ith a backlog of more than 360,000 applications for permanent residence, of which many are from caregivers, the Canadian government will start implementing a faster pathway for caregivers to get landed status.
Filipino Canadian Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez announced that effective April 30 this year, the qualification period for caregivers to become permanent residents will be reduced from 24 to 12 months.
"We need to do more for them to relieve the backlog that exists today and this is one way that we’re assisting in doing that, by reducing that from 24 months to 12 months from an experience perspective for those who are in Canada and this is a tremendous change. I mean the number of caregivers that are gonna be positively impacted by this announcement is huge," Valdez noted.
Member of Parliament Salma Zahid, chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, stressed that the change will enable caregivers to be reunited sooner with the families they left behind.
"I know as a mother how difficult it is for a mother to be away from their families, their kids, so we will continue working together," Zahid said.
Judith Gonzales, founder of the Fil-Core support group in Ontario, welcomed the government’s move in light of what she described as the imperfections in the current policy. She added that this will also give hope to many caregivers who are vulnerable to abuse.
Gonzales said, "I'm happy for all the parents, caregivers na aabot dito because during our time, it takes two years plus the application process. RIght now, meron na silang PR from the beginning, conditional PR and then after a year, puwede na silang maging PR, mali-lift na yung condition."
But Member of Parliament Jenny Kwan of the New Democratic Party said she’s disappointed with the change and stressed that this is not enough. Kwan, the NDP Critic for Immigration, said caregivers give valuable help to Canadian families, so they should be given landed status as soon as they arrive.
She also echoed the calls of caregivers to scrap the language tests and education requirements.
"Why is it that they're putting these very onerous requirements?," Kwan asked. "I feel that those are discriminatory practices. It’s just to put barriers in place to stop caregivers from getting access to permanent residence status."
Kwan is also pushing for a dedicated immigration stream for caregivers instead of limiting the number of caregivers that can apply in the home care provider pool.
"Instead of constantly only bringing migrant workers in, caregivers in as migrant workers, we should be bringing caregivers in as permanent resident residents in, in Canada and so then they would be able to bring the family here right from the beginning and immigrate here to Canada," Kwan argued.
The 'Home Child Care Provider Pilot' limits the number of applicants to 1,650. The cap was renewed at the beginning of the year but the slots were immediately filled and the category is now closed.