Caregivers, families and their lawyers were caught by surprise this week when the Government of Canada surreptitiously announced changes to the Permanent Residence through the Caring for Children Program.
The government website now reads that “We will stop accepting applications for this permanent resident program on November 29, 2019. If you don’t have two years of full-time work experience as a caregiver before it closes, you won’t be eligible to apply”. Unless a new pathway for permanent residence is presented, the expiry of the 2014 pilot program will drastically affect the number of individuals residing in Canada eligible to apply to for permanent residence as caregivers of children.
Previously, foreign individuals with two years of full-time caregiver experience were eligible to apply for permanent residence. The existence of this program is particularly important for home child care providers, since their occupation is classified as non professional and these workers are ineligible from qualifying under other federal and provincial programs for skilled workers.
The November 29, 2019 cut off has created a situation wherein there are many caregivers currently living in Canada, as well as some who have accepted offers of employment, who will not be eligible to apply for permanent residence once they have met the two-year experience requirement, as previously assumed. In addition, some caregivers who began work before November 29, 2017 will not be able to gain two full years of experience by the cut off and will therefore lose eligibility. Often, the reasons behind not being able to gain the experience by the cut off are out of the caregiver’s control.
Many Canadian families are concerned that this change will make it more difficult for them to find the dedicated, long term, help they need. The promise of permanent residence is one of the reasons foreign nationals are attracted to Canada to help in the homes of Canadians. Many are now worried that this major change will lead to less caregivers choosing Canada as a place to come and provide this necessary service, an occupation that to begin with is in high demand and short supply locally. Employers willing to hire foreign caregivers already need to demonstrate that there are no eligible candidates for the job before bringing a foreign caregiver for children, thought a process called a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
In addition to the new cut-off date, several requirements had already been added by the Conservative government in 2014, making this program a more difficult pathway for permanent residence. Caregivers must prove their knowledge of the English or French languages through a test from an approved agency. The training, taking and transcripts for these tests can be costly for caregivers.
Along with proof of their language ability, documentation must be provided that the caregiver has completed a Canadian post- secondary degree, diploma or certificate lasting at least one year. Alternatively, a foreign degree, diploma or certificate along with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) can be submitted. The ECA must come, again, from an approved agency and must show that the caregivers education is equivalent to a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate. This can be a difficult hurdle for many of the individuals who work in an industry known to be both time consuming and to often do not provide workers with large amounts of expendable income.
The announcement of this cut-off date will make this program more difficult for caregivers and employers, or in many cases, will close the door to permanent residence altogether.
We will have to see whether the federal government develops a new program for the processing of permanent residence of child caregivers. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity for provincial governments that are already offering programs for semi-skilled foreign workers to include home child care providers as eligible candidates.
For further information on the different programs available to immigrate to Canada contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Desloges Law Group is a Toronto law firm specializing in all types of Canadian immigration law, administrative law and civil litigation. www.desloges.ca