On December 3rd, 2017, the Canadian government officially put an end to the live-in caregiver program, an immigration stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, allowing for Canadians to recruit foreign nationals to provide caregiving to seniors, people with disabilities, or children, with the opportunity to apply for permanent residence after two years.
The program has a history of obstacles: In order to apply for the program, families had to pay a $1000 Labor Market Impact Assessment fee, which largely discouraged low-income families, the primary targets of this program, from applying. Moreover, the applicants’ status in Canada solely depended on their employer, which often led to terrible work conditions, subpar pay, and unpaid overtime work. Thus, the Canadian government clearly saw the need for improving the program.
This program was closed to new applicants in 2014, leaving thousands of caregivers that were part of the temporary portion of the LCP, but had not applied for permanent residence yet; this led to up to 6,000 permanent residence applications between 2014 and 2017, causing a roadblock to completely eliminating the program. The government finally chose to eliminate the program at the beginning of December, as it reached the end of processing of the pending applications, and is rethinking the formula for the program entirely, based on the 2017 budget.
Other paths are still open to families wishing to hire caregivers, but the live-in requirement has been lifted, while the government strongly stresses the possibility of hiring a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. In terms of other caregivers, the Canadian government opened two streams in 2014, in an attempt to temporarily replace the live-in caregiver program: the Caring for Children Program, and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program. Thus, although the live-in caregiver stream has currently been halted, families are still able to reunite families through other paths, awaiting the reimagined live-in caregiver program.