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This article was published 15/6/2019 (183 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Immigrants who want to become permanent residents and work as caregivers in Canada will be able to apply for two new pilot projects starting next week, the federal government announced Saturday.
Applications for the five-year home child-care provider and home-support worker programs open June 18, Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North) announced on behalf of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen in Winnipeg’s Union Station on Main Street.
The new programs will address some of the challenges faced by people who come to Canada to work as caregivers, Lamoureux said, such as the lack of a direct path to permanent residency, the difficulties that arise if they need to change jobs and the long periods of time spent away from their families.
The new programs are replacing two other expiring projects — the five-year classes on caring for children and caring for people with high medical needs that were introduced in 2014 — and will also include some new features.
Lamoureux said one of the most significant changes is a caregiver’s initial work permit will now be specific to their occupation, instead of tied to a particular employer.
"(With the old system), if I have this work permit permission, I would be linked to an individual employer. So if I was having problems with that employer, that would be problematic for me," Lamoureux said. "Now, it’s more so (that) you have a caregiver permit, so you can go from one employer to another."
Lamoureux said the interim pathway program for caregivers is also being extended, so anyone who came to Canada as a caregiver but does not yet have permanent residency will have an extra three months to apply starting July 8.
Caregivers’ families will now also have access to permits to be in Canada: open work permits for spouses and common-law partners, and study permits for children, Lamoureux said.
"It provides the live-in caregiver the opportunity to be reunited with his or her family at a much earlier stage," he said.
Lamoureux said applicants for the new programs will be assessed to see if they meet permanent residency criteria before coming to work in Canada, so when they arrive they know they have a guaranteed path to permanent residency.
The two programs being replaced were set to expire in November, but will instead close early — so caregivers who would have applied for the old systems can be redirected to the new ones, Lamoureux said. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will also no longer issue in-home caregiving work permits to overseas applicants, and will redirect potential applicants to the new pilots, he said.
Lamoureux also said because the new permits are occupation-specific, employers won’t require a labour-market impact assessment to hire caregivers from other countries.
He said caregivers, many of whom come from other countries, play an invaluable role in Canada — especially for seniors and children.
"Without that, it’s hard to imagine how we would have evolved as a society," Lamoureux said.
Updated on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 11:38 PM CDT: Edited