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Blog > 2011 > Children Pay The Price

Children Pay The Price

April 5th, 2011

Can you guess which country sends Canada the greatest number of foreign workers?

Here’s a hint.  It’s not the U.S. or Mexico, despite the opportunities for cross-border employment provided by the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  The correct answer, according to a recent survey, is the Philippines.  In 2009 there were 51,325 Filipinos working in Canada and a good number of them entered the country under the Live-in Caregiver class.

The Live-in Caregiver program is a quid pro quo proposition.  The deal is they come, they toil at the jobs that Canadians don’t want and they eventually are granted permanent residency, which then leads to citizenship.  The ‘they’ are for the most part women and by and large nationals of the Philippines.

Part of the bargain, unfortunately for the caregivers, is that they leave their own families behind to work in Canada and therein lies the problem.  While they are here tending to the needs of the children and parents of privileged Canadians, their kids “back home” are paying a price.  We know this because when these young people finally arrive in Canada they, as a group, have a tougher time making their way than the children of other Canadian immigrants.  It shouldn’t be that way.   As a general rule, the children of Canadian immigrants attain a higher level of education than their parents – this should come as no surprise.  However, among the more established Filipino community in Toronto fewer children have university degrees than their parents.  It’s hard to imagine that extended family dislocation did not play an important role in these results and it doesn’t have to be this way.

A Live-in caregiver in Canada must first complete two years of work (within 36 months) before becoming eligible to submit an application for permanent residence.  The applicant’s spouse and/or children may be included in the application.  It’s a lengthy process that can easily add a couple of years to the time the family remains apart.  Government statistics tell us that more than 90% of those who enter Canada as live-in-caregivers ultimately apply for permanent residence and 98% are successful.  So why make the applicant complete the two years of caregiver work before starting the paperwork that will unite the family?  Given these numbers, surely the immigration process can be running on a parallel track while the caregiver fulfills her part of the bargain in Canada.  It would be the right thing to do.



 
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24 Responses to “Children Pay The Price”

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Fully agreed…. if Canada wants its immigrants to assimilate better & quicker, that should be the direction to go. The earlier they merge into Canadian society, the earlier they will contribute more to Canada.

    A similar situation that could be made better is parents sponsorship where Canadian citizen/PR are required to hold a full time job as the only evidence of their financial ability to sponsor their parents & ignores the evidence of parents having their own financial means to support themselves.

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    It is a sad fact that we, Filipinos, could not deny. Only by God’s grace that the answer to the question; “So why make the applicant complete the two years of caregiver work before starting the paperwork that will unite the family?”, could be given by the Canadian government. Thank you for this blog.

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Good idea, good proposal. Let the papers start running as soon as the Caregiver begins with her employment.

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    How about of other Asian nationalities, for example, Chinese, Malayan, Mongolian, etc?

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I believe is not only Filipinos that are interested in residing in Canada, Africans are also interested, finally I am interested too, how do I go about? Canada has been my dream country to live.

  • On April 6th, 2011, Bill Pierce said ...

    It’s interesting that the Philippines are now the largest source of Canadian immigrants. If this is so, and if the great majority of these Filipino immigrants are female caregivers, what is the percentage of females among the total number of Canadian immigrants? If it is true that the majority of growth among the total Canadian population comes from immigration, are we not becoming increasingly more female?

  • On April 6th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I am Indian.My wife is Live-in Caregiver to our grand daughter (daughter’s daughter) since last more than 6 months.Our PR was filed by my daughter in 2006,but even today we have not received interview call/medical call.We are on multi-entry visitor visa and have applied for extension.My wife’s time passes but what about me ?I sold my lucrative business in my home country with a hope that we shall receive our PR in 2010.(At that time,it was showing on website of Canada immigration),but it is being delayed & delayed and I am westing my time & energy for want of PR.I am getting older & older and if our PR is delayed too long,I may not be able to work at that time.I though that I have taken wrong decision of selling my business and coming to Canada early.
    Please guide,if somebody can guide me.

