Another guest post from a Canada Immigration Consultant, Mr. Earl Blaney. He talks about the changes set to affect Canada’s Live in Caregiver Program. Salary, compensation package, requirements, and benefits were also mentioned plus live-in caregiver program’s recruitment process and it’s relation to the new Express Entry System.
Changes Set to Affect Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program Philippines
The Live in Caregiver Program (LCP), in its current form was introduced in 1992. The program is designed to provide access to caregivers for Canadian children, the disabled and elderly persons. The pay-off is decent earnings (an average of $ 10.50 per hour) and the ability to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) after 24 months of service (if earned in a 36 month period).
Filipinos have found it easy to qualify for the program and due to a combination of their training, caring disposition and language ability have been at the top of the demand list for individual Canadian employers. Approximately 70% of all caregivers entering Canada through this program are Filipino.
The program is so popular in the Philippines the Canadian embassy in Manila has been overrun with applications, this combined with the embassy’s increased administrative duties (now the added responsibility of handling applications from Japan and South Korea) has made processing times, and as a result the program itself, dysfunctional.
The current wait time for LCP processing via the Manila embassy stands at 39 months. This means that once an applicant is selected by an employer typically over three years pass from signing the work contract to the applicants ability to show up to work in Canada.
Obviously during that lengthy period most employers figure out an alternative care option, die or in the case of children enroll in school and the applicant is no longer needed. Time wasted, processing fees non-refundable.
Some placements continue to be made, despite the backlog, but the vast majority of these tend to be placements as “caregivers” to an “employer” who is actually a family member. In other words, a disguised family sponsorship scenario. Although there is currently no expressed prohibition against doing this, one is coming very soon.
Recently, Jason Kenney (Canada’s former immigration minister) has expressed dis-accord about this fact saying that the LCP has “mutated into a family re-unification program, which is not what it is intended for”, in his statement he mentions the Philippines being the biggest offender in this area. Bringing applicants to Canada to “work” for their own family is often disingenuous and it does not solve Canada’s acute need for caregivers. Expect the Manila embassy to reform their application review procedures accordingly.
Over the years, a multitude of “Caregiver Training Centres” have popped up in stride with the popularity of the program. POEA licensees are prohibited by law from charging their standard one month fee of worker wages for placing workers in Canada. To make up for this loss many such organizations have shifted their focus to developing training facilities or providing training programs, which provide the financial incentive to remain in the business of placing workers in Canada.
Catherine Bailey the Immigration Program Manager of the Canadian Manila embassy expressed recently that suspect quality of these “nanny-schools” is a major cause of concern for the embassy’s fraud investigation team. It is worth pointing out that in many cases applicants enroll in these programs due to pressure of their operators who package completion of these training as a requirement for overseas placement. It certainly is not in many cases.
Canada Live-in Caregiver Program Requirements
To qualify for the LCP program applicants simply need either 6 months of educational training in the caregiver field (this could include a nursing degree or similar), or have one year working experience in the last 3 years (nurses also qualify).
Aside from the unworkable processing times, ending the practice of employing family members, and unscrupulous training centers there is good news on the way. The government HAS announced upcoming changes are on their way to fix what is broken. With a critical shortage of elderly care workers projected within the next five years, Canada NEEDS this program working.
Chris Alexander has been increasingly floating the idea of including Live in Caregiver applications into Canada’s new Express Entry system, and it is widely speculated this is will be the government’s solution used to resurrect the LCP.
Express Entry is Canada’s new system for economic class immigration applicants (of which the LCP is a part of). Express Entry is modeled after New Zealand’s and Australia’s immigration program. Candidates have their profiles entered into a government database which is directly searchable by employers, who can select the best candidate, this triggers the applicant’s ability to apply for immigration.
Including caregiver applicants into this database is a smart choice. Rather than wait in a long queue or deal with placement agencies, caregivers will get direct access to employers. Processing times will be reduced under this new system from current 39 month wait times to only 6 months.
Under the Live in Caregiver program the employer is responsible for paying the caregivers air ticket to Canada (and must do so upfront), the return fair is not the employers responsibility. The employer must also provide the caregiver with a furnished, clean, spacious room that has a lockable door. The employer has a right to collect reasonable fees for room and board (the amount , which differs by province can be found at the link below).
The employer must also bear the cost of paying the caregivers private health insurance and provide additional workplace safety insurance for the employee. Importantly the employer must reimburse the caregiver for any recruitment fees paid by the caregiver to placement agencies (it is ILLEAGAL under Canadian law to charge the worker placement fees, the POEA has agreed to enforce this under pressure from the Canadian government) rather fees can be charged by agencies to the employer only).
Other benefits related to wage, vacation pay and other government managed benefit programs (depend on the province of employment) and are listed at the following link: Canada Foreign Workers Benefits
To submit your application it is best to deal with a licensed immigration consultant from the ICCRC or a Canadian immigration lawyer.
Cebu City, Cebu Philippines