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Live-in Caregivers

Live-in caregivers are individuals who are qualified to provide care for
  • children,
  • elderly persons or
  • persons with disabilities
in their private homes, without supervision.
 
Live-in caregivers must live in the private home where they work in Canada.
 
Both the employer and the employee must follow several steps to meet the requirements of the Live-In Caregiver Program.
 
Please note: If you want to work as a live-in caregiver in the province of Quebec, you must obtain a certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (certificate of acceptance) first.
 

Information for live-in caregivers

To work as a live-in caregiver in Canada, you must make an application to the Live-In Caregiver Program. If your application is successful, you will receive a work permit.

Who can apply

This is what you will need in order to be eligible for the Live‑in Caregiver Program in Canada:
 
1) A positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from an employer in Canada

Before hiring you, your employer must:
  • apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC) to have his or her suggested job offer reviewed; and
  • receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC/SC.

HRSDC/SC will assess your employer’s job offer and the employment contract to be sure that it meets the requirements for wages and working conditions and the provincial labour and employment standards, and that there are not enough Canadians or permanent residents available to work as live-in caregivers in Canada. If HRSDC/SC finds the job offer acceptable, they will issue a positive LMO to your employer. You will need a copy of this positive LMO when you apply for a work permit.

2) A written contract with your future employer, signed by you and your employer

You and your future employer are legally required to sign a written employment contract. You must submit the signed contract with your work permit application. This must be the same employment contract submitted to HRSDC/SC by your employer, unless you provide an explanation of any changes (for example, a new start date).
 
The written employment contract will ensure there is a fair working arrangement between you and your employer. Read more...
3) Successful completion of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school education
You must have successfully completed the equivalent of Canadian high school education (secondary school). Because of the differences in school systems across Canada, it is not possible to give a precise number of years. In most provinces, it takes 12 years of schooling to obtain a Canadian high school diploma. The immigration officer assessing your application will let you know what is needed.
 
4) At least six months’ training or at least one year of full-time paid work experience as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation (including six months with one employer) in the past three years

To claim work experience, you need to have worked for one year, including at least six months of continuous employment for the same employer. This work experience must be in a field or occupation specific to what you will do as a live-in caregiver. This experience must have been acquired within the three years immediately before the day on which you make an application for a work permit as a caregiver.
 
To claim training, it must have been full-time training in a classroom setting. Areas of study could be early childhood education, geriatric care, pediatric nursing or first aid.
 
5) Good knowledge of English or French

You must be able to speak, read and understand either English or French so that you can function on your own in your employer’s home.
 
For example, you must be able to call emergency services if they are needed, and to understand labels on medication.
 
You will be unsupervised for most of the day and may have to communicate with someone outside the home. You can also read and understand your rights and obligations if you can function in English or French.
 
6) A work permit before you enter Canada

To participate in the Live-in Caregiver Program, you must make an application for an initial live-in caregiver work permit at a visa office outside Canada.
 
If your application is successful, you will receive a letter of introduction from the Canadian visa office responsible for your area. You will need to present this letter to the Border Services Officer upon arrival in Canada in order to obtain your work permit.
 
 
 
HRSDC/SC will advise your employer to send you a copy of the positive LMO and the employment contract.
 
You and your employer must sign a written employment contract.

You must submit the signed contract, together with the positive LMO issued to your employer, with your work permit application.

This must be the same employment contract submitted to HRSDC/SC by your employer, unless you provide an explanation of any changes (for example, a new start date).

After that comes:
 
Applying for a work permit
  1. Obtain an application kit
  2. Read the guide
  3. Complete the application form and attach the necessary documents
  4. Pay the fee and get the necessary receipt
  5. Mail the application form and documents

1. Obtain an application kit

To obtain the application kit, visit the website of the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area for further information. The application kit and instructions are specific to each country and have specific information for those applicants. The requirements and documents may be different depending on the country you are applying from.
 

2. Read the guide

Read the guide carefully before you complete the application form. The fee for processing your form is not refundable, so make sure you are eligible to get a live-in caregiver’s work permit before you apply.

3. Complete the application form and attach the necessary documents

Read the instructions on the application form and be sure to provide the required documents. The application kit tells you which documents you need to include. If information or documents are missing, your application may be delayed.

