Jan 9, 2018 – Canada’s federal government is to make some families hiring caregivers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program exempt from paying the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment processing fee.
Recently published regulations mean families who earn a total of less than $150,000 per year will no longer need to pay the annual fee.
The move comes following cases of families not being able to afford to hire a foreign caregiver because of the fee, on top of the other expenses associated with the program.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals made abolishing the fee a key campaign promise during the 2015 federal election. Although the fee has not been fully removed, the exemption is designed to help those with lower incomes.
The fee has also been removed for those looking to hire a caregiver for someone with a physical or mental illness. Employment and Social Development Canada, which operates the TFWP, says the families using the program for this purpose often lose one earner entirely to caring for the person in need. Being able to hire a caregiver often means they can return to work.
Canada Targets Live-In Caregiver Program Application Backlog (Audio)
The Scenarios Applicable for the Live-in Caregiver Program
The Procedure for Selecting Live-in Caregivers
Permanent Residence Applications from Live-in Caregivers – Making a Final Decision
Processing Applicants for the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
The government says more than 3,350 applicants will benefit from the income threshold change, and more than 800 who use the program to hire caregivers for people with mental or physical disabilities.
The $1,000 fee was introduced by the previous Conservative government back in 2014, designed to tackle abuse of the TFWP. But the blanket application of the fee immediately drew criticism.
On the decision not to totally abolish the fee for those hiring caregivers, the regulatory statement said: “Families that do not require care for persons who are incapable of caring for themselves due to a physical or mental condition or are earning $150,000 or more and seeking caregivers to provide childcare should be in a position to pay the $1,000 LMIA processing fee to hire caregivers to provide care in their home without creating undue financial hardship.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s immigration department has committed to processing the majority of existing permanent resident applications from the defunct Live-In Caregiver Program by the end of 2018.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has made three key commitments aimed at eliminating a backlog allowed to grow by the previous Conservative government.
Those commitments are:
- Process 80 per cent of permanent residence applications on the system as of October 1, 2017 by the end of 2018.
- 12-month processing time for 80 per cent of new and complete permanent residence applications received on or after October 1, 2017
- Admit high numbers of candidates here under the Live-In Caregiver Program as permanent residents until all cases are processed.
The backlog, which peaked in May 2014, is controversial because it effectively keeps caregivers who are in Canada away from their families until their permanent residence applications have been processed.
Processing Targets: Caregivers
By October 1, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had reduced the backlog by 63 per cent. With 5,000 more cases than expected to be processed this year, the IRCC says 20,000 caregivers will be welcomed as permanent residents in 2017, a figure at the high end of the government target.
The move to target the backlog under the program comes following a recommendation from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The fact that families are being kept apart by the backlog make it an emotive issue.
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