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Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program

Written by Henry J. Chang
General Requirements

The live-in caregiver program permits professional caregivers to seek employment in Canada. It also permits these live-in caregivers to seek permanent residence in Canada after working as a live-in caregiver under the program for at least two years.

The term "live-in caregiver" is defined at Section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations ("IRPR") as "a person who resides in and provides child care, senior home support care or care of the disabled without supervision in the private household in Canada where the person being cared for resides". Based on this definition, such an alien must provide care to children, seniors, or the disabled on a live-in basis.

Seeking a Work Permit Under the Program

According to Section 112 of the IRPR, a work permit will not be issued to a foreign national who seeks to enter Canada as a live-in caregiver unless they:

  1. Applied for a work permit as a live-in caregiver before entering Canada;
  2. Have successfully completed a course of study that is equivalent to successful completion of a secondary school in Canada;

  3. Possess the following training or experience, in a field or occupation related to the employment for which the employment authorization is sought, namely,

    1. Successful completion of six months of full-time training in a classroom setting, as part of the course of study referred to in paragraph (a) or otherwise, or

    2. Completion of one year of full-time paid employment, including at least six months of continuous employment with one employer, in such a field or occupation within the three years immediately prior to the day on which they submit an application for a work permit; and

  4. Have the ability to speak, read and understand English or French at a level sufficient to communicate effectively in an unsupervised setting; and

  5. Have an employment contract with their future employer.

Work Permit Application Procedure

The employer initiates the procedure by first obtaining a job offer confirmation for the live-in caregiver from Human Resources Skills Development Canada ("HRSDC"). Once the offer of employment has been confirmed by the HRSDC, it will send a confirmation letter to the prospective employer. The letter will instruct the prospective employer to send a copy of the confirmation letter to the applicant.

The prospective employer and the applicant then must submit their live-in caregiver application to the visa office. If the visa office approves the application, the applicant has a medical examination. If the medical results are satisfactory and the applicant is otherwise eligible, a work permit is issued. If required, the applicant must also seek a temporary resident visa at a consulate.

Because of an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec, there are differences in the way the program operates for caregivers who will be working in Quebec. Because the Province of Quebec controls its own immigration, the live-in caregiver program is administered differently in that province. A discussion of Quebec's program is outside the scope of this article. However, additional information concerning the Quebec program appears at the web site of the ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (Quebec Immigration).

The Work Permit

The work permit is valid for one year at a time. As the applicant may not apply for permanent residence until two years of cumulative employment (see below), the work permit will have to be renewed at least once. The applicant must renew his or her work permit before it expires.

Permanent Residence for Live-In Caregivers

Certain aliens who have worked in Canada as live-in caregivers may seek permanent residence after certain conditions have been met. According to S. 113 of the IRPR, a foreign national becomes a member of the live-in caregiver class (and is therefore eligible for permanent residence) if:

  1. They have submitted an application to remain in Canada as a permanent resident;
  2. They are a temporary resident;

  3. They hold a work permit as a live-in caregiver;

  4. They entered Canada as a live-in caregiver and, for a cumulative period of at least two years within the three years immediately following their entry,

    1. Resided in a private household in Canada, and
    2. Provided child care, senior home support care, or care of a disabled person in that household without supervision;

  5. They are not, and none of their family members are, the subject of a removal order or an admissibility hearing under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act ("IRPA") or an appeal or application for judicial review arising from such a hearing;

  6. They did not enter Canada as a live-in caregiver as a result of a misrepresentation concerning their education, training, or experience, and
  7. Where they intend to reside in the Province of Quebec, they competent authority of that Province is of the opinion that they meet the selection criteria of the Province.

The cumulative period mentioned above may be in respect of more than one employer or household and need not be without interruption. However, it may not be in respect of more than one employer or household at a time (i.e. concurrent employment).

Permanent Residence Application Procedure

Once the applicant has met the above requirements, he or she may complete an application for permanent resident status. As part of this filing, the applicant must prove that he or she has worked as a full-time live-in caregiver for two years. As proof of employment, a statement of earnings, T4 slips, or other similar documentation should be submitted. If the applicnat has changed jobs since his or her arrival in Canada, records of employment from each of the former employers should also be submitted.

The live-in caregiver application for permanent residence will not be assessed on the basis of the applicant's financial situation, skills upgrading in Canada, volunteer work, marital status or the number of family members in the country of origin. A live-in caregiver can be found ineligible for permanent residence if he or she, his or her spouse or common-law partner, or any of his or her family members have a criminal record or a serious medical problem.

Live-in caregivers working in Quebec will also be assessed by provincial authorities on additional criteria, including their knowledge of French. Additional information relating to Quebec's live-in caregiver program appears at the web site of the ministère des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (Quebec Immigration).

Once the applicant has received a favourable assessment on his or her application for permanent resident status as a live-in caregiver, he or she may apply for an open work permit. This allows the applicant to take ANY job while the permanent residence case is pending.

Family Members

A family member of a live-in caregiver may apply to remain in Canada as a permanent residence if the following apply:

  1. The family member is a family member of the live-in caregiver, and was included in the live-in caregiver's application to remain in Canada as a permanent resident at the time the application was made; and
  2. The family member is not inadmissible.

Family members abroad will be processed for permanent residence at the visa office in their country of residence. They will not be issued immigrant visas until the live-in caregiver has received his or her permanent residence.

The entire family will be required to pass medical and criminal screening in addition to meeting the other requirements. All your family members must pass medical and background checks, whether or not they are accompanying the live-in caregiver. Similarly, the live-in caregiver cannot be granted permanent resident status until all of his or her family members have passed their medical and criminal screening.

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