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Today, The Toronto Star reported on a work permit scam that is apparently on the rise in Canada – Live in Caregiver Recruitment pursuant to the Canadian Live in Caregiver work permit category. It sounds legitimate enough, but there are numerous legal issues involved.
The Live in Caregiver program allows foreign workers to come to Canada on work permits to work as caregivers for children or for the elderly for a two year period, after which they may be eligible to make an application for Canadian Permanent Residence. Live in Caregivers are required to “live in” the residences of their Canadian employer, full time during the two year period.
The live in caregiver recruitment scam goes like this: a “so-called” recruiter or agent travels overseas to impoverished areas and promises potential live in caregiver applicants the opportunity to work in Canada as caregivers. These unsuspecting workers pay a substantial fee of anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for services offered by these recruiters. Once the foreign workers come to Canada, their passports are held by these recruiters until the foreign live in caregivers pay off their “dept” to their agents.
The major issue here is that in most cases, these nanny jobs are not real. As as result, the foreign workers are forced to find illegal employment in Canada in desperation to pay back their loans to unscrupulous agents in order for their documents to be returned.
These workers while in Canada, are also running the risk of being apprehended and deported by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for working without authorization in Canada.
NDP representative Olivia Chow is pressuring the Conservative government to redirect resources from removal and enforcement of illegal foreign workers in Canada towards these agencies and agents that bring live in caregiver applicants to Canada under false pretenses. Chow claims the current legislation in this regard is far too lenient.
The lesson from all of this is that prospective applicants under the live in caregiver program must be wary of false promises of Canadian employment by these agents. Under current legislation, anyone assisting with Canadian immigration or visa applications must be either a licensed Canadian lawyer or immigration consultant who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The problem is that such applicants usually do not have the means or sophistication to verify whether their prospective Canadian employers do in fact exist or whether their agents are licensed.
Tougher penalties for these agents posing as legitimate recruiters are certainly in order. However, the CBSA and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) should take into account all the circumstances surrounding these unsuspecting live in caregivers who, in good faith, came to Canada as nannys before initiating removal proceedings. For more information on Canadian live in caregivers, contact Niren and Associates.