Caregivers will soon have access to 2 new 5-year caregiver immigration pilots that will replace expiring and ineffective pilot programs. The new pilots will allow caregivers to come to Canada together with their family and provide a pathway to permanent residence.
Caregivers will also soon have greater flexibility to change jobs quickly, and barriers that prevent family members from accompanying caregivers to Canada will be removed, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen announced on February 23.
“Caregivers provide care to families in Canada that need it, and it’s time for Canada to care for them in return. We are providing them with both the opportunity to bring their family members here and access permanent residency to demonstrate our commitment,” Hussen said.
Under the new pilots, applicants will be assessed for permanent residence criteria before they begin working in Canada. Once the caregiver has their work permit and 2 years of work experience, they will have access to a direct pathway to become a permanent resident.
These pilot programs will replace the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots and include:
Occupation-specific work permits for caregivers, providing the ability to change jobs quickly when necessary.
Open work permits for spouses/common-law partners and study permits for dependent children, to allow the caregiver’s family to accompany them to Canada.
In addition, the Minister also launched the Interim Pathway for Caregivers, which will be open from March 4, 2019, until June 4, 2019.
This interim program is being launched after hearing directly from caregivers and interested parties that the previous changes made in 2014 were not well understood. Many caregivers began working for families in Canada, only to find out later that they were not going to qualify for permanent residence under an existing program.
To address this issue, the Interim Pathway for Caregivers will provide those caregivers an opportunity to stay in Canada permanently. The interim program will have modified criteria compared to the current pilot programs and offer a pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who, in good faith, have come to Canada and are providing care to Canadians, without a clear pathway to permanent residence.
The Government of Canada continues to be committed to family reunification and eliminating backlogs across all immigration streams. In 2017, the Government committed to eliminating 80% of the caregiver backlog and reducing the processing time from its peak of more than 60 months. To date, the Government has reduced 94% of the backlog and reduced the processing time to 12 months.
In October 2017, there were about 9,000 cases, representing 24,000 caregivers and their family members, in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) backlog. Today, there are now only 495 cases left to be processed, representing 2,655 people in all, a reduction of 94 percent.
The processing time for new applications from those who were grandfathered into the LCP is 12 months instead of the peak of 60 months previously.
Applications under the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots continue to be processed in 6 months or less.
Both the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot will launch later this year and have a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants each, for a total of 5,500 principal applicants, per year. Spouses/common-law partners and dependent children will not count against the limit.