Canada offers various opportunities for caregivers from other countries to work and gain permanent residency through an immigrant pathway known as the caregiver program. This program allows approved candidates to gain valuable Canadian work experience while caring for children, elderly people, or those with disabilities.
What are caregiver jobs in Canada that offer visa sponsorship?
The main caregiver jobs in Canada that qualify for visa sponsorship under the caregiver program include:
- Home child care provider: This involves taking care of children, usually infants/toddlers, in the employer’s private home. Duties include feeding, bathing, playing with kids, and light housekeeping.
- Nanny: Similar to a home child care provider, but the job is in the nanny’s own home instead of the employer’s home.
- Elderly caregiver/home support worker: Tasks involve assisting elderly individuals or those with disabilities/special needs with daily living activities at their home. This includes light housekeeping, meal prep, companionship, medical care, etc.
- Live-in caregiver: The caregiver resides full-time at the employer’s home to provide 24/7 care for children, the elderly, or those with disabilities. Duties vary depending on the client’s needs.
Employers must be authorized to hire a caregiver from abroad through one of the approved programs under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Only positions with 35 hours of work per week or more are eligible.
Eligibility criteria to apply for a caregiver job in Canada
To qualify for a caregiver job in Canada with visa sponsorship, candidates must meet these basic eligibility criteria:
- Be between 18-45 years of age
- Have completed a minimum of six months of full-time studies at the secondary/post-secondary level (high school diploma or higher)
- Have at least 6,000 hours of paid work experience providing care for children, the elderly, or those with disabilities
- Be able to communicate effectively in English or French
- Have a job offer from an accredited Canadian employer
- Pass a medical exam and security checks
- Have sufficient funds to support themselves until finding employment
Candidates must provide documents as proof of education, work experience, and language ability. A job offer letter from an authorized Canadian employer is crucial. Maintaining good health and background with no criminal records also increases the chances of approval.
How to apply for a caregiver job in Canada
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a caregiver job in Canada with visa sponsorship:
1. Find an authorized Canadian employer
Search job banks and networking platforms. Employers must get authorized by IRCC before hiring a foreign national caregiver.
2. Obtain a job offer
The employer will provide a written job offer that meets program requirements.
3. Apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
The employer applies for and receives a positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada, confirming there are no Canadians available for the job.
4. Apply for a work permit
Use your job offer and positive LMIA to submit an online or paperwork permit application to IRCC along with all required documents and fees.
5. Receive a medical exam request
IRCC may ask you to get a medical exam done through an approved clinic if your application reaches this stage.
6. Get security screening
You will undergo criminal and background checks as part of the application process.
7. Wait for work permit decision
It usually takes 4-6 months to get an approval or refusal decision from IRCC.
8. Travel to Canada with a valid work permit
Upon approval, activate your permit by entering Canada within its validity period (usually two years).
9. Start working as a caregiver
Your work permit is employer-specific, so you can only work for the authorized Canadian employer who sponsored you.
10. Apply for an open work permit (if eligible)
After successfully completing 24 months of authorized Canadian work experience, you become eligible to apply for an open work permit allowing to change jobs and employers.
11. Get permanent residency
After fulfilling all requirements, you can apply inland for permanent residence through caregiver programs like the Caring for Children, Caring for People with High Medical Needs, or Caring for the Aged streams.
That covers the basic application process, from finding a job to getting permanent residency. It’s important to meet all eligibility criteria and provide complete applications to improve approval chances. Let an immigration lawyer/consultant also review your documents before submitting them.
Understanding the caregiver work permit
Once approved, candidates receive an open work permit or employer-specific work permit, allowing them to work in Canada as a caregivers. Here are some key points about the caregiver work permit:
- Validity: Usually two years initially but becomes renewable if eligibility criteria continue to be met. Extension must be applied for before expiration.
- Employer restriction: With an employer-specific permit, you can only work for the sponsoring Canadian employer. An open work permit gives flexibility to change jobs/employers.
- Work conditions: You are authorized full-time employment only as a caregiver at the approved occupation and job location on the permit. Any changes require reassessment and a new permit.
- Eligibility for permanent residency: Completing 24 months of authorized full-time Canadian work experience makes you eligible to apply for permanent residence through various caregiver immigration pathways.
- Family members: Accompanying spouse/common-law partners and dependent children may be able to join you in Canada on an accompanying open work permit if your application included them.
- Renewal: Eligible to renew the work permit if still within the program eligibility period and continuing to work full-time for the Canadian employer.
It’s important to understand permit conditions for continued compliance and eligibility to gain permanent residency in the future. Following the rules is key to career progression through this program.
Permanent residency pathways under the caregiver program
Once the 24 months Canadian experience requirement is fulfilled, candidates can apply for permanent residence through one of the following IRCC caregiver program streams:
Caring for Children pathway
For those with 24 months of authorized full-time work providing childcare in Canada. Apply under this stream within four years of completing the experience.
Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway
For caregivers with experience caring for adults requiring high medical needs/daily assistance.
Caring for the Aged pathway
Target applicants who care for seniors in Canada. The minimum age requirement is 67 years old.
Federal Skilled Workers program
If you meet eligibility under this general economic immigration class, you can apply through it instead of a caregiver stream.
The application process is similar to a typical Express Entry profile and comprehensive ranking system (CRS) but with some variations suited for each pathway. Candidates are assessed based on work experience, language ability, education, and other human capital factors.
It usually takes 12-18 months to receive a decision once you permanently apply from inside Canada. Meeting all requirements maximizes approval chances to gain permanent residence status.
Understanding Live-in Caregiver requirements
A Live-in Caregiver is a type of caregiver job in Canada where the approved foreign worker resides full-time at the client or employer’s home to provide care services. There are some unique rules that live-in caregivers need to know about:
- Must live at the employer’s residence, sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities with the family. Live-in status is formally assessed.
- Required to be ‘on-call’ for a minimum of 24 hours/day to be available to care for children/elders as needed.
- Exempt from standard Canadian labor laws like maximum work hours since residing at the workplace.
- Have a separate private bedroom at the employer’s home with furnishings like a bed, dresser, etc.
- Cannot be required to perform cleaning/housework for entire home beyond care recipient’s private areas.
- Entitled to at least one weekday and one weekend day fully off per week for personal activities.
- Wages must be paid regularly according to provincial minimum wage laws and comply with standard deductions.
- Should not be asked to remain isolated at home or prevented from having social interactions.
Special rules protect live-in caregiver’s rights and well-being. Understanding these is important to ensuring fair treatment by the employer throughout the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about caregiver jobs in Canada:
What are the language requirements?
Candidates should be proficient in either English or French at a level to safely and responsibly care for clients. CLB/NCLC level 7 in the language of work is preferable.
What education is required?
The minimum requirement is the completion of secondary education (high school) and preferably a post-secondary diploma in healthcare, childhood education or a related field.
How long does the application process take?
It typically takes 4-6 months to receive a decision on the work permit application once submitted with all required documents. The permanent residence process takes 12-18 months on average once applied from within Canada.
Can family members immigrate?
Once a principal applicant receives an open work permit, accompanying spouses/partners and dependent children under the age of 22 may be eligible to join on open work permits too. Permanent residence applications can also include family members.
What salary can caregivers expect to earn?
Pay varies depending on the province and job role. On average, caregivers earn between CA$11-25 per hour but live-in caregivers may get room & board instead of higher wages. Salaries tend to be higher in provinces like Ontario British Columbia.