Pinay caregiver Luvy Alicbusan finally granted status after ten years

Community News & Features Sep 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm
Luvy Alicbusan (left) with the late Pet Cleto and Sol Pajadura.               (Photo grabbed from Facebook)

Luvy Alicbusan (left) with the late Pet Cleto and Sol Pajadura.
(Photo grabbed from Facebook)

By Ysh Cabana
The Philippine Reporter

TORONTO–Holding placards and chanting slogans, Luzviminda “Luvy” Alicbusan was among a group of protesters outside immigration minister Ahmed Hussen’s office in a northern Toronto suburb.

Alicbusan, a caregiver in Canada, was denied permanent residence status because of her son who has special needs. She said the government considers her son a burden on Canada’s health system; thus is medically inadmissible.

That was in March 2018.

On September 20, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) felt ecstatic the moment she realized good news has come. Initially, she thought it would be the same story with her tumultous struggle of ten years for permanent residency in this country. She paused briefly then said heartily: “This is the happiest moment in my life.”

Now, she is looking forward in the coming months when she can move in to a new apartment with her family, who she said she could only visit every two years in the past.
Hailing from the province of Laguna, Philippines, Luvy arrived in 2008 via Hong Kong under Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) in search of a better life and to support her four children. One of whom, her only son Harvie, was born with developmental delay, mild cerebral palsy and has been under the care of her family.

Luvy shared how she faced many hardships and sacrifices as she continues to transition in her new life to a foreign country.

“The hardest part of being a special needs parent is a constant fight,” she said.

After completing her required hours under the program, she applied for permanent residency along with her children and her husband Renato.

Harvie’s condition had raised questions and concerns from the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the social cost of the child’s medical condition if he was to become a permanent resident. This became the grounds for Luvy’s humanitarian and compassionate grounds application that was denied in 2014.

“Even with developmental delay, Harvie can function independently, and can even be a productive member of the workforce. He poses no excess demand for health services or social services,” she shared.

Luvy campaigned for her right to be reunified in with her family in Canada. She joined groups protesting a 40-year-old section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that says foreign nationals are inadmissible if their medical condition “might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”

This was met with wide support from the community who rallied behind her and consequently provided a platform for more caregivers who are facing the same situation to come out and voice out their frustrations on the temporary foreign worker program.

Despite the long wait, Luvy celebrates her victorious day and hopes more caregivers will get permanent residency upon arrival.

In a statement, pro-OFW rights group Migrante Ontario welcomes the positive results of Luvy Alibusan’s case.

“This is a small step forward towards fairness and respect for human rights of all migrant workers in Canada. We congratulate all the migrants organizations, caregivers, allies and the legal team who worked tirelessly in support of Luvy and her family,” it said.

“However, while the Medical Inadmissibility clause was removed from IRPA, there is no clear indication that caregivers who were previously affected by this clause will be granted permanent residency,” it added.

In 2005, the Supreme Court’s decisions in Hilewitz and De Jung forced IRCC not to resort to “cookie-cutter methodology” that simply assessess on the grounds of the immigrant’s disability diagnosis, and rather look at each case individually. However, in practice, such is still a big challenge for immigrants, especially with ethno-racial people.

Migrante Ontario also urged the Canadian government to sign the United Nations Convention to Protect Migrant Workers and Families.

“While its adoption will not be enough to fully address the vulnerabilities of migrant workers in the long term, as the root causes of migration is anchored in state policies that lead to forced labour migration, it will set a policy framework wherein the government of Canada can prevent cases such as Luvy and many others who came to Canada to work,” the statement said.

“We urge all migrant workers, organizations and allies to use this victory as a springboard that shall advance the rights of all migrant workers towards fairness and equality,” it added.