This is an employer-driven program under which Canadian employers are allowed to hire foreign nationals and to obtain work permits for them allowing the foreign national to enter Canada for the purpose of assisting the Canadian employer with child care, senior home support care or care for a disabled family member. A live-in caregiver is defined as a person “who resides in and provides child care, senior home support care or care of the disabled without supervision in the private household in Canada where the person being cared for resides.
The Live-in Caregiver Program requires the caregiver to have:
- successfully completed a course of study equivalent to a secondary school diploma in Canada;
- completed 6 months of full-time training or 12 months of full-time paid employment (which includes at least 6 months of continuous uninterrupted employment with one employer) in an occupation or a field related to the proposed employment. This experience must fall within the three years immediately prior to the day on which the application for work permit is submitted;
- an ability to speak, read and listen to one of the official languages of Canada (English or French) at a level to effectively communicate independently;
- a written employment contract with their future employer in Canada.
Item (d) above is designed to secure a proper working arrangement between the employer and the caregiver by setting out both parties’ responsibilities and duties in clear terms. It is of outmost importance to note that the employer-employee relationship must comply with the applicable Employment laws of the given province in which the parties are. For example, in Ontario, the minimum requirements of Employment Standards Act, 2000 (as amended from time to time) must be adhered to: i.e., hours of work, rest periods, vacation pay, eating periods, minimum wage, overtime work, deductions, paid holidays etc. It is therefore imperative that you obtain expert legal advice from experienced counsel who is thoroughly familiar with the province’s employment laws.
It must be noted that a live-in caregiver cannot work for any employer other than the one specified in the work permit. It must also be noted that applicants who work as a LIVE–OUT caregiver and those who work for more than one employer at a time are automatically kicked out of the Live-In Caregiver Program.
CAN I RENEW MY WORK PERMIT?
Work permits are issued for one year at a time and must be renewed before expiry. In order to renew, you must apply to Vegreville centre before the expiry date. You do not need to obtain a new validation from HRSDC If you continue to work for the same employer. You are, however, subject to other requirements.
CAN I CHANGE EMPLOYER?
You may change your employer, but in order to do so you must apply for a new work permit, with a validated job offer and a new employment contract by which the employer and caregiver define, in clear terms, their respective duties and responsibilities. The new work permit will again name the employer specifically and you cannot work for anyone else other than the named employer. You must also continue to meet the requirements of the Live-In Caregiver Program.
You must be very careful when it comes to changing employers as the interruption of your employment may have fatal consequences to your ultimate application for permanent residency later. We therefore encourage you to contact an experienced immigration counsel in order to ensure your transition from one employer to another will not affect your subsequent application for permanent residency.
It should be noted that interruptions in periods of employment are permitted so long as the interruptions do not violate the eligibility requirements for applying for permanent residence, as outlined below.
AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR PR STATUS?
You can apply for Permanent Resident status so long as you have completed a minimum of two years employment as a live-in caregiver and your two-years period of employment must have occurred within the three-years period following your entry to Canada under the program. This two-year period need not be uninterrupted but it cannot represent work done for more than one employer at a time.
To obtain further information and to take advantage of our free half hour initial consultation, please contact our offices for an appointment at (416) 365-9473.