Some of the documents you will need to provide with your application include:

  • Your diplomas, school certificates or transcripts listing the courses you have taken. You could be disqualified from the program if you are not honest about your education, training and experience.
  • Information about your marital status and the number of children you have. This information will not affect the outcome of your application for a work permit.
  • Fee payment in an acceptable format. Verify acceptable methods of payment with the visa office responsible for your area.
  • Read about the other requirements in your application kit. The documents required may be different depending on the country you apply from.

4. Pay the fee and get the necessary receipt

The fee is CAN$150.

You should follow the instructions in the application kit and on the website of the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area. The instructions in the application kit will tell you how and where to pay.
 

5. Mail the application form and documents

You will find more information on how to apply for a live-in caregiver work permit from the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area.

Your live-in caregiver work permit allows you to work in Canada as a live-in caregiver. The work permit may be valid for up to four years and three months. You must renew your work permit before it expires.

There will also be costs for a medical examination and a passport to travel. You are responsible for these costs unless your employer offers to pay them.

All live-in caregivers must pass a medical examination before being approved to enter Canada and receive their work permit.

6. Check to see if you need a passport and a temporary resident visa

If you are a citizen or a permanent resident of one of the countries listed below, you do not need a passport or a temporary resident visa to enter Canada. However, you must provide proof of citizenship or permanent residence, such as a national identity card or an alien registration card. This applies to citizens or permanent residents of:

  • the United States
  • Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
  • Greenland

If you come from any other country, you will need a passport.

To find out if you need a temporary resident visa, see the list of countries whose citizens need a visa to come to Canada. Requirements for travel documents may be different depending on your country. Before travelling, you should check with your country’s government for this information.

If you need a temporary resident visa as well as a work permit, the visa officer will issue them at the same time (if your application is approved).

Get more information on the temporary resident visa.

Extending your stay (changing, losing or quitting your job)

You are responsible for making sure that your live-in caregiver work permit is extended before the expiry date.

The work permit you receive when you enter Canada may allow you to work in Canada for up to four years plus three months. The date when your work permit expires is on the work permit.

You should apply to extend your work permit at least 30 days before the expiry date. Your temporary status as a worker will continue under the same conditions, until your application is processed and you have been notified of the decision.

If your work permit has expired before you have submitted an application to extend it, you must apply for a new work permit to restore your status within 90 days of the expiry date. With your new work permit application, you may have to submit a copy of a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO), a document your new future employer must obtain before she or he can hire you. Contact the CIC Call Centre for more information before you apply.

It is illegal to work in Canada without a valid work permit. If you do not extend your work permit or apply for a new work permit, you will be without status and you will have to leave Canada.

Changing jobs

You can change jobs for personal or other reasons. You will not be deported for looking for another place to work.

Your HRSDC/SC centre may have information about available live-in caregiver positions. You may also wish to use the national Job Bank to help in your search for a new employer.

Before you leave your present job, you must request these documents from your employer:

  • a record of any overtime hours you worked, and
  • a record of employment (ROE). The ROE indicates:
    • your reason for leaving
    • hours worked
    • gross earnings
    • any money paid or payable at the time you left your job.

Only your employer can get and complete the ROE. Your employer is legally responsible to give you an ROE and cannot refuse to do so. If you have difficulty getting your ROE, contact your local HRSDC/SC centre and ask officials to contact your employer.

Keep your ROE in a safe place. It is your work record and can serve as proof that you have worked the necessary time to apply for permanent resident status.

Applying for a work permit for your new job

Before you begin working for someone else, you must apply for a new work permit, at least 30 days before the expiry date of your work permit.

You can only work for the employer whose name is on your work permit. Your work permit could be cancelled if you work for anyone other than the person named on your work permit. You cannot even work for someone else just to try things out.

Do not allow your work permit to expire without having applied for a new one. You may not remain in Canada after your work permit expires unless you have applied for a new work permit or have been approved to stay in Canada through another immigration process.

With your application for a new work permit, you must submit:

If you are changing jobs and your new future employer has not yet sent you the required documentation, you must:

Case Processing Centre
Unit 202
Vegreville, Alberta
T9C 1X5

Your temporary status as a worker will continue under the same conditions, until your application is processed and you have been notified of the decision.

Quitting your job

You will improve your chances of getting another job if you have worked in one job for a fairly long time.

Before quitting your job (unless there are problems of abuse), you should try to solve your work problems by talking about them with your employer. You and your employer can revise your contract once in a while to be sure it works for both of you.

