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Caregiver program gets a timely boost

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister, Chris Alexander, announced significant reforms to the Caregiver Program that acknowledges the valuable contributions caregivers make to Canadian families and the economy.

Changes to the program include ending the live-in requirement, and providing eligible caregivers with two pathways that will lead to permanent residence within six months.

One pathway features criteria for child care providers that are very similar to current requirements, but without the need for the caregiver to live in the home of their employer where they may be vulnerable to abuse.

In addition, caregivers in a variety of health care occupations, including registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse aides, orderlies, patient service associates and home support workers, will also have a pathway to permanent residence. Eligible caregivers in this stream would be able to gain their work experience either in providing in-home care or care in a healthcare facility to an elderly person or a person with a disability or chronic medical condition. This pathway offers more career options for eligible caregivers, and targets workers in occupations that are expected to face labour shortages in the future. Applications in this stream would also be processed within six months.

Canada is taking aggressive action to reduce the backlog of applications for permanent residence through the Live-in Caregiver Program. 

As part of the 2015 Levels Plan tabled in the House of Commons, Canada will welcome 30,000 new permanent residents in this category. Reducing the backlog and processing times will mean that eligible caregivers will be reunited sooner with their families.

Caregivers who have already applied for Live-in Caregiver Program work permits, and any who applied based on an employer’s approved Labour Market Impact Assessment submitted before November 30, will also be able to complete the work requirement on a live-in basis and eventually apply for permanent residence. 

A few quick facts:
• Citizenship and Immigration Canada will set an all-time record in the number of caregiver permanent resident admissions in 2014, with levels set at 17,500.
• Both pathways will have a cap on applications of 2,750 each year, for a total of 5,500. This does not include spouses and dependants, and is consistent with the number of caregivers coming to Canada in recent years. 
From 2011 to 2013, about 4,500 principal applicants applied each year for permanent residence through the Caregiver Program.
• In recent years, Canada has made a number of improvements to the Caregiver Program, including making open work permits available to live-in caregivers immediately upon applying for permanent residence, increasing the amount of time available for a caregiver to complete the work requirement from three years to four, adopting a standardized employment contract for live-in caregivers that defines the employer’s obligations to the caregiver and arranging emergency processing of new work permits for caregivers who have been abused and need to leave their employment urgently.

“With our improvements caregivers will be provided with more pathways towards permanent residence and will have the tools they need to achieve success in the Canadian labour market,” said Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister. 

Posted: Dec 3, 2014

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