Revamped Programs Make it Easier for Caregivers to Find Safe and Secure Work
It may become easier for foreign caregivers to come to Canada and find meaningful, safe, and secure work that leads to permanent residency, thanks to two new pilot programs.
These programs, the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot, are 5-year pilot programs designed to help qualified caregivers come to Canada. The end goal is permanent residency and eventually, citizenship. Both programs launched on June 18, 2019.
A core component of these programs is making it easier for caregivers in abusive workplaces to leave and find a new employer, as work permits are no longer tied to the family bringing them to Canada. What’s more, qualified caregivers can now bring their families with them to Canada through work and study permits.
This benefit was once only available to highly skilled migrant workers. According to a statement given by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to the Toronto Star, “Canada is caring for our caregivers … We made a commitment to improve the lives of caregivers and their families who come from around the world for our loved ones and with these new pilots, we are doing exactly that.”
Back in 2018, criticism of restrictions on the existing caregiver immigration programs triggered an extensive consultation and review process. Many argued that tying a work permit to a specific employer left caregivers highly vulnerable to exploitation.
As such, Canada’s immigration department has revamped and revised the programs.
Significant changes to the programs include occupation-specific, not employer-specific, work permits and the option for the caregiver’s immediate family to use work or study permits. Also, employers benefit directly since Labour Market Impact Assessments are no longer necessary before hiring an overseas caregiver.
Applicants must have a total of 24 months of full-time Canadian work experience in the 36 months before they apply to these programs. These pilot programs have a maximum of 2,750 applicants each annually.
These changes follow previous announcements that migrant workers in abusive job situations are eligible to apply for an open work permit from June 4 onwards. Also, starting July 26, 2019 newcomers suffering from family violence will be eligible for legal immigration status, including a work permit and healthcare coverage via a fee-exempt temporary resident permit application.
It’s reassuring to see Canada take such a strong stance on protecting migrant caregivers and workers.