Filipino Families Feeling the Pinch

May 3rd, 2016

A couple of recent cases have highlighted some heartbreaking situations with respect to the Caregiver Program (formerly the Live-in Caregiver Program). Families trying to hire overseas caregivers are frustrated at having to pay $1,000 along with the application and wait months for a response, only to have the application rejected by visa officers who don’t believe the person will leave Canada at the end of the work term.

It’s a sad situation.

Take, for example, Surrey, British Columbia resident Eleanor Tarun, who applied to have her brother, a qualified caregiver from the Philippines, come to Canada to help take care of her family when her maternity leave ends.

Tarun followed all the rules, including hiring a nanny agency for almost $800 to help her advertise the job locally and guide her through the process. Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program — which, since 2014, has included caregivers — employers must advertise positions locally before looking overseas.

But the application was rejected. “You have not satisfied me that you would leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for your stay,” said a letter from the government.

A little history. Over the summer of 2014, the then Employment Minister Jason Kenney, who had previously served as Immigration Minister, said that something needed to be done about the Live-in Caregiver Program. Why? According to Kenney, the “out of control” program had “mutated” into a program of family reunification.

Then and now, such comments and beliefs ought not to be relevant.  If a family proves the need for care, the blood relationship to the caregiver is irrelevant. Indeed, other things being equal, who would you rather have caring for your family members, including your kids? A brother, sister, cousin, aunt or uncle, or a complete stranger?

What gives?

At the same time as implementing the intention to leave Canada requirement in specific cases, the government is stating that it also wants caregivers to be provided with the opportunity to become permanent residents, with an admission target of 22,000 new caregiver permanent residents for this year alone. Sounds like a mixed message to me.

For applicants, families, and communities alike, it is a confusing mess.

The biggest losers, in terms of specific communities, are Filipino families that have a presence in Canada. Filipinos make up the lion’s share of international caregivers in Canada. It is also worth noting that in 2014 the Philippines was the top source country for new Canadian immigrants, ousting China and India to claim the top spot. In the first year of the Express Entry immigration selection system, the Philippines was the second-top source country of invited candidates in terms of country of citizenship, representing 12.6% of all invited candidates over the course of 2015.

Putting two and two together, it is natural that if one of the top source countries for new permanent residents also happens to be the country most caregivers in Canada come from, it will follow that in some situations Filipino residents of Canada will wish to have a family member come to Canada as a caregiver. In that situation, the family should be supported, not rejected.

The Caregiver Program and Canada’s Family Class Sponsorship programs have allowed many Filipinos to arrive, transition to permanent resident status and, in many cases, sponsor family members to join them in Canada. Within the broader Filipino community in Canada, we have observed success after success of small communities that have flourished across the country.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be for businesses that face local labour shortages. It is a program that should aim to help Canadian businesses be successful. It should not be an umbrella program that also includes a mom and dad trying to operate a household.

Previous Blog : The Cream of the Crop
Next Blog : Time to rethink family relationships

12 Responses to “Filipino Families Feeling the Pinch”

  • On May 4th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    this is heartbreaking, i just received today a letter from service canada for my application for lmia for a live in caregiver, and i believe this is a rejection letter that comes with the check that i paid them. it says my application will not be processd since it is a live in setup. on the other hand, even if one’s lmia is approved it is not a guarantee that the caregiver from the philippines will come to canada andwork, the caregiver must satisfy the officer that he will return to philippines after the contract. so ironic cause the CRA is now collecting from me taxes that i shpuld have deductd from the caregiver. my comments are now mixed cause of my mixed emotions

  • On May 5th, 2016, adrian said ...

    It is really hard to get around the immigration system. It just penalizes those who follow the rules.

  • On May 6th, 2016, Edward said ...

    This caregiver program is such a MESS and I blame the previous Conservatives for it. Hopefully the Liberals can fix it because it is a needed program especially for Seniors.

  • On May 6th, 2016, CRISTY said ...

    It is always a mother’s best interest to hire somebody whom she knew and trust to take good care of her children.It is frustrating.In the other hand caregivers are usually a degree holder back in the Philippines e.g. (teachers,nurses,bank tellers etc.) but because of the increasing unemployment problem they are looking for options to leave the country.After the caregiver program they are beneficial to fill up the shortage in the labor market.

  • On May 16th, 2016, Sayed said ...

    There should be arule that family members are not allowed as than it becomes a family reunification program instead of a temporary caregiver program.

  • On May 19th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    So what is your advice to get past this problem? How can the applicant prove that he/she will return to his/her country after the term?

  • On July 13th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    ALL TFW must always be temporary meaning regardless of work or education not to be allowed to apply for permanent residency in short contractual basis forever no more 4 yrs rule temporary forever

  • On July 13th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    in this case govt can lift the LMIA fees and other requirements like fake ads that most consultant agencies using to meet the requirements to make money out of the pocket of TFW

  • On July 13th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    This will fix the problem in TFW program just like in the middle east mostly foreign workers from differrent countries but no pathways for permanent residency and TFW are all happy after all they mostly need is money to support their family

  • On July 13th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    permanent residency or citizenship in canada should be a privelege and not a right for all foreign workers this should be a greatest reward that all TFW will get by aviding the law of this country and also their contribution to the community and PNP is the rightful agency to recommend and award this privelege to all TFW regardless of age, education and english literacy for the most important is what the TFW had contributed to this country and this will give fairness to all.

  • On July 13th, 2016, Anonymous said ...

    all legitimate employers in canada will hire and employ the very best of TFW around the world that the citizens can surely adopt their skills and talent especially in non-regulated jobs and particularly, in fast food and restaurant industries.

  • On March 9th, 2017, Anonymous said ...

    While relationship may not matter, it certainly goes to the legitimacy of the work relationship. And turn the question around, if a grandmother were to come take care of her grandchildren and the parents (her son or daughter) gave her lodging would we require her to obtain a work permit, certainly no. So why does the work relationship become one when one seeks to enter the care-giver program?

Leave a Reply

Go to Blog Home Page