, widespread and well-documented complaints of exploitation and abuse at the hands of employers and recruiters. Also, the prolonged family separation caused by prohibiting family members from joining workers while they await permanent residency – often for years – creates stress and sometimes leads to marital breakdowns.
The announced program also addresses Canada’s commitment to uphold and protect women’s their rights through a much-needed pathway that enables workers to more easily and quickly change employers to escape abusive conditions without fear of deportation.
KAIROS applauds the Government of Canada for taking steps to alleviate the stress and concern experienced by so many caregivers. KAIROS is also pleased that the government has reduced the application backlog (as of Dec 2017) of approximately 30,000 migrant caregivers who applied for permanent residency by 94 percent.
KAIROS, in partnership with TNO (The Neighbourhood Organization) is consulting with migrant caregivers on the details of this announcement and listening to their immediate concerns. KAIROS will continue to advocate for the rights of all migrant workers.
For more information, please contact:
Connie Sorio, Migrant Justice Coordinator
Phone: (416) 463-5312 ext 240; (416) 732-1797 cell