The Live-in Caregiver Program brings qualified caregivers to Canada in situations where there are no Canadians or permanent residents to fill available positions. Live-in caregivers are individuals who are qualified to work without supervision in a private household providing care for children, the elderly or people with disabilities. The live-in caregiver must live in the employer’s home.
In order to qualify under the Live-in Caregiver Program, candidates must meet four main requirements:
- They must have successfully completed a course of study that is equivalent to a Canadian secondary school diploma.
- They must have completed 6 months of full-time training in a classroom setting or 12 months of full-time paid employment (including at least 6 months of continuous employment with one employer) in a field or occupation related to the job they are seeking as a live-in caregiver. This experience must have been obtained within the three years immediately prior to the day on which they submit an application for a work permit.
- They must have the ability to speak, read and understand either English or French at a level sufficient to communicate independently.
- They must have a written employment contract with their future employer.
The requirement for a written contract between the employee and employer takes into consideration the unique circumstances of live-in caregivers whose eligibility for permanent residence is tied to their employment. The requirement is a measure to provide a fair working arrangement between the caregiver and the employer, and gives both parties a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
The contract defines the employee’s job duties, hours of work, salary and benefits, and outlines the employer’s legal responsibilities to the caregiver.
Work Permit Renewal
A live-in caregiver is authorized to work only for the employer named in the work permit. A work permit is valid for one year and must be renewed before it expires.
When applying for renewal of a work permit, the caregiver must include a letter from the employer stating that the job as a live-in caregiver is being offered for another year.
If a live-in caregiver chooses to change employers, the caregiver must obtain a new work permit naming the new employer. A signed contract with the new employer is also required when consideration is being given to the caregiver’s request to work for a different employer. Gaps in periods of employment are permitted as long as the gaps do not interfere with the eligibility rule for applying for permanent residence, as outlined below.
Permanent Resident Eligibility
A live-in caregiver may apply for permanent residence after completing a minimum of two years employment as a live-in caregiver. However, this employment must have occurred within a three-year period immediately following entry to Canada as a live-in caregiver.
The two-year time period may represent work as a live-in caregiver for more than one employer and need not be without interruption, but may not represent work for more than one employer at a time.