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Major Changes To Caregiver Legislation

 reforms that affect foreign caregivers

Caregivers can breathe a sigh of relief after Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced some major changes to the current requirements, the most notable being that caregivers will no longer be required to live with their employers.

From 30 November, the following reforms will affect foreign caregivers:

  • Caregivers have the option to live with employers
  • Caregivers will fall under two separate categories
  • A cap of 2,750 permanent residency applications per year from 2015
  • Cutting the backlog of 60,000 applications 

Typically, foreign workers are separated from family members while they wait two years to be eligible for residency, which can then take more than three years.

Live-in caregivers have compared their current employment situation to "modern-day slavery."

"They told me they felt they couldn't complain and that they weren't paid overtime," said Alexander. "Imagine being forced to sleep where you work and having your wages garnished for room and board. We're putting an end to that. We're providing caregivers with a choice."

Going forward, workers will be classed either child-care providers or caregivers (for the infirm or elderly). In order to redress the backlog of applications, the government will implement a cap of at 2,750 for residency applications in each of the new carer categories. Following two years of full-time employment, carers may apply for permanent status and have their applications processed within six months.

If you are considering hiring a nanny or carer, you will first need to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) claiming a Canadian worker could not fill the job.

Some critics are skeptical of the reforms, claiming that under the new system carers will practically have to win a "lottery" in order to qualify to work here. Others insist that Alexander's promise to deal with the backlog of some 60,000 applications over the next two years is unrealistic.

You tell me: What do you think of the changes set out above?

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