Quebec live-in care workers face delays, uncertainty on road to permanent residency

More than 80 workers, mainly women from the Philippines, who came to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program say the Quebec government's immigration reform bill is affecting their ability to get permanent residency.

Under the LCP, workers can apply for permanent residency after working for two years. Since they live in Quebec, these domestic workers also need to apply for their Quebec Selection Certificate.

Jennifer Rentiquiano came to Canada through the LCP four years ago and planned to bring her children and husband to Montreal once she gained status here.

"I was full of aspirations and dreams that someday I would be ... reunited with my family here," she said in a news conference on Sunday.

Rentiquiano applied for her Quebec Selection Certificate last year, but in February, she received an email saying her request was suspended.

"I got so frustrated, I was stressed, so stressed to the point that I can't function," she recalled.

Rentiquiano's application was temporarily suspended as part of the Coalition Avenir Québec government's proposed Bill 9, which would see 18,000 skilled worker applications thrown out.

Currently, a court injunction is forcing the the government to continue processing applications until the new law takes effect.

A spokesperson for the provincial Immigration Ministry told CBC on Sunday that the bill is moving through the National Assembly and being studied in detail.

Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC

Joey Calugay, an advocate with the Quebec Immigrant Workers' Centre (known by its French acronym CTI), said the province's immigration ministry doesn't have a separate avenue to process permanent residency requests made by people coming through the LCP.

Instead they're processed as part of the regular skilled workers program.

Calugay says once Bill 9 is passed, it's not clear what will happen to applications from live-in care workers, or whether they will have to start all over again.

He said making these women re-apply would be "totally unfair because they've met all the obligations."

Luckily for Rentiquiano, she was able to secure her Quebec Selection Certificate last month after putting pressure on the government.

But she's fighting for others who are still waiting. For now, the government is continuing to process those 18,000 files until it passes Bill 9.