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    [description] =>  For Information about USA Travel and Immigration, click here

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Bringing a caregiver or nanny to Canada

Region: Ontario Answer # 663

Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), people in Canada are allowed to bring foreign workers into the country to work as caregivers through a special, separate immigration program. The In-home Caregiver Program is run by both Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). To be approved for the Program, both the employer and the caregiver must satisfy several criteria, as well as complete the application process.

Difference between in-home caregiver and live-in caregiver

In-home caregiver: means someone who works in a private residence.

Live-in caregiver: means someone who lives in the private residence where they provide caregiver services.

In the past, the caregiver was required to live with the sponsoring family. This is no longer required. New caregivers from abroad may only be hired if their employers applied for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before November 30, 2014. If the application was made after November 30, 2014 they must be hired though the regular process for hiring a foreign worker. Different rules apply for caregivers who are already part of the live-in caregiver program and want to continue working on a live-in basis.

Previous Caregiver Pilot Program

Under the previous federal caregiver programs, Canadian families and private household employers had to hire in-home caregivers under one of the following pilot programs:

  1. Caring for Children Program:

This Program was for caregivers (nannies) for children under 18 years of age (the caregiver may live-in or out-of the home).

  1. Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program:

This Program was for caregivers for people with high medical requirements – for example, people 65 years of age and older, people with disabilities, or people with a chronic or terminal illness.

These two pilot programs expired November 29, 2019.

New Caregiver Immigration Pilot Programs

Caregivers now have access to 2 NEW 5-year caregiver immigration pilot programs that have replaced the above pilot programs:

Immigration Canada has placed a cap of 2,750 applicants under each category, for a total of 5,500 principal applicants, per year. However, these caps may change at any time without notice, so it is advisable to confirm with IRCC for up-to-date limits. Although spouses/common-law partners and dependent children may form part of the application, they are not considered to be ‘principal applicants’ and do not reduce the  number of principal applicants being accepted.

The new programs allow caregivers to come to Canada together with their families and will also provide a pathway to permanent residence.

Basic requirements to become an in-home caregiver

The caregiver must:

  • receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment;
  • speak, read and understand English and/or French;
  • have a signed written contract with the future employer; and
  • acquire a work permit before entering Canada.

Once eligible for the Program, all caregivers must:

  • provide care on a full-time basis (minimum 30 hours per week), and
  • work without supervision in the private household where the care is being provided.

Requirements for employers to hire an in-home caregiver

Employers are responsible for finding their own caregivers, such as through advertisements, personal contacts, or employment agencies.

To qualify for the Program, the employer must:

  • have made a sufficient effort to first fill the position with a Canadian, or a permanent resident or foreign worker already in Canada,
  • have sufficient income to pay an in-home caregiver,
  • make a job offer that has primary caregiving duties for a child or an elderly or disabled person, and
  • have a signed written contract with the future caregiver.


Application process to bring a caregiver to Canada

Once the employer has found a suitable caregiver, there are a number of steps that must be completed in order for the caregiver to be allowed to come to Canada and begin their employment.

1.  Contract between employer and caregiver

First, the employer must enter into a written employment agreement with the prospective caregiver. The employment agreement must meet the Program requirements and ensure that there is a fair working arrangement between the employer and the employee. The contract must outline the mandatory employer-paid benefits and employee duties being offered by the employer. Specifically, the employment agreement must contain the following:

  • payment of the caregiver’s transportation to Canada from their country of residence,
  • medical insurance coverage (provided from the date of the in-home caregiver’s arrival until he or she is eligible for provincial health insurance),
  • workplace safety insurance coverage during the term of employment,
  • payment of all recruitment fees,
  • the hours of work,
  • the wage amount,
  • holiday and sick leave entitlements,
  • the terms and date of termination and/or resignation of the employment agreement.

Employers cannot require a caregiver (of either category) to live in their home. However, if the employer and the caregiver decide that a live-in arrangement is desirable, there are certain criteria that must be met. In such circumstances, the accommodation must be private, include a furnished bedroom, and room and board must be free of charge to the caregiver.

The ESDC has a standard employment agreement found on its website. If you use a customized agreement it may take longer to process your application, as the ESDC reviewer will have to spend additional time ensuring that all the contract requirements have been included.

2.  Employer submits an LMIA application to ESDC

Notice from IRCC

“If you are submitting an LMIA application on or after June 18, 2019 with the intention of hiring a caregiver from outside of Canada for a position located outside Quebec, please be advised that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will NOT issue a work permit to the foreign national allowing them to work for you.

In most cases, the foreign national(s) that you name in your LMIA application must already be in Canada with a valid work or study permit in order to be eligible for a work permit based on an LMIA…..

Caregivers from outside of Canada can be hired through IRCC’s Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker Pilots.”

Once the employer and caregiver have entered into an employment agreement, the employer must submit it together with an application for a Labour Market Impact Assessment to ESDC for approval. Additional information that must be included with the application includes a copy of the employer’s Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency, and proof that the person to be cared for falls within one of the categories of child, senior or disabled person. It is also necessary for the employer to register for a separate Business Number with CRA. An existing Business Number cannot be used.