  • On April 6th, 2011, OKOYE CHINWE said ...

    this is good, let mails be circulated as soon caregiver begin employment.

  • On April 7th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I am in the same boat. We are from South Africa and the Canadian Consulate in South Africa is now busy for more than 2 years on my PR application. I asked for my CAIPS notes and notice they are making incorrect assumptions on my file and act according to what they assume and not on facts. I am also so tired of CIC and their double standards and no reply to correspondence and false time schedules on their website

  • On April 7th, 2011, Alabaman said ...

    Good proposal howevery it will never see the daylight because people like you who see and understand the problems immigrants face, will never make it to pariliament to change the laws. Politicians dont have a clue and unfortunately thats the world we link in.

  • On April 7th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    The Live-in caregiver program is open to everyone…well, everyone who can speak either English or French or both.

  • On April 9th, 2011, Michael said ...

    The whole immigration system makes little sense. I have worked for government for 27 years and can only tell you that they put policy in place because they have a problem with a hand full of immigrants from certain countries. Therefore a policy is put into place to deal with these problems. Unfotunately this affects all countries were people try to apply for permanent residence. This country believe’s that one size fits all. It is time somebody wakes up and has the strenghth to make changes that puts things in a positive light, not changes that makes it easier for them to say NO

  • On April 26th, 2011, Yibel said ...

    Dear Mr. David, I read your blog on “the children pay the price”.
    Though the article is about the Filipinos but the same is true with my fellow Ethiopians. I would agree with your “the right thing to do” opinion concerning the applicants’ completion of the two years of caregiver work to be made simultaneously with the immigration process. Why should the children out there wait another lengthy immigration process before they reunite their parents. …

  • On May 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    It’s not only for the care givers. There are many men who came from the Philippines working as a contract workers in Alberta. Why is it they have to pay a renewal fee to get a new LMO. Filipino men left their jobs back home to give their family a better life. Why not give them AUTOMATIC PERMANENT RESIDENCE after 2 years. These contract workers proved themselves that they can do any kind of job that is available in Alberta, even though they are professionals back home (Philippines). They are contributing enough to the economy of this country. IF YOU ARE ENCOURAGING people from the other countries to apply for immigrant status, why not give those CONTRACT WORKERS who are already here in Canada their PERMANENT STATUS.

  • On May 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Immigration rules and regulations is very demanding and confusing. Give all the CONTRACT WORKERS their PERMANENT RESIDENCE both men and women since they are already here in Canada and they are already contributing to our econmy. Where is the logic of letting those CONTRACT WORKERS to apply for LMO every time their employer renew their contracts. Where is your head? I thought Canadian are very compassionate people and we accept all nationality?

  • On May 1st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    i agree with this ides and it is a good idea, good proposal. I hope the canadian government will look into this since most of the caregiver’s are professional’s and caregiver entry is just a step o become a PR, Let the papers start running as soon as the Caregiver begins with her employment.so that the families will be united soon and would definitely increase the population, more people more purchasing power

  • On May 3rd, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton. Let’s start doing something about the new improve immigration policies for FOREIGN CONTRACT WORKERS (MEN & WOMEN) who is working in Calgary, Alberta. I am a Canadian Citizens for 24 years and my brothers came to Calgary to work as a foreign contract workers and working steadily for 3 years now it’s about time to change the policy and GIVE THEM THE PERMINENT RESIDENCE so that they can sponsor their families.

  • On May 4th, 2011, Business owner said ...

    Thank you for this article. I employ foreign workers and cannot find Canadians to fill in the hours needed…weekends and nights. I have been applying for lmos for 5 years and sometimes they give me lmos sometimes they refuse. I am tired of reapplying and wasting my pRecious time trying to convince service Canada I need employees. I agree, after two years give permanent residency, foreigners contribute to the economy and tax dollars. Someone please lobby for this!

  • On May 9th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I feel bad for this businessman, who wants to hire foreign workers and kept on applying for LMO. Why is it even employers have to wai and reapply for LMO. Wish you the best and good luck. I wish you are in Calgary, Alberta. I wish you can employ my brothers if you are still hiring.

