Caregivers play an important role in the economy and society of Canada. Because of its aging population and low birth rate, Canada offers a variety of immigration and work permit options to caregivers. This page on Canada Visa gives an overview of these options.
Caregivers have long been welcomed in Canada to help the economy and society. One of the reasons Canada has a world-class immigration system is that it is constantly seeking to modernize its immigration policies and programs. In this spirit, Canada has recently reformed its caregiver pathways for permanent residence. It currently runs two pilot programs for caregivers seeking permanent residency. The pilots also allow applicants to obtain temporary work permits while waiting for permanent residence. The first program is known as the Home Child Care Provider Pilot. The second program is known as the Home Support Worker Pilot.
Each program accepts a maximum of 2,750 primary applicants per year, for a total of 5,500 primary applicants.
The Home Child Care Provider Pilot and the Home Support Worker Pilot both provide permanent residence to caregivers who meet the following requirements:
Have at least 24 months of qualifying full-time work experience in the 36 months preceding your application;
Language test results with a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5; one year of post-secondary education in Canada or the foreign equivalent; and
Pass the admissibility test (health, criminality, and security).
Work experience that is sufficient
The following information is provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regarding its work experience criteria for pilots:
You must have at least 24 months of full-time work experience within the 36 months preceding your application to a pilot program.
Work experience must correspond to National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 4411 or 4412.
Your work experience must be in one of these positions; it cannot be a combination of both positions.
You must demonstrate that your job matched the NOC job description and that you completed the majority of the main duties.
Your work experience does not have to be continuous for 24 months. It only needs to be 24 months in total.
A full-time job is one that requires at least 30 hours of paid work per week.
Caregivers with work experience in NOC 4411 (other than foster parents) may be eligible for permanent residency under the Home Child Care Provider Pilot:
You must care for children under the age of 18 in your home or the home of your employer.
You do not have to live in your employer’s house to qualify.
Work experience as a foster parent is not considered.
Caregivers with work experience in NOC 4412 (other than housekeepers) may be eligible for permanent residency under the Home Support Worker Pilot:
You must have cared for someone who requires the assistance of a home support worker. This could have happened at your house or at your employer’s house.
You do not have to live in your employer’s house to qualify.
Only home care workers are eligible for NOC 4412.
Experience as a housekeeper is not considered.
You must pass an IRCC-approved English or French language test with a CLB or NCLC 5 in all four language skills: writing, reading, listening, and speaking.
You must have completed at least one year of post-secondary education. This can be either a Canadian or a foreign education. If you are studying abroad, you must obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
The IRCC conducts admissibility checks on permanent residence applicants to ensure that new immigrants do not endanger Canadians’ health and safety. Depending on their background, each applicant must submit different documents. In its application guide, IRCC specifies its requirements. You may be required to submit the following documents depending on your background:
Medical examination based on biometrics
Certificate of police clearance
It is critical to carefully read IRCC’s application requirements to understand what documents you must submit personally.
Caregivers’ Work Permit Pathways
If you apply for one of the pilot positions and/or are currently residing in Canada, you may be eligible for a work permit. The following are the work permit rules:
Open Work Permits for Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker Pilot Applicants
Under these pilots, IRCC divides applicants into two categories. The categories are determined by whether the applicant has 24 months of qualifying Canadian work experience under NOC 4411 or NOC 4412.
If you do not yet have 24 months of NOC 4411 or NOC 4412 work experience in Canada, you must apply for an occupation-restricted open work permit when you submit your permanent residence application under either pilot. If you meet all of the criteria for permanent residence, you will be granted a work permit restricted to NOC 4411 or NOC 4412, allowing you to come to Canada as a temporary resident and gain 24 months of work experience within three years. The three-year period begins on the date that the work permit is issued.
Category B: You are not required to apply for an occupation-restricted open work permit when submitting your permanent residence application under either pilot if you have already completed 24 months of eligible Canadian work experience under either NOC 4411 or NOC 4412. You can apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) before or after submitting your immigration application. The BOWP application will not be processed until IRCC determines your eligibility for permanent residence.
Your spouse and dependents may accompany you to Canada and obtain open work permits.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Stream for In-Home Caregivers
When there are no Canadians or permanent residents available to assist children, seniors, or people with certified medical needs, families can hire foreign caregivers. The caregiver must work full-time (at least 30 hours per week) in the private household where the care is being provided.
In roles such as NOC 4411, the caregiver can assist with children under the age of 18. They can also help seniors 65 and older, as well as people with disabilities or serious illnesses. They can fill positions like NOC 3012, NOC 3233, and NOC 4412.
Families apply to the Canadian government for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and have it approved. The foreign caregiver can then apply to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for a work permit (IRCC).
However, work permits for caregivers under NOC 4411 and 4412 will only be issued under the following conditions:
Caregivers who intend to work in any province or territory other than Quebec must be residents of Canada in order for IRCC to process their work permit. If you are living in another country, IRCC will refuse to process your work permit.
Caregivers who will be working in Quebec may live in Quebec or elsewhere. As long as the eligibility criteria are met, IRCC will process the work permit.