Caregivers – Work Permit and Permanent Residence
Caregivers are foreign workers in Canada who provide care for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or medical conditions.
In my practice, I deal with various issues regarding work permits and permanent residence for caregivers. Caregivers are foreign workers in Canada who provide care for children, the elderly and people with disabilities or medical conditions. Caregivers can apply for permanent residence after completing certain requirements.
Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
The LCP is the old system, which closed to new applicants on November 30, 2014. I am including it in this article as there are still caregivers presently holding an LCP work permit who will be eligible to apply for permanent residence (PR) under this program a few years from now.
Under the LCP, caregivers are placed in a special category different from other foreign workers. Caregivers under the LCP must meet specific requirements before they are granted a work permit, such as: applying outside Canada; completion of studies equivalent to high school in Canada; completion of 6 months of caregiver training or one-year caregiver employment; and sufficient English or French ability.
These requirements were previously written in s.112 of Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), which is now repealed.
Workers under the LCP can apply for PR. To be eligible to apply for PR under the LCP, the caregiver must meet specific requirements, most notably to hold a valid LCP work permit and to have worked as a live-in caregiver for a period of 24 months or accumulated 3,900 hours of work (with a maximum of 390 hours of overtime) for a minimum of 22 months. The required work experience must be gained within four years of the caregiver’s arrival to Canada. PR applicants under the LCP may not have to undergo a medical exam (they already underwent a medical exam before being granted their work permit) or provide any education or language proof. Please note that although this is normally not requested by IRCC, paragraph 30.(1)(g) where a medical exam is not required for an LCP applicant has been repealed.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
When the LCP closed to new applicants, those applying to work in Canada as a caregiver were grouped together with other foreign workers, making them part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). A worker is under the TFWP if their employer needed to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before the worker can apply for a work permit. Caregivers under the TFWP are issued a regular work permit. This usually has a remark stating that the “Applicant is not part of the LCP, nor is eligible to apply for PR under this program.”
PR Pathways for Caregivers
Two PR pathways for caregivers were introduced after the LCP: Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs. The government placed a limit wherein only 2,750 applications from each pathway per year will be processed. Different requirements and more documents are also needed:
- 24 months of full-time work experience within the past four years from the PR application date (eligible work experience based solely on number of months – cannot use 3,900 hours of work to meet the requirement)
- Eligible Occupation for Caring for Children Class: NOC4411
- Eligible Occupations for High Medical Needs Class: NOC 4412, 3413, 3233 & 3012
- Work experience cannot be combined in the two pathways. A caregiver with 12 months experience in childcare and 12 months in elderly care is not eligible to apply for PR in either pathway, even if they have a total of 24 months of caregiver experience.
- An English or French language test score equivalent to CLB 5 (CLB 7 for NOC 3012)
- Completed a Canadian one-year post-secondary educational credential or a foreign education equivalent to this, as supported by an official Credentials Assessment Report.
LCP or TFWP?
To determine whether a caregiver is part of the LCP or TFWP, the LMIA (previously Labour Market Opinion-LMO) that was used to apply for the initial caregiver work permit must be consulted. If the LMO/LMIA was applied for and received by the government before November 30, 2014, then a person is a member of the LCP. For example, a caregiver using an LMIA that was received by Service Canada on November 29, 2014, but was only issued on January 10, 2015, is still part of the LCP. Similarly, a caregiver who entered Canada and was issued a work permit last January 10, 2017, whose employer applied for the LMIA in October 2014, is still a part of the LCP. Most, if not all, caregivers under the LCP should have already entered Canada by now.
Differences between Caregivers under LCP and TFWP
Live-in / Live-out
Work Permit Renewal – Same Employer
Work Permit – Change Employer
Open Work Permits / Work Permits Obtained Inside Canada
There are other sets of workers who are eligible to apply for PR under the caregiver pathways. These are caregivers with an open work permit and workers under the TFWP who initially came to Canada in another position and changed occupations within Canada. If all program requirements are met, the work experience gained under their work permits can be counted for PR. The requirement is that the caregiver work experience must be authorized under a work permit, must be done while on legal status, and must not include any periods of full-time study or self-employment.
Current State of the Caregiver PR Pathway
The changes of the LCP and the two caregiver pathways were implemented through Ministerial Instructions signed by the Minister at that time. This means that these programs are not written into law, have a limited duration of five years, and can be changed or removed at any time. The two PR pathways are currently under review and are scheduled to expire on November 29, 2019. As of the writing of this article, eligibility for these pathways are limited to those who can meet the work experience before the expiry date. The government, however, has stated that it will ensure that caregivers have a pathway to apply for PR.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your caregiver work permit or PR application, I highly recommended to seek advice from an authorized and licensed immigration consultant. Caregivers in the province of Quebec may also need to meet additional requirements or may not be eligible for the above-mentioned programs. The matters discussed here are for general information only and do not constitute legal advice.