New chance for permanent residency 

Community News & Features Jul 12, 2019 at 4:30 pm
Kara Manso, former care worker and now coordinator with Caregivers Action Centre

Kara Manso, former care worker and now coordinator with Caregivers Action Centre

But migrant workers groups want ‘Landed Status Now’

By Ysh Cabana
The Philippine Reporter

Canada launched two new pilots that will help caregivers who come to this country make it their permanent home.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCPP) and Home Support Worker Pilot (HSWP), which opened for applications on Tuesday June 18, is replacing existing pilots that are soon expiring. Both new pilots offer a direct pathway to permanent residence, and allow applicants to bring family members with them to Canada.

Most of Canada’s foreign caregivers come from the Philippines and South Asia.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says each new pilot has a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants. That is a total of 5,500 principal applicants per year, plus their immediate family.

Occupation-restricted open work permit

Candidates are only eligible for an initial occupation-restricted open work permit if they have a Canada job offer in hand and provided they meet standard criteria for economic immigration programs.

Once they have accumulated two years of work experience, a “clear, direct pathway” to permanent residence is provided, according to IRCC officials.

“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 to care for our loved ones and with these new pilots, we are doing exactly that,” Hussen said in a statement.

Other benefits under the new pilots are open work permits and study permits for the caregivers’ immediate family, the elimination of the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and the issuance of caregiver-specific work permits rather than employer-specific, unless the caregiver will be qorking in Quebec.

“One of the best things we’ve done is to empower those caregivers to be able to leave their employers by giving them a more flexible work permit. That’s a big change,” he said.

The IRCC has implemented measures to assist with the transition from the Live-in Caregiver Program repealed in 2014 to the new pilots. Caregivers who applied under the previous programs before June 18, 2019, will continue to have their applications processed accordingly. Caregivers who have worked towards applying under the previous programs must submit their applications through either of the new pilots.

Short-term Pathway for Caregivers

Meanwhile, the federal government has also extended the Interim Pathway for Caregivers, which will re-open

The short-term pathway is aimed at caregivers who came to Canada as temporary foreign workers since 2014 but were unable to qualify for permanent residence through an existing program.

According to Stats Canada, approximately 6 million Canadians are over 65 and the number of Canadians receiving some type of home healthcare sits at around 8 percent of the country’s total population. The estimated number of seniors requiring health care services is expected to double over the next 20 years, according to the Canadian Institute for Health.

Canada’s caregiver program is believed to be the only one in the world that provides access to permanent status for foreign workers after two years of full-time employment as a caregiver. The access to permanent residency is an incentive to make up for the job’s relatively low pay and sometimes unpleasant working conditions.

Those who applied through the old system before June 18 will have their applications processed through to a final decision.

Landed Status Now

Migrant workers’ groups have welcomed the announcement as “partial victory.” Landed Status Now: Care Workers Organize, a national coalition of migrant care workers’ groups, said that “many questions and concerns remain” about its implementation.

“It’s only fair for us to have landed status upon arrival. We’re not asking for special treatment – just the same rights to be with our families and even for our work to be recognized,” said Kara Manso, who came to Canada as a care worker in 2012 and is now coordinator with Caregivers Action Centre.

Manso said. “We’ve contributed. We’re part of Canadian society and we should be treated fairly.”

“The new 2019 pilot program must not repeat the mistakes of the past. This means open work permits, no second medical, no high school English language test, and no requirement for one-year Canadian post-secondary education.”

Still, care workers groups are lobbying for more considerations in favor of the many caregivers in limbo by removing or reducing the language and post-secondary education equivalency. Advocates are proposing for a Federal Workers Program – Care Worker Stream (FWP-CW) to reflect the actual skills needed in delivering care that migrant workers are currently providing.