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Caregiver Program

Caregiver Program

Live-In Caregivers

The Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) underwent many changes in November 2014 for obtaining a work permit and applying for permanent residence. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also eliminated the requirement that the caregiver reside in the employer’s home. An employer and foreign caregiver may still decide that a live-in arrangement is most suitable in their circumstances. Caregivers opting for a live-out arrangement need to consider the implications on their worker permit and permanent residence application options.

Obtaining a Work Permit

The type of work permit a first-time caregiver may receive depends on when the employer applied for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Service Canada. If the employer submitted an LMIA application to Service Canada on or before November 30, 2014, then the caregiver will receive a work permit under the Live-In Caregiver Program. LMIAs submitted after November 30, 2014 will result in the caregiver receiving a regular work permit.

Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) Work Permit

A caregiver is eligible for an LCP work permit if the following conditions are met:

  • The employer obtained a positive LMIA from Service Canada;
  • The caregiver has completed the equivalent of Canadian high school;
  • The caregiver has at least six months of training as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation;
  • Within the past three years the caregiver has at least one year of full-time paid work experience (including six month of continuous employment for the same employer) as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation; and
  • The caregiver has a good knowledge of English or French.

Caregivers must maintain a live-in arrangement with their employer to stay on a LCP work permit. If live-out arrangements are made then a regular work permit must be applied for to replace the LCP-specific work permit.

Caregivers already in Canada on an LCP work permit may maintain their status in the program even if they wish to change jobs or extend their permits. The current or future employer first needs to apply for a new LMIA. In order to maintain qualification in the Live-In Caregiver Program, live-in arrangements must be made between the employer and the caregiver.

Regular Work Permit 

A caregiver is eligible for a regular work permit if their employer applied for an LMIA from Service Canada after November 30, 2014. Service Canada allows families to hire foreign caregivers if the employment is within one of the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes:

  • For caregivers of children under the age of 18
    • Home child care providers (NOC 6474)
    • For caregivers of people with high medical needs (elderly persons over the age of 65 or people with disabilities, a chronic or terminal illness)
      • Registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3152)
      • Licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233)
      • Nurse aide or patient service associate (NOC 3413)
      • Home support worker (NOC 6471)

Once the employer obtains a positive LMIA for one of the above NOC positions, the caregiver may submit an application for a regular work permit to CIC. To be eligible, the caregiver needs to meet any training, work experience, or qualifications set out in the NOC job description.

This work permit allows the caregiver to reside in or out of the home of the employer. Extensions to the work permit or a changing of employers need to be supported with a new positive LMIA.

Applying for Permanent Residence

There are now three pathways to apply for permanent residence through the Caregiver Program depending on the circumstance and nature of work completed by the caregiver.

Live-In Caregiver Program 

This original pathway for caregivers to apply for permanent residence, it remains available to the following individuals:

  • A caregiver who is already working in Canada on a work permit approved through the Live-In Caregiver Program; or
  • A caregiver who is approved for their first Live-In Caregiver Program work permit based on an employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or Labour Market Opinion (LMO) application that was submitted to Service Canada on or before November 30, 2014.

Caregivers on LCP-specific work permits must continue to reside in live-in arrangements with the employer in order to qualify for permanent residence through this pathway. If live-out arrangements are made then the caregiver must look to one of the other two pathways to qualify.

Caregivers are eligible to apply for permanent residence after acquiring within four years of their date of arrival in Canada the following work experience under the Live-in Caregiver Program:

  • 24 months of authorized full-time live-in employment, OR
  • 3,900 hours of authorized full-time employment within a minimum of 22 months (up to 390 hours of overtime can be included in this calculation)

Periods of unemployment, extended time outside Canada, and work for the employer while outside Canada cannot be counted towards the calculation.

Caregiver for Children Pathway

This is a new pathway available to caregivers who have provided child care in a home, regardless of if the caregiver was in a live-in or live-out arrangement with the employer. The care may also have been provided in the employer’s home or in the caregiver’s home.

To be eligible, the following employment conditions must be met:

  • The caregiver must have at least 24 months of full-time work experience in Canada within the four years prior to applying;
  • The caregiver’s work experience as a home child care provider must meet the definition in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code 4411, including performance of most of the main duties and all of the essential duties listed; and
  • The individuals being provided care must be children under the age of 18.

Caregiver applicants must meet specific language and education requirements as well. An English or French proficiency test is required, meeting a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in all four competencies (speaking, reading, listening and writing).

Caregivers must also show proof of completion of a post-secondary education program that is one-year or more in length. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is required for any studies completed outside of Canada to show it is equal to a completed Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year.

Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway

This pathway is for caregivers providing care for the elderly and those with disabilities or chronic disease in a health facility or in a home. To be eligible, the following employment conditions must be met:

  • The caregiver must have at least 24 months of full-time work experience in Canada in the four year period prior to applying;
  • The caregiver’s work experience must be within one of the following jobs listed in the NOC:
    • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)
    • Licensed practical nurses (NOC 3233)
    • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)
    • Home support workers and related occupations (NOC 4412)
      • Note: Only home support workers are eligible under NOC 4412. Housekeepers are not eligible for this pathway.
      • The caregiver must show they performed most of the main duties and all of the essential duties listed in the NOC job description.

An English or French language proficiency test is required. Caregivers with work experience in NOC 3233, NOC 3413, or NOC 4412 must attain a CLB 5 level in all four competencies, while caregivers gaining work experience in NOC 3012 must meet a CLB 7 level.

Caregivers must also show proof of completion of a post-secondary education program that is one-year or more in length. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is required for any studies completed outside of Canada to show it is equal to a completed Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year.

Lastly, the caregiver must also meet any additional education, training, and other qualifications set out as requirements in the NOC job description. Caregivers claiming work experience as a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3012) or as a licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233) must prove they are licensed to practice in Canada and provide proof they are registered with the appropriate provincial/territorial regulatory body.

The Links on the right hand column offer a brief overview of the Federal immigration categories available for permanent immigration to Canada.