The Immigration Department of Canada has posted a notice which states that Foreign Caregivers who will not complete two years of employment before November 29, 2019 will not be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

The two programs which had been initiated in 2014 for immigration of foreign caregivers for children and people with special medical needs, are nearing their expiry date. Since the time these pilot programs have been launched, around 555 foreign caregivers have been granted permanent citizenship. As the deadline for these two programs nears, the Canadian government is reviewing them to decide whether to remove, replace or renew them.

Faith St. John, spokesperson for Immigration Canada, has stated that “Both programs were launched as five-year pilots, including a date that they expire. With a launch date of November 29, 2014, this means they will expire on November 29, 2019.”

This announcement made on the Immigration website has taken all foreign caregivers by surprise. Not all the caregivers working in Canada at present can meet the two year employment requirement by the time these programs end. This news has also put the future of the arriving caregivers in jeopardy. If the program ends, permanent residency can become unattainable for migrant caregivers.

How will it affect foreign caregivers?

Out of the total number of caregivers who come to Canada, 95% arrive with the hope of getting permanent citizenship so that they can provide their families with brighter prospects.

The Canadian Caregiver Program is a one-of-a-kind initiative which makes permanent residence so easy for migrants. This is an incentive to attract foreign caregivers to work for relatively lower pay scales and in sub-standard working conditions.

However, now that the program is reaching its end, caregivers are becoming anxious. They are worried about losing the opportunity to become a citizen of a developed country with a high standard of living.

Foreign caregivers leave their families and come to a new country in search of better job offers and a chance to restart their lives in a better way. There is a wave of discontent among the caregivers because of the lack of any conclusive answer from the government.

According to Anna Malla of the Caregivers Action Centre, “This is another underhanded way for the government to quietly take away the pathway for permanent residency for caregivers. This is not OK”

It has been observed that if a caregiver loses a job, it takes around eight months to get hold of another one. This trend makes it very difficult for the migrant caregivers to fulfil the two year full employment criteria. These factors are beyond their control.

Faith St. John offers some hope by stating that “An assessment is underway on both of these pilots. This assessment will help determine what pathway to permanent residence should be in place after that date. Options to replace the two pilots or make them permanent will be reviewed and announced before they expire in 2019.”

Caregivers can do nothing more than wait for the final verdict and then take a decision about their future.