Parliament members Salma Zahid and Rechie Valdez have announced a reduction in the Canadian work experience required for a caregiver to obtain permanent residency. The new requirement is 12 months, down from 24 months.
This change will take place on April 30, 2023, and will be applied retroactively to caregivers who have already submitted their applications. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will verify that applicants meet the work experience requirement.
Furthermore, a portion of the current caregiver pathways has been set aside specifically for caregivers who have previously held work permits and gained work experience in Canada. This will allow them to apply for permanent residency.
The IRCC anticipates that the reduction of work experience for caregivers will have a significant impact on about 90% of individuals currently in the process of applying for caregiver programs.
These pilot programs were initiated in 2019 and are scheduled to conclude in June 2024. The programs have resulted in nearly 1,600 caregivers and their family members becoming permanent residents in Canada. In 2022, approximately 1,100 caregivers and their families became permanent residents through the two pilot programs.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated, “Caregivers play a vital role in the lives of families in Canada, providing care for growing children, aging parents, and those in need of specialized assistance.
Reducing the required work experience in Canada to just one year will make it possible for more caregivers and their families to become eligible for permanent residency sooner, allowing them to settle and start a new chapter in Canada.”
The other eligibility criteria for the caregiver programs remain unchanged. Applicants must still be able to meet the following requirements:
- A language test result that demonstrates a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5;
- Completion of one year of post-secondary education in Canada or its foreign equivalent; and
- A successful admissibility check for health, criminal history, and security.
Regarding work experience, candidates must now provide evidence of the following:
- Work experience that falls under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 4411 or 4412;
- Experience must be in one of these two specific job categories and cannot be a combination of both;
- The job must match the description under the NOC, and the candidate must have performed the majority of the main duties;
- Full-time work is considered to be at least 30 hours of paid work per week.
Canada’s aging population
According to the 2021 census, 861,395 individuals in Canada are over the age of 85, and an additional 2.1 million are between the ages of 75 and 85, many of whom reside in senior living facilities and care homes.
In 2016, data showed that there were 500,000 residents in long-term care. As the number of seniors in Canada is expected to increase, with nearly nine million Canadians projected to reach 65 by 2030, there is a growing demand for caregivers to meet the aging population’s needs.
There is also a significant need for childcare services as most Canadian families are single-parent or dual-income, with both parents working outside the home.
Many families do not have close relatives to assist with childcare, so they depend on daycare or in-home care providers.
To address these demands, Canada is continuing to recruit healthcare and social assistance, professionals. The most recent labor force survey indicates that over 7,000 immigrants were hired in January 2023, but there were still 131,800 job vacancies as of November 2022.