According to applicants, changes to a federal program to help Canadians hire foreign workers as nannies means families are now dealing with unexplained delays and confusion.
Last year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented changes designed to encourage more Canadian applicants for the job, while onetime Immigration Minister Jason Kenney argued the old program had “mutated” into a family-reunification scheme.
To hire a worker under the program, a family must first show there is a need to hire a foreign worker to fill the job, and that no Canadian applicants were available, by applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If the family receives a positive LMIA, it can start applying for a work permit and eventually hire a foreign national for the job.
One family currently pursuing a hiring under the program said before the family applied for a LMIA, it spent four weeks searching for a Canadian nanny. After receiving zero response to their ads the couple then applied for the LMIA. That’s where the process stalled.
Family members didn’t hear back for weeks and phone calls didn’t yield any information. In February, they discovered their application, and those of 23 other families, were missing. The couple had to go through the process again and resubmit the application.
Aside from delays, the changes have brought other frustrations. When asked about the delays, Employment and Social Development Canada responded in an email that in February, 80 per cent of the LMIA applications for foreign workers were processed within 30 days. However, the agency does not separately track LMIA processing times specifically for the caregiver program.
It appears the caregiver program was a victim of politics and the changes were made as part of a “knee-jerk reaction” to wider problems with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. There are unconfirmed reports that the government through its inside Canada offices is delaying the processing of care-giver applications.