Foreign caregivers face lengthy wait for permanent status

July 22, 2015 News
Jesapher Diaz Dumanjug is waiting to be reunited with her son and daughter.

Jesapher Diaz Dumanjug is waiting to be reunited with her son and daughter.

It’s taking twice as long for foreign caregivers to get permanent resident status in Canada as it did a year ago despite Ottawa’s promise to expedite the process.

According to an immigration department internal memo titled “advice to minister,” the processing time for caregivers’ permanent residency reached a record 50 months in January, up from 26 months a year ago. That’s on top of having to work two years alone in Canada — separated from family — in order to meet the residency requirement.

Immigration officials are still wrestling with a huge backlog. As of February, more than 17,600 caregivers who had met the work requirement — down from a peak of 24,600 last year — were still waiting in the queue to be reunited with their spouses and children living abroad.

Delays in granting permanent status and reuniting families often lead to family breakups and cause other adjustment problems for caregivers’ children, including high school dropout rates, said immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the government memo.

“Caregivers waiting for PR (permanent residency) are unfortunately subject to longer processing,” said Kurland. “In the long term, it’s going to have expensive consequences.”
Ottawa introduced two new caregivers programs in November to replace the decades-old live-in caregivers program. The two programs — designed to bring in caregivers for children and people with high medical needs — remove the live-in conditions but are limited to a combined 5,500 applications a year.

“We have improved the program to make it faster, safer and provide better career opportunities for caregivers across Canada,” Kevin Menard, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, told Torstar News Service.

“We have taken aggressive action to reduce backlogs by planning 30,000 caregiver admissions this year alone, an all-time record, and we will completely eliminate it by the end of 2016.”

With the two new pathways introduced in November, Menard said permanent resident applications for caregivers will be processed within six months. He blamed the current delays on the overwhelming backlog and incomplete applications where information is missing or clarification is needed.

The processing time for permanent residencies for caregivers has since crept down to 45 months, but the lengthy wait is a big source of frustration for applicants putting up with prolonged family separations.

Jesapher Diaz Dumanjug, 36, left behind her two children in the Philippines to work in Hong Kong in 2006 and came to Toronto three years later under the old live-in caregiver program.

She applied for permanent residency in April 2012 after meeting her work hours requirement.

Her application has been delayed after immigration officials claimed she failed to respond to two emails sent to her for further documentation that she says she never received.

“I left my children when they were little. I’ve already missed many years with them. I’ve already waited for my permanent residency for 39 months,” said the single mother, who now works in the deli of a grocery store in Oakville.

“My daughter Shinehah is already 16 and my son David Shaun is 14. They are already teenagers. How much longer do I need to wait?”


James campbell
July 22, 2015

The government did speedy up the process but for the people who just submitted. I know and others know people who submitted in the past 2 years already have their PR. The government is doing things backwards. The workers waiting for more the 5 years are still waiting, these are the people should be helping not the people who just got their open permit. But thats what it seems that there processing both . But they should be focusing on the people who in the backlog. Its not fair to the worker and their families.

July 24, 2015

My PR CARD is taking long time to arrive, my excitement was way over now. I have my worries as days pass by for my dependants who had their visa already yet my card wasn’t here yet. So much to sacrifice, endure the pain and anxiety that most of us go through. I hope that everybody receives their much awaited papers/documents on time just like what we in return gave service to our respected work 100% of us always.

July 30, 2015

Very upsetting and sad!!!!I submitted my pr application 2010 suprisingly I checked online and appeared that they just started processing my application November of 2014 what happen for 4 years????Frustrated when you hear some applicants just submitted thier application 2 or 3 years ago but they are already happilly reunited with their own family….