Talk with your employer before taking any action to quit your job. If you decide to quit, give your employer enough time to find a replacement for you.

Check your contract to find out how much time you have agreed to give your employer. However, if you are in a situation where there is abuse, you should leave right away.

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of abuse in your workplace, you may be eligible for emergency processing of a new live-in caregiver work permit to help you transition to a new employer as quickly as possible. Contact the CIC Call Centre to confirm the eligibility and application requirements for emergency processing of live-in caregiver work permits.

You cannot decide to live outside the home of the individual(s) you are caring for or accept any other type of employment without a valid work permit. If you do, your live-in caregiver work permit will be cancelled and you may have to leave Canada.

Before you leave your present job, you must request these documents from your employer:

  • a record of any overtime hours you worked, and
  • a record of employment (ROE). The ROE indicates:
    • your reason for leaving
    • hours worked
    • gross earnings
    • any money paid or payable at the time you left your job.

Only your employer can get and complete the ROE. Your employer is legally responsible to give you an ROE and cannot refuse to do so. If you have difficulty getting your ROE, contact your local HRSDC/SC centre and ask officials to contact your employer.

Keep your ROE in a safe place. It is your work record and can serve as proof that you have worked the necessary time to apply for permanent resident status.

For more information on finding a new live-in caregiver position and obtaining a new work permit, see:

Losing your job

If you lose your job and need to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, contact the HRSDC/SC centre nearest you. You will need your record of employment (ROE) to collect these benefits.

If you have not yet received your ROE, you can still apply for EI. Your employer is legally responsible to give you an ROE and cannot refuse to do so. If you have difficulty getting your ROE, contact your local HRSDC/SC centre and ask officials to contact your employer.

Keep your ROE in a safe place. It is your work record and can serve as proof that you have worked the necessary time to apply for permanent resident status.

You will be expected to find a new employer as soon as possible. For more information on finding a new employer and obtaining a new work permit, see:

Periods of unemployment will delay the date on which you can apply for permanent resident status. See below for more information.

Becoming a permanent resident of Canada

You can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada as a live-in caregiver if you meet the requirements.

1) Requirements to become a permanent resident

You may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada after you have had the following work experience as a live-in caregiver:

  • 24 months of authorized full-time employment, or
  • 3,900 hours of authorized full-time employment. You can complete these hours within a minimum or 22 months. When calculating your hours, you can also include up to 390 hours of overtime.
  • The work experience must be acquired within four years of your date of arrival.

When calculating your work experience, you cannot include:

  • Any period of unemployment
  • Any extended time outside Canada. For example, if you leave Canada for longer than the period of vacation time allotted in your employment contract, that period does not count.
  • Any period you work for your employer outside Canada. For example, time spent on a family vacation will not count.

2) What can affect your application

Your application is affected if:

  • you, your spouse or common-law partner, or any of your family members have a criminal record or a serious medical problem.
  • you did not provide truthful information about education, training or experience to the visa officer when you first applied under the Live-In Caregiver Program, your application can be cancelled.

3) What cannot affect your application

Your application is not affected by your financial situation, skills upgrading in Canada, volunteer work, marital status or the number of family members you have in your home country.

4) Applying for your family at the same time

You must include all your family members in your application for permanent resident status, even if they do not want to come to Canada with you. Family members who are not listed in your application cannot be sponsored by you at a later date.

You and your family members can get permanent resident status at the same time.

Your family members abroad will go through the process of permanent resident status at their nearest visa office.

All your family members must first pass medical and criminal screening before you can receive permanent resident status. When you receive your permanent resident status, your family members will receive immigrant visas from the visa office in their home country.

5) Applying for an open work permit at the same time

You can apply for an open work permit at the same time that you apply for permanent resident status. An open work permit allows you to take any job you wish.

6) Permanent residence in Quebec

If you are a live-in caregiver working in Quebec, the province will also assess your application. The province will look for additional information, including your knowledge of French. For more information on permanent residence in Quebec, visit the website of the ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (Quebec Immigration).

7) Leaving Canada (permanently or for vacation)

If you go away on a long vacation, you may need to reapply for a temporary resident visa before returning to Canada. Before traveling, you should contact the Call Centre more information.

If you leave Canada for more than one year or if your work permit has expired, you will have to reapply to the overseas visa office to return to Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program.

You can leave the program and return permanently to your home country at any time. However, you should give adequate notice to your employer.