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Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Under proposed legislation, Ontario stands to have the toughest law in Canada when it comes to nanny recruiters. Nanny recruiters face up to a year in jail and a fine of $50,000 if they are caught “directly or indirectly” charging foreign workers a fee to work in Canada. Up until now, it was the Wild West where agencies were charging whatever they wanted to innocent workers abroad searching for a better life opportunity. Hopefully, this will end the overseas practice of charging thousands of dollars to caregivers for jobs they never see. Actually, what is more common is when the nanny agency arranges a ghost employer just to get the caregiver into Canada and they are RUA (release upon arrival). In fact, the RUA term is so common that current workers in Canada often speak of it as a stepping stone to obtaining a work permit and then permanent residence. The difficulty arises when the RUA worker cannot obtain a new work permit within one year in order to fulfil the 24 month requirement to obtain immigrant status. This is more prevalent for male caregivers who are rarely hired to care for young children.

In addition, the new legislation will make it illegal for employers and recruiters to seize passports and work permits of the employees. While this is good news, it is unfortunate that the law has arrived so late after so many abuses by several agencies. This writer, in the last fifteen years, has first hand knowledge of recruiters who have loathed to such practices for years. As well, this writer was retained on several occasions to retrieve documents of innocent workers time and time again which often resulted in calls to the police and to the Philippine Consulate. It is disappointing to say that those agencies were reluctant to help and sometimes were not successful. The new legislation will finally have teeth which will make it officially illegal to take someone’s personal documents as hostage.

As well, the legislation is said to make it illegal for recruiters to pass along the fee via the employer. In other words, the caregiver will not pay any fee but she will have to work for free for three months for example.

While the above is finally good news, not everyone is happy. From media reports, several agencies in the city have stated that there will now be a shortage of caregivers for Canadian families. This is nonsense. There are an abundance of eligible workers in Canada and abroad who are eligible to enter Canada in the proper way without paying at times $10,000 to enter Canada for a fake employer. As well, hopefully workers abroad will now get the message that (a) they cannot be abused and (b) there are other ways to legally enter Canada. For example, several caregivers are recruited to work from abroad when they themselves have the skills to apply on their own merit. It is disappointing to see time and time again how qualified nurses apply as caregivers when they can simply qualify as immigrants and without the need of an employer. There is still hope however that the government will change its laws from a specific employer work permit program to a three year non-employer specific work permit program which will eliminate any fear of shortage of workers. Minister Kenney recently announced on CTV news that he is introducing new federal legislation to eradicate bogus immigration consultants as well an overhaul to the live in caregiver program.

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 phone 416 733 3193 or email