Depending on where the caregiver will work in Canada, there may also be additional requirements specific to provincial or territorial legislation. For example, in British Columbia employers must register the caregiver with the BC Ministry of Labour Domestic Registry.

Even if the caregiver is the person’s only employee, the employer will be responsible to:

  • pay the employee, including official holiday days and vacation pay,
  • make deductions from the employee’s pay,
  • submit payroll remittances to CRA,
  • provide the employee with pay stubs, statements, T4s and a Record of Employment (if needed).

ESDC will determine if both the employer and caregiver have each met the requirements for the Program. The local ESDC office may ask employers additional questions, or to show that they have made a reasonable effort to hire a Canadian or a foreign worker who is already in Canada.

ESDC will assess the LMIA application and determine what impact hiring the foreign caregiver will have on Canada’s job market. Based on the application, and the documents submitted by the employer, ESDC will issue a positive or negative LMIA and the employer will be notified in writing of the final decision. If ESDC approves the employer’s offer of employment, it will issue a positive LMIA, which is valid for six months.

Processing fee

To cover the cost of processing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application, employers must pay a $1,000 processing fee for each position requested.

The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Certified cheque (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • Money Order (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • Bank draft (shall be made payable to the Receiver General for Canada)

Fee exemptions:

Their are circumstances in which certain groups may be exempt from paying the processing fee. These include:

  1. For individuals with medical needs: Families or individuals seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide home care for individuals requiring assistance with medical needs.
  1. Low-income families: Families or individuals with a gross annual income of $150,000 or less, seeking to hire a foreign caregiver to provide childcare in their home to a child under 13 years of age.

4.  Caregiver must obtain work permit

Once ESDC approves the employer’s application, it will send the positive LMIA, together with a letter giving the employer instructions as to what documents the employer must send to the prospective caregiver. The caregiver must include the positive LMIA (which must be signed by both the employer and the caregiver) with the application for a work permit.

The work permit application must be submitted to a Canadian visa office in the caregiver’s country of residence. Caregivers living in countries where a Canadian visa is normally required for them to visit Canada will also require a temporary resident visa application to be submitted with the work permit application. However, caregivers do not need to submit a separate temporary resident visa application. They are only required to submit an Application for a Work Permit. If their application is approved, they will also be issued a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada.

Once the application is approved, the caregiver will have to pay for, and undergo a medical examination. If the medical results are satisfactory to IRCC, and the caregiver meets all the eligibility requirements for the In-home Caregiver Program, a work permit will be issued allowing them to enter Canada and begin their employment. This process may take several months.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Beginning March 15, 2016 Foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries entering Canada by air, including those transiting through Canada, will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Entry requirements for those coming to Canada by land and sea have not changed.

An eTA is electronically linked to the traveller’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Applications for eTA’s are done online on the IRCC website, and in most cases the authorization will be issued immediately after submitting the online form.

If you need an eTA, it is recommended that you apply for it when you plan your trip, as opposed to waiting until you are ready to travel. As well, you must travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA. If you require an eTA, you can only apply for one person at a time. For example, for a family of three, you must complete and submit the form three times.

Applicants who receive their study or work permit on or after August 1, 2015 will automatically be issued an eTA along with their permit, while those who received their permit before that date will have to apply for an eTA.


Application for caregivers to become a permanent resident

Caregivers in the Caring for Children Program

To apply for permanent residence through this Program, applicants must:

  • have worked for two of the last four years as a home child care provider (National Occupational Classification NOC 4411), in Canada and with a permit;
  • meet the minimum language levels of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5; and
  • have a Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year or an equivalent foreign credential supported by an Educational Credential Assessment.

Caregivers in the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program

To apply for permanent residence through this Program, you must:

  • have worked for two of the last four years as a registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, patient service associate or home support worker, in Canada and with a permit;
  • be licensed to practice in Canada, if applicable;
  • meet minimum language levels for your job; and
  • have a Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year or an equivalent foreign credential supported by an Educational Credential Assessment.

To qualify for this Program your work experience must fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)
  2. Licensed practical nurses (NOC 3233)
  3. Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)
  4. Home support workers and related occupations, but not Housekeepers and related occupations (NOC 4412)

Caregivers applying for their family members

Caregivers must include all their family members in their application for permanent residence status, even if they do not want to come to Canada with the caregiver. Family members who are not listed in the application cannot be sponsored by the caregiver at a later date. The family members’ applications for permanent residence status will be processed at the same time as the caregivers and family members living abroad will not receive their papers to come to Canada until the caregiver receives permanent residence status. All the caregiver’s family members must pass a security check and a medical exam.


To obtain more information about the In-home Caregiver Program, or to obtain forms, contact Employment and Social Development Canada, or refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for the forms and information about the caregiver’s work permit application.

To find foreign consulates and embassies in your province, click here.

HSBC Bank Canada offers a Newcomers to Canada Program, valued up-to $700 including a $500 Joining Bonus Reward.

A criminal record will delay, and can even prevent you from getting your immigration status. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and representation with your application, contact our preferred Immigration experts, Bright Immigration Consultants .

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