Ottawa

Pilot program to ease restrictions on foreign caregivers

Foreigners coming to Canada to work as nannies and support workers will now have an easier path to permanent residency, and a greater chance of bringing their own families with them.

New rules to give caregivers, nannies easier path to permanent residency

Aimee Beboso of advocacy group Migrante Canada is applauding the changes, but would like to see them made permanent. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Foreigners coming to Canada to work as nannies and support workers will now have an easier path to permanent residency, and a greater chance of bringing their own families with them.

Under current rules, foreign workers aren't assessed for permanent residency until after they've been employed two years, at which point some found out they didn't qualify.

Under a new five-year pilot program, foreign workers will be screened up front so those who qualify will become permanent residents as soon as they've completed their two years of employment.

The pilot will also allow workers to bring their spouses and children with them, and will also grant work permits specific to a foreign worker's occupation rather than their employer. 

Immigration status key

Aimee Beboso, chair of Migrante Canada, an advocacy group for migrant workers, is applauding the changes.

"Status is very key here, because status grants you rights. It grants you access to services that are not afforded to temporary foreign workers," she told CBC's All In A Day.  

Beboso said she knows what it's like to have a parent travel to another country for work.

"We reunited here in Canada, but for the longest time I had an absentee father because he worked in the Middle East," she said.

New immigration programs are opening the doors for foreign caregivers to come to Canada WITH their family. But immigration advocates say there's a catch. 8:50

'Precarious situation'

Beboso is concerned about how the government has communicated the changes, however. She said some of the language announcing the pilot last month suggested workers would need thousands of dollars in the bank before boarding a plane for Canada — money many could only get from loan sharks.   

"You are putting these individuals into a very precarious situation," she said

Mathieu Genest, press secretary to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, said applicants are only required to show they can support themselves once in Canada, and said the department is clarifying the language on its website regarding that requirement.

"There are no financial requirements to participate in the program," Genest said in an email to CBC. "As a job offer is a requirement for the caregiver pilot programs, most applicants will meet the financial eligibility criteria before applying." 

Beboso said she hopes the changes are made permanent.