Canada issues 10,000 work permits to caregivers

by Marlou Tiro, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 21 2011 12:19 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2011 07:21 PM

ST. CATHARINES, NIAGRA - Canadian authorities have fast tracked the release of 10,000 open permits for caregivers, who are waiting for their status as permanent residents.   

It is a merry Christmas for thousands of Filipino caregivers after Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued the open permits to those who completed requirements under the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP). 
The open permit allows caregivers to obtain residency outside of their employer’s home and have other jobs of their choice. 
For many who are in Canada under the LCP, an open permit means freedom. LCP requires caregivers to work exclusively for, and live in the homes of their employers for two years. 
”When I opened the mailbox, I was so happy,” said Ilene Reyes, a caregiver.  “It’s what I’ve been waiting for.” 
Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the issuance of open permits came 18 months sooner than the standard processing time to give caregivers a chance to prepare for their eventual permanent settlement in Canada.
This would also also ease the frustration of the long waiting period. 
For many caregivers, open permits symbolize the end of suffering in the hands of abusive employers. 
In 2009, a high-profile case involving Member of Parliament Ruby Dhalla highlighted the abuses some caregivers experience under the LCP program. 
Filipino caregivers Magdalene Labrador and Richlyn Tongson worked as caregivers for Dhalla's family. They later exposed her alleged abuses. The case reached Parliament, prompting Dhalla to resign as Liberal Youth and Multiculturalism Critic.

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