West Coast Domestic Workers Association condemns new obstacle to permanent residency for caregivers

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      Advocates for caregivers have chosen Family Day to raise an alarm over a recent change to immigration regulations.

      Today at B.C. Federation of Labour headquarters, the executive director of the West Coast Domestic Workers compared the Trudeau government's cancellation of permanent residency to caregivers with anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration.

      This came after the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada website declared that caregivers for children and caregivers for those with high medical needs won't qualify for a permanent-resident card unless they complete 24 months of work by November 29, 2019.

      "This news creates a lot of uncertainty among caregivers and their families," Natalie Drolet said in a news release. "It's ironic that as we celebrate Family Day in B.C.—some of those who care for our young and elderly are fearful that their future in Canada and ability to reunite with their families may be in jeopardy." 

      She pointed out that some caregivers might be less willing to leave homes where they're being abused for fear of not meeting the 24-month requirement to become a permanent resident.

      In a speech in Toronto on December 3, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen said that his govenrment is "committed to supporting caregivers, as well as the parents and families with caregiving needs".

      "Under the old Live-in Caregiver Program, caregivers were offered a direct path to permanent residency and were required to live in their employer's home," Hussen noted at the time. "In response to concerns raised about potential abuse, this program was closed to new applicants in November 2014."

      Two new programs were introduced: the caring for children class and the caring for people with high medical needs class.

      "Both of these programs offer pathways to permanent residency for caregivers with fast processing times and without the requirement that caregivers live in the home of their employer," Hussen said.

      The language about "pathways" hasn't gone over well with Michelle Silongan, spokesperson for the Filipino Canadian Advocacy Network. 

      "We call on the Trudeau government to ensure permanent residency for all caregivers and migrant workers," she said today. "The 'pathway' is a remnant of the Harper administration. It placed a cap on the number of permanent residents from the caregiver program and it created hurdles that worked to dramatically decrease the number of caregivers able to obtain permanent residency."

      A rally is planned for careivers on February 24 outside Joyce-Collingwood Station.