There’s an ongoing shortage of live-in caregivers in Canada and it is creating concern among employers who have hired their nannies from overseas. According to a recent report from the Toronto Star, because of the prevailing shortage in the availability of caregivers, the situation not only resulted in “poaching” of already employed nannies but it also is causing the driving-up in wages of available nannies who are employable locally.
Certain factors which can be attributed to this latest scenario are the new rules that the Federal Government of Canada have set before a prospective Canadian employer can hire a caregiver from abroad, the slow processing of documents of the eligible worker from their country of residence and on the more local situation, the mass issuance of open work permits for live-in caregivers who have completed the required employment hours.
The latest legislation of Canada’s Federal Government is for employers to shoulder all the expenses to be incurred in hiring the foreign caregiver from abroad. This include the airfare, medical insurance and any expenses that may come up if hiring a third party middleperson such as employment agencies. Many employers are finding it difficult to justify shouldering all this cost because once a nanny arrive in Canada, the worker is not obligated to stay in their sponsors employ for the duration of the 2 year requirement.
This circumstance is what’s discouraging many qualified employers to sponsor live-in caregiver workers from overseas. Uncertainty in recovering incurred expenses associated with long wait times – many sponsors are losing interest in hiring overseas.
Another consequence of this seeming crisis concerns wages of locally available nannies. Many families prefer to have live in caregivers because they cannot afford those live-outs who can be asking for sometimes up to $18 per hour – and their hours are not flexible. Live-in caregivers, on the other hand, can be asked to work nights if night care is needed.
But with todays shortage, even those who are supposed to be in a live-in condition are being “poached” by being offered with higher wages – which worries many employers who did all the work in hiring their nannies abroad. The way to remedy this as suggested in the article, is for the Federal Government to add-in a condition on overseas hiring allowing the original sponsor to keep the worker in their homes for the duration of the contract.
According to statistics and reports, the latest arrival of live-in caregivers from abroad have dropped significantly since the time it peaked in 2007. One cause that may have attributed to this drop was the slow processing of documents in some source countries. Among the known caregiver source countries where the processing of papers are backlogged were India and the Philippines. Filipino live in caregivers fill the mostly women arrivals of nannies in Canada and reports from Philippine applicants tell stories of extreme delay in the processing of their documents to and from Philippine Consulates in Canada and the Labor Department in Manila.
Manila has a different set of rules for caregivers coming from the Philippines.
With all of this, it seems that this unusual shortfall in caregiver help offer no solution in the months ahead. Without the right approach to solve the needs of both the worker and the employer, problems regarding the live-in caregiver program will keep popping. Canada have no child care program, so working parents who do not want to leave their children in daycare obviously need a live-in caregiver help. And third world nanny applicants need to leave their countrys’ for better pay and better living conditions.
It could have been a win-win situation for both groups of people if only governments can find the right solution. For now, for those looking for a live-in caregiver help, the only option is to look locally – in Canada, and someone on a visitors visa with valid documents can be hired legally if done the right way.