Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has unveiled a plan to hasten the grant of permanent residency to foreign caregivers and their families.
On April 15, IRCC announced the following:
-finalize by December 31, 2021 the permanent residence applications for up to 6,000 caregivers, who have completed their in-Canada work experience, and their immediate family members,
-make at least 1,500 first-stage decisions on applications for the Home Child Care Provider, and Home Support Worker pilots by June 30, 2021,
In a media release, IRCC said that the “prioritization of these decisions will allow more caregiver work permits to be issued for those who have valid job offers to work for families in Canada”.
When sought for comment, retired immigration consultant Emer Robles told Canadian Filipino Net that the announcement is a “step in the right direction and addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“However, many more will still be left behind,” the Metro Vancouver-based Robles said.
Robles pointed out that the move will give a “temporary pathway to permanent residency and expeditious processing to a limited number of eligible applicants”.
"The minister uses his power under section 25.2 of the IRPA, on a consideration of public policy in making such a temporary measure, by way of ministerial instructions which is very limited and short term in nature as you can see in the announcement,” Robles said, referring to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
“These measures are reactionationary to the given situation,” he said in connection with the pandemic.
"What we are hoping for is for the Minister to introduce such measures as a new pathway to permanent residency status for caregivers and foreign workers by way of a statutory and regulatory enactment, which would allow a long term, stable and consistent application and captures all eligible applicants," Robles added.
In addition, the federal agency announced on April 15:
-an increase in the digitization of caregiver applications, and
-ensure applicants receive acknowledgement of receipt letters related to their applications by May 31, 2021.
The Philippines is a top source country of caregivers who come to Canada with temporary working permits.
In the media release, Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said that the April 15, 2021 announcement will “help reunite front-line heroes with their loved ones".
Mendicino said that the federal government is “getting caregiver immigration back on track”.
“The pandemic disrupted people's lives in Canada and around the world, and Canada's immigration processes were no exception,” the Liberal minister said.
“Immigrant caregivers, who take care of our families and elders, are often separated from their own families, and the pandemic has significantly slowed down permanent residence application processing, keeping them apart from their families longer than we would have hoped,” Mendicino added.
The IRCC said in the media release that the agency had reduced capacity and office closures resulting in more employees working remotely in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the agency only entered as many mailed-in applications as was possible into its case management system.
In the April 15, 2021 announcement, IRCC indicated that will now process in 2021 applications that were received in 2020.
The policy to speed up the processing of applications takes effect on May 3, 2021.
As of March 3, 2021, there were applications for about 12,000 caregivers and their accompanying family members in the processing inventory.
These include applications to both the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilot programs as well cases from previous caregiver programs in the past.
The Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots were launched in 2019.
“They feature a clear transition for caregivers from temporary to permanent status, as well as occupation-specific, rather than employer-specific, work permits. They also provide the opportunity for caregivers and their families to move to Canada as they gain work experience. The response to these pilots suggests these features are attractive to caregivers and the Canadian families who need in-home care for a family member,” IRCC explained.
As of April 8, 2021, an estimated 2,367 applications have been received for the Home Child Care Provider pilot, representing about 86 percent of the number of applications that can be accepted for 2021.
For the Home Support Worker pilot, an estimated 516 applications have been received, representing about 19 percent of the number of applications that can be accepted in 2021.
The IRCC stated in the news release that nearly 2,900 caregivers and their family members became permanent residents in 2020.