Canadian Immigration and Work Permit Options for Caregivers
Caregivers play an important role in Canada's economy and society. Due to its aging population and low birth rate, Canada provides numerous immigration and work permit pathways to caregivers This OSI page provides an overview of these pathways.
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Canada has a long history of welcoming caregivers to support its economy and society. One of the reasons why Canada has a leading immigration system is it is always looking to modernize its immigration policies and programs. In this spirit, Canada has reformed its caregiver pathways for permanent residence in recent years. It currently operates two pilot programs for caregivers who wish to obtain permanent residence. The pilots also give applicants the opportunity to obtain temporary work permits while they wait for permanent residence. The first is called the Home Child Care Provider Pilot. The second is called the Home Support Worker Pilot.
Each program accepts a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, for a total of 5,500 principal applicants, per year.
Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
Both the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot offer permanent residence to
caregivers who meet the following criteria:
- Have at least 24 months of full-time qualifying work experience in the 36 months before submitting your application;
- Language test results showing a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5;
- One year of Canadian post-secondary education or the foreign equivalent; and
- Pass an admissibility check (health, criminality, and security).
Qualifying work experience
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) outlines the following information on its work experience criteria for the pilots:
- You need to have at least 24 months of full-time work experience within the 36 months of applying to a pilot
- The work experience must fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 4411 or 4412
- Your work experience must be in one of these jobs, it cannot be a mix of both jobs
- You need to demonstrate your job matched the NOC job description and you completed most of the main duties
- Your work experience does not need to be 24 months in a row. It just needs to be 24 months in total
- Full-time work is defined as at least 30 hours of paid work each week
Caregivers with work experience in NOC 4411 (excluding foster parents) may be eligible for permanent residence through the Home Child Care Provider Pilot:
- You must care for children below the age of 18 in your home or your employer's home
- You do not need to live in your employer's home to be eligible
- Work experience as a foster parent does not count
Caregivers with work experience in NOC 4412 (excluding housekeepers) may be eligible for permanent residence through the Home Support Worker Pilot:
- You must have taken care of someone who needs help from a home support worker. This can have taken place in your home or in your employer's home
- You do not need to live in your employer's home to be eligible
- Only home support workers can be eligible under NOC 4412
- Experience as a housekeeper does not count
You must take an IRCC-designated English or French language test and obtain a CLB or NCLC 5 in all four language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking.
You must have completed a post-secondary educational credential of at least 1 year. This can be Canadian or foreign education. If it is foreign education, you must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
IRCC completes admissibility checks on permanent residence applicants to ensure new immigrants do not pose a risk to the health and safety of Canadians. Each applicant has different documents they need to submit depending on their background.IRCC specifies its requirements in its application guide. Depending on your background, you may need to submit:
It is important to carefully read IRCC's application requirements to understand what documents you
personally need to submit.
Work Permit Pathways for Caregivers
You may be eligible to obtain a work permit if you are applying to one of the pilots and/or you are currently residing in Canada. The work permit rules are as follows:
Open Work Permits for applicants to the Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
IRCC classifies applicants under these pilots into two categories. The categories depend on whether the applicant has obtained 24 months of eligible Canadian work experience under NOC 4411 or NOC 4412.
- Category A (If you have between 0-23 months of eligible Canadian work experience): If you do not yet have 24 months of NOC 4411 or NOC 4412 work experience in Canada, you need to apply for an occupation-restricted open work permit when you submit your permanent residence application under either pilot. If you meet all permanent residence eligibility criteria you will receive a work permit restricted to NOC 4411 or NOC 4412 to allow you to come to Canada as a temporary resident so you can obtain 24 months of work experience within three years. The three-year period starts the day the work permit is issued.
- Category B (if you have already completed 24 months of eligible Canadian work experience under either NOC 4411 or NOC 4412): You are not required to apply for an occupation- restricted open work permit when submitting your permanent residence application under either pilot. You are eligible to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) with or after your immigration application is submitted. The BOWP application will not be processed until IRCC assesses your permanent residence eligibility.
Your spouses and dependants are eligible to join you in Canada and obtain open work permits themselves.
In-Home Caregivers Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Stream
Families can hire foreign caregivers to assist children, seniors, or persons with certified medical needs when there are no Canadians and permanent residents available to do the job. The caregiver must provide care on a full-time basis(at least 30 hours per week) and work in the private household where the care is being provided.
The caregiver can assist children under 18 years of age in roles such as NOC 4411. They can also assist seniors that are 65 and over, and people with disabilities or serious illnesses. They can serve in roles such as NOC 3012, NOC 3233, and NOC 4412.
Families submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to the Canadian government and get it approved. The foreign caregiver can then apply to get a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
It is important to note however that work permits to caregivers under NOC 4411 and 4412 will only be issued under the following conditions:
- Caregivers who will be working in any province or territory except Quebec must be residing in Canada for IRCC to process their work permit. IRCC will refuse to process the work permit if you are living overseas.
- Caregivers who will be working in Quebec can be residing in Quebec or overseas. IRCC will go ahead and process the work permit so long as eligibility criteria are met.