10/29/2013 02:43 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Government pledges to clear backlogs in live-in caregivers program

OTTAWA - The federal government is promising to cut backlogs and speed up processing of applications under a program that brings live-in caregivers from overseas.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says the backlogs in the program are unacceptable.

The department says application backlogs and processing times have grown steadily in recent years.

The number of caregivers who complete their work obligations and become eligible for permanent residency outpaces the planned levels of admissions from the program.

Canada will admit 17,500 permanent residents through the program next year.

That's almost double this year's admissions and is the highest level in any year since the program began in 1993.

"Wait times in the live-in caregiver program have grown to levels that are unacceptable to caregivers," said Alexander.

"Our government has already slashed application backlogs for skilled workers and parents and grandparents. Now, we turn our attention to the LCP (live-in caregiver program)."