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By Atty. Henry Moyal


This is not an easy article to write – nor may it be an easy article to read. However, as a lawyer for over two decades it seems apparent in the last handful of years that live in caregivers to Canada who have dependants abroad have been suffering silently for years. Most, if not all, caregivers in Canada came to this country for a better future, for a better life for the children and for the golden ticket of becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

It is for that reason that many recruiters abroad charge (and many pay) exhorbitant amount of fees of approximately $4000 to find a Canadian employer and a chance to work in Canada. Once in Canada, caregivers need to work for 24 months within 4 years of arrival to Canada and then they are eligible for immigrant status. When they apply for immigrant status they are able to include their spouse and dependant children under 19 years of age.

That is the game. Those are the rules but at what price?

Current processing times to process an application have gone through the roof  –  47 months as per the government web site. Add the minimum two years of work and that is a total of least 6 – 8 years. Times can be even longer if there are any medical issues.

That is a minimum of 6 – 8 years of separation from family and children. That is a minimum of 6 – 8 years of not being with your spouse and a minimum of 6 – 8 years lost from seeing young children grow up.

The effects of this separation have likely not been officially documented but the psychological and long term effects of such separation cannot go unnoticed. It is simply not possible to dismiss the fact that many caregiver applicants in Canada are either divorcing at alarming rates and/or faced with the reality that their spouse’s abroad are in other relationships. While one cannot condone infidelity, one must consider that 6 -8 years of separation of spouses is an emotional prison for both husband and wife.

In one recent case, an applicant who worked in Hong Kong before coming to Canada has been separated from her family for over 10 years. Her immigrant application is still in process at a snails pace and she was just informed that her husband is living with another woman. They have one young child together. Both husband and child are included on the applicant’s application for permanent residence. What is she do?

She can divorce the husband but doing so will no doubt anger the husband who will in turn refuse to sign the consent form (IMM5604) to have the child immigrate alone. Embassies abroad will never waive this requirement due to the protection of children and the Hague Convention.

If she does not divorce the husband, her husband will be an immigrant and in many cases will turn around and sponsor his mistress. The husband is part and parcel of the main application and therefore is not caught by Regulation R130(3) which states that a spouse who was sponsored as a spouse cannot sponsor another spouse for 5 years.

So in this predicament an applicant must decide between bringing their children with an unfaithful spouse or not to bring the children.

It is unlikely that Canada Immigration has not picked up on the above problems especially due to the increasing amount of processing delays. To date, nothing has been done to alleviate the pain and no regulation has been passed in favour of caregiver applicants. The status quo is clearly destroying families.

Given the above, the following two proposals will be presented to Canada Immigration and the Federal Minister by this author:

1. Once a live in caregiver has been approved in principle – allow spouse’s abroad to obtain work permits to come to Canada and children study permits. In this way, families can be reunited at the earliest possible time avoiding unnecessary problems. The duration of the work/study permit would mirror caregiver’s open work permit.

2. Amend IRPR 130(3) and impose a 5 year ban on sponsoring a spouse to spouse’s who become permanent residents by way of being a dependant of the main applicant in the live in caregiver category.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario.The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document.Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email or call 416 733 3193