On February 23, 2019, the Honourable Ahmed Hussein, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the introduction of two new pilot programs for caregivers. Borders Law Firm welcomes these new programs, which promise caregivers more equitable employment and a fairer pathway to both permanent residence and family reunification in Canada. These new programs will replace the five-year “Caring for Children” and “Caring for People with High Medical Needs” pilots launched in 2014, which are set to expire in November 2019.
The new pilot programs would introduce an assessment of caregivers based on their eligibility for permanent residence before they begin working in Canada. Caregivers will now have a direct pathway to permanent residence once they obtain a work permit and two (2) years of experience (it is presently unclear whether these two years of work experience must take place in Canada). The programs also promise occupation-specific work permits, enabling caregivers to “change jobs quickly when necessary”. Finally, the new pilots would now permit caregivers’ dependent family members to accompany them to Canada, through open work permits for their spouses/common-law partners and study permits for dependent children. These changes represent a major step forward in achieving parity between caregivers and other applicants for economic immigration.
In addition, Minister Hussein also announced the creation of the “Interim Pathway for Caregivers”, which will be open from March 4, 2019 until June 4, 2019 only. During this three-month period, caregivers who have at least one (1) year of work experience in Canada since November 2014 and meet other baseline criteria may now apply for permanent residence. The “Interim Pathway for Caregivers” is intended to “provide a one-time, short term dedicated pathway to permanent residence” for some caregivers who came to Canada under the poorly-understood, pre-2014 Live-in Caregiver Program. Many such applicants came to Canada expecting to obtain permanent residence, only to discover possibly years later that they did not qualify under any existing pathways. Thus, for the next three (3) months, any and all applications received will be processed to completion, offering pre-2014 Live-in Caregiver applicants a chance to finally obtain their dream of permanent residence in Canada.