Since February 5, 2018, when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that there would be changes in the immigration opportunities for caregivers coming to Canada on a temporary basis, caregivers have been waiting anxiously for news of how they can apply for immigration. The wait is finally over as the IRCC has launched two new pilot programs for caregivers to qualify for immigration.
In 2014, IRCC created two streams to differentiate between the needs of those requiring care: children and those with high medical needs. Up until now, when caregivers arrived in Canada as temporary foreign workers, they were assessed on their ability to do their work as caregivers for children or those with high medical needs. After gaining the necessary work experience in Canada and meeting other requirements, such as language skills and education, the caregivers could then apply for immigration.
However, in the new pilot programs, caregivers who wish to apply for permanent residence will be assessed to ensure qualification for permanent residency before they begin working in Canada. This will mean that once the caregiver arrives in Canada and completes 2 years of work experience, they will be pre-qualified to apply for permanent residence.
Two other very important changes are also being introduced:
- Caregivers will no longer receive an “employer-specific” work permit that only allows them to work for the employer that hired them, but rather an “occupation-specific” work permit. This will allow the caregiver to be able to switch jobs if it becomes necessary without a gap of months to get a new work permit.
- Caregivers will be permitted to bring their family members with them to Canada. The spouses of caregivers will now be permitted to apply for an open-work permit and their dependent children will receive study permits. This is a big change from the current system that in many cases kept caregivers away from their own families for years as they worked and applied for permanent residence in Canada.
These two pilot programs, Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots, will come into effect later this year and will have an annual quota of 2,750 caregivers for each pilot.
For those caregivers who are already in Canada and will not meet the requirements of the existing Live-in Caregiver Program before November 2019, there is an interim pathway that is available from March 4 to June 4, 2019, that will allow them to apply for permanent residence if they meet the following conditions:
- Have 12 months of full-time work in Canada since November 30, 2014 as a home childcare provider or home support worker and worked legally in the temporary foreign worker program;
- Have valid language results at Canadian Language Benchmark level 5.0;
- Have at least a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent.
Zeynab Ziaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and New York. Her legal practice focuses on immigration and business law. She often works with clients to find suitable solutions in complex immigration and citizenship cases and represents clients at all levels of court.