  • On May 25th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    Why does the government not give out truthful information to live in caregivers before they make the decision to come here? Why are we not told that the waiting time can be increased by the stroke of a pen and it will take 5 years instead of two years to get permanent residency?
    This leaves us living in a limbo, a kind of slavery a la Canada style, working for minimum wages with no rights.
    I would say to those officials who make these rules and change these time periods: “All the suffering you cause rests on your shoulders- I hope you can hear the sounds of the bitter tears of mothers and children separated from each other needlessly because of cruel rules and arbitrary time extensions making the separation longer beyond all expectations.
    You could say: “Well, why then did you leave your children?” My family made the decision on the basis that it would be a 2 year separation, and then permanent residency would allow me to bring my family to unite in Canada. We did so because we thought we could escape a crooked government in my country, but now we learn that governments seem to be crooked almost everywhere.
    I am praying for Justice for people everywhere on earth, for workers as well as the people who create these cruel rules which ruin our common humanity, family lives, and childhoods.

  • On May 31st, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I believe a really easy solution to this immigration thing, is, we as Canadians, rightfully so, worry, due to past wrong doers, as bush would say, where grandparents are brought here, to be given old age security, without ever contributing, apparant good people, stop working and collect welfare, while still working so relatives can work and they collect & abuse the system, in so many ways, as it is so easy. Anyway, solution, anyone abusing our system as new Canadians, should be brought before a judge and if it is proved, they should be deported to their country of origin. If they want to bring parents, aunts uncles etc, to Canada, they should not be automatically entitled to our benefits. These benefits should be prorated according to time/work. the children, should have to take care of their parent/relative, without them needing our pensions or welfare. So voila, no need ot worry about these immigrants bleeding our system, as so many are so worried about, and funny thing, it is immigrants that are now Canadians, that complain about it the most. LOL

  • On October 17th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I totally agree with your blog…however, as a live in caregiver, the program offered by CAnadian government to us is good and great, however we didn’t anticipate that in the near future, the immigration will make our hearts and brain bleed by letting us wait forever…we are like cats chasing the end of the rope with what they’re doing, making us wait and wait and wait…I am desperately praying that this situation would change…that somehow, somewhere out there someone would voice it out for even if we do, nobody will listen to us… With the current situation right now… a lot of us are asking if this emotional torture that cic is giving us right now is worth leaving our families behind for a better future by believing in the canadian government….

  • On December 15th, 2011, Anonymous said ...

    I am in the process of hiring my 4th Filipino Caregiver. Each time the processing time to get their landed immigrant status has become longer and longer. I’m sure when they are back in the Philippines they are lead to believe that they only have to work for 24 months and then they will be able to bring their family over with them to Canada, when in fact it is more like 4 or 5 years before they will be reunited with them. Can you imagine leaving your children for 5 years? That is absolute torture. Our government needs to get this paperwork to go through quicker for these families and it also needs to better inform the ladies applying for these positions, what they are getting into and how long it will really be before their families will be joining them in their new country of residence. Perhaps they may decide it is really not worth the separation from their children after all. We as employers should also respect the sacrifice these ladies are giving to support their families and not keep them stuck at the absolute minimum wage requirement that the government sets. Remember, this is a minimum wage, just as is for any other job. Do you keep any other employee for 2 to 5 years who does a good job at the basic minimum wage or do you give him/her regular raises according to how well they perform their duties? Treat these workers like any other employee in Canada would be treated and look at what similar workers in your region earn and then adjust slightly for the fact that you are providing them with inexpensive room and board. Don’t give Canada a bad name as bad employers of our foreign workers.

  • On May 30th, 2012, Anonymous said ...

    Totally agree. Life is short enough as it is. Everyone is trying to improve their quality of life, while at the same time, economy is keep demanding more workers, to fill positions. Here we have the workers, coming over and then they get put through a long wait list to get a quality of life that works for them, makes them happy, and would subsequently reflect in happier and more productive workers, which on the large scale, would be a more happier and successful economy.

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