Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Shift in Canadian Immigration Policy and Unheeded Lessons of the Live-in Caregiver Program

This is an interesting and important analysis by researcher Salima Laliani of recent changes in Canadian immigration policy; it also coincides with the subject of a documentary project we are presently working on entitled: The end of immigration?

Marie & Malcolm

The Shift in Canadian Immigration Policy and Unheeded Lessons of the Live-in Caregiver Program
Ottawa, Canada
February 2009

Summary of the report:

This report elaborates the shift in immigration policy which began unfolding in Canada from the 2006 expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, culminating in June 2008, with the amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It shows how this shift has been modeled on some of the weakest elements of the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), the longest standing immigration program offering temporary migrant workers the possibility of permanent residency.

Presenting figures never calculated before on the LCP – estimated retention rates, or a measure of the success of the Program in retaining temporary migrant workers as permanent residents – the report demonstrates that only 50 per cent of migrant live-in caregivers entering Canada from 2003-2005 became permanent residents by 2007. Calculated yearly for the period, 2003- 2007, the estimated retention rate falls to 28 per cent by 2005.

It is thus argued that the shift from permanent residency to temporary migration as a basis for the immigration system will not lead to building citizenship and labour supply in Canada. It is further argued that this is due to the inordinate amount of power granted by government to employers in the migrant worker employer relationship.

Testimonies of temporary migrant caregivers documented from the 1990s are used to illustrate this power imbalance. Judging from the pro-employer reorientation of Canada’s immigration system, federal and provincial governments have not learned from testimonies presented by feminist advocates over the past 20 years.

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