Immigration Corner | Changes to the Canadian caregiver programme
Dear Miss Powell,
I have been working as a caregiver in Canada for the past two years and I would like to get my papers to stay here for good. I also want my children to come up as I haven’t seen them since I came here. I was told that there are some immigration changes and I have to rush my application. What kind of changes? Do I qualify?
In past years, individuals with a valid work permit who have at least two years' experience working in Canada under the category of caregivers, or as a home child-care provider, or caring for persons with high medical needs, were able to apply for permanent residence through the Caring for Children, or Caring for People with High Medical Needs programmes. Under that pilot programme which was implemented by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a caregiver could receive Canadian permanent residence. That programme was scheduled to expire in November 2019.
However, recently IRCC announced that the Government of Canada has launched two new pilot programmes to provide caregivers and their families with new pathways to obtaining permanent residence, plus an interim programme for eligible workers in Canada.
Since I do not have the details of your personal situation, I cannot say whether or not you are qualified or which programme you may be qualified under. However, I will provide you will some basic information that you can use as a guide for when you schedule an urgent meeting with your immigration lawyer.
New Pilot Programmes
The new pilot programmes will replace the existing Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilots. The first change is that there will be a new programme under which individuals may receive occupation-specific work permits. With these work permits, workers will now have the ability to change jobs easily, as the permits will be 'occupation specific' rather than 'employer specific'.
Additionally, the new programmes will also have benefits for the immediate family of the caregiver. Spouses or common-law partners of caregivers could also be granted open work permits and their dependent children could be granted study permits. This is a part of the Government of Canada’s effort to prevent separation of families and ensuring that Canada has a successful workforce.
The other option is the Interim Pathway for Caregivers programme. Under this programme, caregivers in Canada have a limited time between March 4-June 4, 2019, to submit an application for permanent residence. This is only available to some caregivers who came to Canada after changes were made to the previous caregiver programmes.
Another significant change is that IRCC announced that caregivers will now need to be assessing for permanent residence before they actually land in Canada. That means that each caregiver will need to have proof that he/she has completed at least the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma or the foreign equivalent, and must demonstrate competency in at least one of the Canadian official languages. This can be demonstrated by a language report that shows that the individual has at least a score of a Canadian Language Benchmark of five in one of the official languages.
Once the individual has demonstrated the above, and passed the medical and security checks, then a work permit may be granted. After two years of work experience in Canada, the individual will be on the pathway to permanent residency.
Finally, caregivers should note that the temporary programme will expire on June 4, 2019. Therefore, a properly completed application will need to be submitted before the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be processed and will be returned. It is therefore your duty to ensure that you submit an accurate application, with all the required supporting documents, before the due date. If you have any doubts or have difficulties with your application, you should consult an immigration lawyer to assist you.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Law society, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration Book your appointment by call 613.695.8777/ 876-922-4092 Connect with her at facebook.com/jamaicanlawyer