Government gives a short window for application: March 4, 2019 to June 4, 2019
Posted on - Feb 28, 2019

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

On February 23, 2019, Canada’s Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Ahmed Hussen announced that he would be launching two new 5-year Caregiver immigration pilot programs along with a new interim program for permanent residence for caregivers currently in Canada. This is welcome news for both aspiring caregivers abroad as well as for those currently in Canada. Canada’s caregiver program can only be described as utterly confusing over the past five years. This announcement, while welcome, does not provide the much-needed clarity that our caregivers deserve. Let’s try and understand the significance of these announcements and what it means for caregivers currently in Canada.

First a bit of background: for many years, and up to November of 2014, Canada had the Live-in Caregiver program where caregivers would come to Canada to provide live-in care to families, whether for children or elderly family members. Prospective caregivers needed to have a minimum of one year of previous work experience as a caregiver or completion of a 6 month caregiver course, have the equivalent of a Canadian high school education and basic language proficiency (which was undefined) in order to qualify for a work permit under the program. Upon arrival in Canada, they were required to live in the homes of their employers and needed to complete a minimum of two years of full-time work as a caregiver before they could apply for both permanent residence from within Canada along with an open work permit. Once a caregiver obtained an open work permit, they were no longer required to reside with their employer. While this program worked well for many, there were notable incidents of abuse particularly because of the requirement that the caregiver live in the residence of their employer.

In November of 2014 this program was terminated and two new 5-year pilots were introduced – the Caring for Children and the Caring for People with high medical needs pilot programs. These programs increased the both the educational and language requirements for obtaining permanent residence from within Canada after obtaining two years of work experience.

Sadly, that was not the case and after working in Canada for two years, or often more, and being away from their families abroad, they were to learn that they were not eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Recognizing the confusion about the two caregiver programs and the disconnect between the issuance of the work permit without assessment of the criteria for permanent residence, Minister Hussen has announced an interim pathway for caregivers currently in Canada with significantly reduced eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for the Interim Pathway for Caregivers you must demonstrate the following:

  • 12 months of Canadian work experience as a home childcare provider or home support worker or a mix of both obtained after November 30, 2014. Experience as a house keeper or foster parent doesn’t count.
  • Your work experience must have been gained while working on a work permit issued pursuant to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). (This means that you were issued a work permit abroad as a caregiver. It is not eligible to persons who may be in Canada on other types of work permits such as a post graduation work permit).
  • You must have either a Canadian high school diploma or a foreign education that is the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma. (You must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to demonstrate this).
  • You must demonstrate language proficiency in either English or French at a proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for each of the four proficiencies – reading, writing, speaking and listening. (You will need to have an approved language test to confirm your proficiency).

The Interim Pathway for Caregivers Program is only in effect for a short time – March 4, 2019 to June 4, 2019. Prospective applicants need to act fast!

Obtaining an ECA and an approved language test can take up to two or three months so you need to take immediate action if you intend to access this program!

For information on how to obtain an ECA or an approved language test please see the following links:

As for the two new 5 year pilot programs for future caregivers to Canada, you will need to stay tuned as the Minister has not provided the full details of these as of yet.

His initial announcements indicate that his new pilot programs will replace the former programs and that they will allow caregivers to come to Canada with their families and with a path to permanent residence – both welcome improvements to the program.

Hopefully Minister Hussen will provide the details of these new programs soon and with the necessary clarity that Canada’s caregiver program deserves.

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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