Kristina Torres is a Toronto female of Filipino origin who hopes her 620,000-strong Filipino Canadian community won’t forget their roots when they cast their votes in the October federal election.
Ms Torres joins a chorus of past and present foreign caregivers, who are overwhelmingly Filipino, to warn the community about Ottawa’s waning caregivers program, which over the past 15 years has been the key immigration avenue to Canada for Filipinos.
Torres, 27 was let go by her employer in October and has since been struggling, “The government has promised to reduce the backlog, but the changes they made are making things worse. They made the promise to improve the program and must keep their word.”
Until November 2014, the old Live-in Caregivers Program allowed foreign caregivers to apply for permanent residency after two years of service. However, in December, the Conservative government replaced the old program by removing the live-in condition, capping the yearly number of applicants and raising applicants’ English and education requirements.
However, months into the new program, caregivers said the processing time required for their permanent residency has lengthened, and many are now having trouble getting a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This certificate justifies their attaining a job because of a labour shortage.
According to government statistics, the wait time for immigrant status for caregivers has increased from 26 months in February 2014 to 50 months today.
Meanwhile, 90 per cent of the LMIA applications under the new caregiver program are rejected, leaving the impression that Ottawa is slowly “killing” the decades-old program, which offers working Canadian families relief in caring for loved ones.