Popularity, fraud on rise in nanny scene
Canadian mission in Chandigarh, India, sees 200 applicants a month, most rejected
The popularity of Canada's live-in caregiver program has exploded, and with it has come a significant level of fraud, including a surge of applications from prospective male nannies from the Punjab seeking to work for their relatives in Canada.
Applications to come to Canada under the program have ballooned at the Canadian mission in Chandigarh, India, which receives 200 applications a month, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada documents. There is a 79-per-cent refusal rate.
“The office has identified 69 'nanny schools,' ” in the Punjabi city of Jalandhar, according to a memo obtained under the Access to Information Act by Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland, an immigration policy expert.
“While some of these are bona fide schools, there are a considerable number lacking facilities, equipment and students, but having large graduating classes. Most applicants are destined to work for relatives in Canada,” the memo said. “Many of the applicants are male — in a society where child care is seen as the sphere of women.”
Filipinas have long dominated the nanny scene in Canada; they often use the program as a ticket to citizenship. From 2000-2004, 7,743 nannies came to Canada from the Philippines.
Under the program, applicants may seek to become permanent residents after they work as live-in caregivers for 24 months in a 36-month period. Many then sponsor family members, including husbands and children. The documents show that foreigners are using the program as a quick route into Canada, as it can take longer to apply to enter as a skilled worker.
This is the first time a surge of male applicants has applied to come to be nannies for their relatives. In many cases, the relatives lack the income to pay a nanny salary of approximately $1,000-$1,200 a month (plus room and board), and the applications are rejected.
Mr. Kurland said there is a growing demand for live-in caregivers, and a corresponding increase in applications, including from the Philippines, where it now takes as long as 30 months to process a caregiver's visa. It can take as long as 17 months to process visas for their dependents. These applications have increased by 138 per cent since 2000.
“If Ottawa wants to keep urban Canada happy, CIC needs to make quick decisions: increase the supply of visas to Manila, the traditional reliable source for caregivers and nannies, or take a chance with the newer riskier source areas, and spend more on verification and enforcement,” he said.
The CIC documents show that “fraud is omnipresent in Chandigarh” and found in every sort of document, Indian and Canadian. Officials have found entire “kits” of forged documents, including bank documents, Canadian passports, letters from Canadian funeral homes and educational institutions. Such kits have been used to support requests for parents to visit their children or attend funerals of close relatives in Canada.