Minister Ahmed Hussen announcing the new caregiver immigration pilots. (Image: Twitter)

Caregivers, or people who look after children, the sick, differently abled, or elderly, now have new ways to work towards immigrating to Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced on February 23, that two new 5-year caregiver immigration pilots are underway. With these, not just caregivers, but their families as well could come to Canada. These programs will also provide a means of working towards permanent residency (PR).

Replacing the existing ‘Caring for Children’ and ‘Caring for People with High Medical Needs’ pilots, the new pilots include:

  1. Occupation-specific work permits for caregivers
  2. Hence, the ability to change jobs quickly when necessary
  3. Open work permits for caregivers’ spouses or common-law partners
  4. Study permits for dependent children

As per the new pilots, assessment for PR will be done before applicants begin working in Canada. On receipt of a work permit and two years of work experience, caregivers will have access to PR.

An interim program for caregivers already in Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen has also launched an interim Pathway for Caregivers program, targeted at caregivers who arrived in Canada after changes made in 2014 to the caregiver program weren’t clear. The new program is set to be open from March 4 – June 4, 2019.

The move comes after realizing that there’s a fair number of caregivers who worked for Canadian families, only to later learn that they would not qualify for PR under any existing programs. The interim program is a way to give back to such individuals who provide care to Canadians, by allowing them a chance to stay in Canada permanently.

Additional developments

Two pilots, the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot, will launch later in 2019. They will have a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants each, for a total of 5,500 principal applicants, per year. Additionally, spouses or common-law partners and dependent children will not count against this limit.