The worst kept secret is finally out, that there are huge changes underway to the Canadian live-in caregiver program. In Friday’s Metro News in Toronto (a Toronto Star daily) is was reported that the number of caregivers accepted in Canada last year through this program declined last year to 8,400 from its previous high of 13,800 in 2007.
In 2008 it took just under 1 year to bring a nanny to Canada from overseas and currently that process takes upwards of 18 months to get this done. In addition, the latest requirement that employers pay the transportation fees to being the nannies over, plus the additional scrutiny that potential employers must go through, there are less nannies getting through the system, as it’s getting expensive for the average Canadian.
With fewer nannies arriving, the current group of nannies are being expected to work longer – under the program, a nanny could complete her requirements of working 2 years within 3 years of being in the program, and then could apply for an open permit while applying for permanent resident status. Two years ago, a nanny could have her permanent residence in less than 6 months after that. Nowadays, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is processing permanent resident requests much slower, taking up to 2 years per item, so nannies applying for this need to remain employed, thus prolonging their stays.
The belief is that the government would prefer to keep these jobs in the country and have employers hire locally trained nannies to keep Canadians employed, by making the program expensive for potential employers and difficult for potential nannies to be brought over to Canada and then in the process for them to become permanent residents.
Nannies working in Canada under the open permit are generally not allowed to attend Canadian schools to upgrade their education and applying as a foreign student is extremely expensive and unattainable for a caregiver working for minimum wage.
In our case, our nanny has been in the country for 3 years, 2 years with us and one year elsewhere, and her permanent residency has been sitting with the government for almost a year. She is bright, ambitious and would be a model Canadian, however, she cannot take any accredited courses, and she will not be leaving us to work at Tim Horton’s, it’s our obligation to make sure she gets a great job to help herself support herself and her family. I love that she is staying with us, and once she gets her permanent residency, we discussed her staying with us to continue to work – reduced hours – while attending school to work on her English and find what she really wants to do with the rest of her life.
Too few people take that approach with their employees, I mean don’t you want all your staff to improve, to grow and to be successful?
This delay is going to drive away some great nannies caught in the system and deter them from contributing to this beautiful country.
Reach out to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and tell him… I did. I actually caught him on Twitter. He didn’t reply, but if enough people reach out, maybe they’ll see the light.
Between these delays and the new requirements on nanny agencies – they must have an immigration consultant, lawyer and paralegal – tells me they are tightening the screws. It’s good and it’s bad. It’s good if it’s being done to prevent exploitation and make the system work better but it’s bad if it is forcing those great nanny placement agencies who are barely scraping by thanks to the new regulations and requiring them to spend more money. It will surely put some of them out of business too… Unless that is the point of this exercise.
Here is the contact information for Canadian Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney;
1168 137 Ave SE
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
What are your thoughts?