Foreign sponsorship: an option to consider

By Vanessa Balintec

My grandma was the first person within my family to make it to Canada. After being a Catholic elementary school teacher in the Philippines during her young adult life she got sponsored by a family in Hong Kong in 1987 and worked as a nanny and teacher for their children for four years.

Four years filled with learning Cantonese and gaining enough caregiver experience to one day qualify for sponsorship in Canada my grandma’s experience in a foreign country was a stepping stone in realizing her dream to raise her family in North America.

By 1991 she was accepted for a Canadian visa sponsored by a couple who employed her as a nanny. After being employed for at least two years and jumping through hoops of qualifications and regulations my grandma successfully received her permanent residency.

By the age of 40 she finally brought over her husband and four teenage children to the new place they’d begin to call home.

Without my grandma being sponsored there’s no guarantee my family and I would have ever had the chance to live in Canada. And the help my grandma provided to families both in Hong Kong and Canada is something invaluable that can’t be easily measured and explained.

Getting into Canada is a long and hard process that not many people have the privilege of experiencing. The rules and regulations change with each year and there are no shortcuts when it comes to bureaucracy and qualifications. Sponsoring someone abroad to work as a caregiver is no exception and an option that many people are unaware of.

It may not be easy to sponsor someone from abroad. There’s expensive upfront costs that come with paying a caregiver live-in or not to work for you. Private health insurance travel costs and a living wage are the minimum that need to be accounted for. And after a couple of years caring for you or your family it’s not guaranteed that your foreign caregiver will be approved to stay.

But Canada has an aging population with not enough personal care workers to keep up. According to Statistics Canada by 2036 seniors are expected to make up around 23 to 25 per cent of the population. And yet there’s a shortage of qualified care workers throughout the country – recruitment agencies and educational institutions are finding difficulty in attracting people to this in-demand market.

By employing someone abroad who is skilled and willing to take on jobs that not many Canadians are willing to do themselves you help give someone a shot at a new life while they help you with yours. Do the research and take the chance – this set-up can be a win-win for everybody involved.