Why double jobs could get an OFW in trouble in Canada

Posted at 06/18/2014 11:35 AM | Updated as of 06/19/2014 9:39 AM

VANCOUVER – Temporary foreign workers and caregivers working double jobs outside their work permits face immediate deportation.

The West Coast Domestic Workers Association (WCDWA) raised the alarm that "under-the-table jobs" held by TFWs and caregivers are now being reported to immigration officials.

"Maraming nahuhuli, and this is not, even those with status, yung mga like if you have a work permit to live as a live-in caregiver, you can only work for that specific employer. Now, when you start doing part-time jobs here and there, you know, doing janitorial work or working in Filipino restaurants, then that's illegal work, that's unauthorized work and marami silang nahuhuli ngayon," said Darla Tomeldan, WCDWA legal advocate.

Tomeldan disclosed they have noticed the trend since last year. They have even been asked to go to the Canada Border Services Agency or CBSA several times to help kababayans who have been caught.

"It's been a trend, for some reason, madaming nahuhuling live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers working in other places other than where they're supposed to be. That's unauthorized work. That's illegal, please do not do it, otherwise talagang mapapa-uwi kayo, no ifs, no buts," she said.

Since the moratorium, many TFWs in the food and accommodation industry could not renew their work permits.

Caregivers may also find themselves without status while work permits are in process. Without papers, they can't legally work, and they get no health benefits so they do odd jobs to get by.

But Vancouver Councilor Geoff Meggs said health and community services should continue to be available to them.

"It could be going to the community center, asking for the police for help, even going to the library, any of this, even the food bank, we have to design ways and means to make sure people can function safely and have access to services," Meggs said.

Meggs said they want Vancouver to become a sanctuary city for TFWs, caregivers and other marginalized groups so they can live without fear of being deported.

"The key value behind it is you have access without fear, you can receive the services of the city without fear you will be deported or face sanction as a result of your residential status," he said.

Toronto declared itself a sanctuary city for undocumented residents last year.