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.
A foreign national who wishes to work in Canada as a live-in caregiver must apply for a work permit before seeking entry to Canada.
Written Employment Contracts
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 Renewals
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.
Permanent Residency 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.
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