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The Toronto Star published an article this week about several couples in Canada who have found a way to circumvent all of the red tape involved with the live-in caregiver program.
The live-in caregiver program offers nannies who come to Canada the chance to apply for permanent residence after being a caregiver for two years. However, many new changes to the program are considered “red tape” and are making it more difficult on both the caregivers and the families that want to hire them. Essentially, the government of Canada has made it much more difficult to hire a live-in caregiver and the process has only become more expensive and frustrating.
Caregivers have many restrictions, and they have to obtain a Labour Market Opinion and wait for their visa to be processed.
What several couples mentioned in the article have done is simply hired foreign vacationers who are already in Canada on a working holiday visa. A working holiday visa is available to citizens of 29 different countries, and allows them to take a vacation in Canada as well as work while they are here to fund their stay.
Hiring au pairs who are on working holiday visas also seems like a much cheaper option for the parents, who do not have to pay for the airfare, health insurance and application fees like they for for live-in caregivers.
According to the most recent information from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, only 5,603 applications were received last year down from 11,846 in 2007 – a 52 per cent drop. The total time it takes a live-in caregiver applicant to arrive in Canada is about 16 months.
Manuela Gruber Hersch, speaking on behalf of the Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies in Canada, told the Toronto Star that, “Looking at the declining stats, the future of the live-in caregiver program is questionable, and one does wonder how much longer it will exist. Au pairs will be the next new wave, since the government has intentionally made hiring a live-in caregiver too costly, complex and frustrating of Canadian employers.”
Many of those who want a caregiver also find they are able to hire someone part-time if necessary, such as one parent mentioned in the article who needed someone to drop her child off at school pick her up from school and spend time with her in the afternoon.
The au pairs are also able to hop from family-to-family and earn money taking care of children for several different families at a time.
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