On December 16, 2017, the Toronto Star featured letters from four Caregivers across Canada who have been waiting years to reunite with their families.
Their letters show the real impact of long-term family separation due to delays in processing their permanent resident applications.
“I arrived in Canada in 2010 as a live-in caregiver. It’s been 68 months now since I submitted my permanent residence application in 2012. After so many years of waiting, I am very frustrated to hear the recent announcement about the immigration backlog that I may need to wait another year until I get my permanent residence status. I am so desperate to be with my family.” (Caregiver)
Caregivers and Advocates call on the Federal Government to:
- Process all pending Caregiver applications for permanent residence IMMEDIATELY;
- Prioritize PR applications that were submitted in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011;
- Address the underlying issues of forced family separation for people working in the Caregiver Program by granting Permanent Residence on arrival to caregivers and allowing them to bring their families with them when they come to Canada to work for Canadian families;
- Ensure that all migrant workers have access to settlement, health and social services.
While the government is addressing this issue and we have heard from some Caregivers that their applications have progressed, we also continue to hear from others whose papers are not moving. Caregiver applications from 2008 – 2014 have been particularly stagnant, and we want to give those groups priority.
There have been recent efforts by Minister Ahmed Hussen to reduce the processing times for permanent residence applications so families may reunify, but the government has failed to prioritize caregivers’ applications that have been pending for five years or longer.
Approximately 23,000 caregivers are currently waiting for their applications for permanent residence, for themselves and their families, to be approved (Toronto Star, December 2017). The government claimed they will clear 80% of the backlog in 2018. The limit for the number for caregivers to be accepted as permanent residents for 2017 under all the streams of the Caregiver Program: the previous Live-in Caregiver Program and the new High Medical Needs and Caring for Children for pathway is only 18,000 and 17,000 in 2018. The numbers don’t add up. We want to know from the Minister how exactly they plan to clear the volume of applications waiting to be processed given this limitation.
Since 2016, Minister John McCallum and more recently Minister Ahmed Hussen have issued promises to reduce the “backlog”. We are calling on the House of Commons to commit to processing pending applications as soon as possible, to allow families who have endured too many years of separation a chance to reunify and continue their journey to settle in Canada.
“I came here to provide a more secure future for my kids. I dream for a better life for them. It was hard to make the decision to leave them behind. I keep on asking myself if that was a good decision. My family is already facing the consequences…. I always feel the pain of being able to provide care for other children while I cannot take care of my own.” (Caregiver)