Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Working As A Nanny Shouldn't Be An Avenue To Citizenship (the exploitation works both ways).

There has been much in the news of late about the exploitation of foreign workers employed as caregivers. You can read about it here and here.

Typically the caregivers are Filipino females "lured" to Canada with bogus jobs by an agency that saddles them with brokerage fees and sometimes forces them to work illegally while dispossessing them of their passports. From the first link we read:

Documents obtained by the Star show Canada Border Services Agency officials believe there is "ongoing fraud and misrepresentation" within the program, but the immigration and human resources departments are not taking action.

The Star presented its investigative findings to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who said his department is aware there is abuse in the program.

"We have this whole industry, most of which is unlicensed and unregulated, and large numbers of unscrupulous operations in Canada and throughout the world who exploit people's dreams and hopes to come to Canada," he said.

I can understand these caregivers crying foul but the exploitation of the system works both ways.

The promised payoff for the nannies is a chance at landed immigrant status after two years of work. The number of foreign nannies given permits to work in Canada has tripled in the last five years (from 3,458 in 2002 to 11,878 in 2007, the most recent information available). Most are from the Philippines.

Granting landed immigrant status after two years of work is the carrot luring these caregivers to Canada and it is what make the system so easily exploitable by employment agencies. But it is also nannies who wish to exploit the system as well. How many of these foreign trained caregivers will still be working as nannies once they get landed immigrant status and eventual citizenship?

Work as a nanny is by its nature a temporary job. So is seasonal farm work. Both are characterized by a labour force made up of mostly foreign workers yet one group of workers can obtain citizenship yet the other cannot. If temporary migrant workers are not allowed to obtain citizenship then why should nannies?

Nanny work is being used to queue jump into Canada. This is why they are so easily exploitable. This becomes a problem when they start leaving their occupations as nannies to compete with other Canadians for jobs that they were not brought into Canada to fill. This leaves a perpetual shortfall of caregivers in the labour market creating an open hole in the immigration system. What makes the hole even bigger is when these nannies start to import family into Canada via the family reunification stream and I should add that one doesn't need any pertinent job or language skills to enter Canada in this category. So, in essence nannies are just a means to flood the Canadian labour market with largely unskilled superfluous labour.

The solution to the problem is for Canadians to take care of their own children but who am I kidding? A more feasible solution is to classify foreign trained caregivers for what they really are: foreign trained temp workers. This way they cannot use nanny work as a pathway to citizenship therefore removing the mechanism that allows employment agencies to exploit foreign trained caregivers and for individuals to queue jump the immigration system into Canada.

Here is a related story highlighting how nanny work is being used to exploit the immigration system.

Also in a related story I bring this to your attention. It's about Canadian born self-appointed Punjabi ambassador to Canada (who moonlights as a Liberal MP for Brampton-Springdale and as a wannabe Bollywood queen I am told) Dr. Ruby Dhalla and her and her family's alleged mistreatment of their imported Filipino caregivers (hey, everyone has a Filipino caregiver so I guess she had to have one too).

The allegations are familiar to those claiming exploitation. They allege the job she offered them was bogus. Initially employed to care for her frail mother they found themselves mostly employed cleaning the family house in Mississauga and family owned chiropractic offices for long hours. They also allege the Dhalla family imported them without federal approval. Also, they allege they were withheld pay for some time and their passports were taken away. In other words the usual exploitation story.


Anonymous said...

"How many of these foreign trained caregivers will still be working as nannies once they get landed immigrant status and eventual citizenship?"

To answer that question, we need not look any further than the notorious Jane & Finch Area of Toronto.

The 1970s and 80s brought us uneducated Caribbean caregivers, nannies and babysitters. Back home were children and other family members anxiously waiting to be sponsored until the primary worker had completed her required time in Canada to gain a legal foothold on Canadian soil. Thus began the chain migration that carries forth to this day.

Of course, it didn't take long before many of these mostly single mothers to discover our free welfare benefits once they gained PR status. As an added bonus, more babies meant more money.

Why continue to look after other people's children when you could have your own babies, and be financially rewarded at the same time??

Now a generation later, crime stories in Toronto newspapers remind us every day in how that foolish program worked out.

PaxCanadiana said...

You touch on what I was getting at.

Nanny is work, more or less, glorified baby sitting. I am sure there is some training and accreditation involved but the work is at most a semi-skilled position with few transferable skills. Couple this with the fact that nanny work is temporary. This shouldn't be an avenue to citizenship because in the end we are just importing unskilled labour who then import more unskilled labour.

Anonymous said...

Primarily based on her ethnic "qualifications", Member of Parliament Ruby Dhalla was parachuted into her heavily-populated Indian riding by the patronizing liberal Paul Martin.

Now with the "nanny-gate" affair well underway, the liberals should be partially blaming Martin for his poor choice of candidates, but that won't happen to this so-called senior "statesman".

Instead, on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, they have this 2nd rate Bollywood actor fighting for her political career and giving a poor performance in the process, by trying to convince the Canadian public of her own veracity.

Just one complaint arising from a disgruntled indentured servant may be questionable, but when Dhalla has three foreign nannies who come forth spewing out similar stories of indentured servitude, I'm inclined to believe their versions of this believable tale and then cast my gimlet eye towards Dhalla's direction and think of what self-serving politicians do best.....lie, lie, and lie.

Hopefully, this "queen of mean" is seeing her last days in Canada's parliament.

PaxCanadiana said...

Hopefully, this "queen of mean" is seeing her last days in Canada's parliament.I hope so too. I find the woman vacuous and very narcissistic and her alleged treatment of the nannies only fits my impression of her. When I read it in the paper I wasn't surprised at all.

I suspect she has aspirations to be Queen of Canada not because she has a vision for the nation but purely for the narcissistic supply that it will give her. I think it will be terrible for Canada if she ever became PM and if these nannies take her down then I will have no problem giving them citizenship.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any evidence of a bunch of young Filipino kids wreaking havoc on Toronto despite our large Filipino population. Even American immigration critic Steve Sailer describes Filipinos as 'law-abiding.'ec

PaxCanadiana said...

I don't see any evidence of a bunch of young Filipino kids wreaking havoc on Toronto despite our large Filipino population. Even American immigration critic Steve Sailer describes Filipinos as 'law-abiding.'

Being law abiding has nothing to do with it. If immigration is supposed to fill a skilled labour short fall then why are we giving glorified baby sitters permanent residency? If temporary seasonal workers are not allowed to apply for permanent residency then why should live in care givers be allowed that privilege when they are essentially the same thing?

The problem with temp. seasonal workers and nannies is that they are unskilled or at best semi-skilled labourers. They bring nothing of real value to Canada or Canadians. To work in Canada and send remittance money home is one thing. But to work in Canada and then stay in Canada and then import the rest of the family is another. It then becomes an endless chain of importing unskilled labour into Canada that ends up flooding the job market.

How many of these nannies intend to continue to work as nannies once their permanent residency card arrives in the mail? How many leave this line of work to compete with Canadians for much sought after jobs? How does this benefit Canadian society? How does this benefit Canadians? Once again this is a situation where the system benefits the immigrant more so than Canadians.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't have any opinion on whether nannies should be permanent or temporary workers; I was responding to the first poster who seemed to imply that the children of Filipino nannies were going to wreak havoc on Toronto. Again, we don't know, but it sounds like the great heterosexual AIDS scare of the '80s...