What In-home Caregivers Do
In-home Caregivers look after children, the elderly, or a person with significant disabilities. Typically this care must be given in a private home although the caregiver is no longer required to live with the people they care for. Work in a nursery school, nursing home, or other public or privately-run caregiving institution would rarely, if ever, qualify for a work permit under the In-home Caregiver Program.
Note that this was previously known as the "Canadian Live-in Caregiver Program".
Canadians in general are usually not willing to live and work in someone else's home whether it is for the purpose of being available to care for the children and home while the parents are off at work or to care for a senior who needs someone around 24 hours a day to ensure safety. To address this problem, the federal government introduced a program to enable private households to hire caregivers from abroad. This program is now called the 'In-home Caregiver Program' and it allows suitably qualified people from other countries to enter Canada and work in private homes as In-home Caregivers.
A major benefit of the 'In-home Caregiver Program' for many foreign applicants is that it provides a way of immigrating to Canada. After two years of full-time work as a Live-in Caregiver in Canada, the foreign worker may apply for 'Permanent Residence' (also known as landed immigrant status), which confers most of the benefits of Canadian citizenship. Canadian citizenship can later be obtained after only a few years as a Permanent Resident.
Although the concept of immigrating to Canada via the In-home Caregiver Program is quite straightforward, the immigration process required to become a Permanent Resident can be complicated. Here is an outline of the entire immigration process for gaining permanent residence via the In-home Caregiver Program.
To apply for Permanent Residence under the Canadian In-home Caregiver Program, applicants must now have:
- Work Experience: at least 24 months of full-time work as either a home child care provider (NOC 6474) or as caregiver to someone with high medical needs (either NOC 6471 or one of the high skilled NOCs 3413, 3233, 3152)
- Education: the equivalent of one year of post-secondary Canadian education. Your education can have been obtained within Canada or you can have your foreign educational credentials assessed according to Canadian standards. This requirement is intended to increase the likelihood that participants, who later become permanent residents, will be able to find employment
- Language Ability: the ability to speak, read, listen, and write in either English or French proven by obtaining a minimum language level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 on a language test from an agency approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The test results must be less than 2 years old at the time you apply.
- You must be in good health (you will have to pass a medical examination) and have no criminal record in the countries in which you have lived.
In-home caregivers are typically female (over 95%). We have found that almost all Canadian employers of Live-in Caregivers prefer to hire female caregivers. Salaries are now based on the median wage for the NOC (National Occupational Classification) for that particular job description which differs by both province and by city or rural area. For child caregivers working in the home the median wage is typically between $10.25 and $10.60. For caregivers working under the NOCs included in the "Care for People with High Medical Needs Stream", the median wages are much higher (typically about $16/hr).
The number of caregivers working and immigrating to Canada through the In-home Caregiver Program has declined throughout the past 4 years. In 2009 there was a high of 39,551 foreign workers in Canada with Live-in Caregiver work permits while in 2012, there were only slightly over half as many (19,830). In 2009 the number of foreign Live-in Caregivers who became Permanent Residents of Canada was 6,273 compared to only 3,690 in 2012. This is likely due mainly to the much stricter controls that were put in place by Immigration Canada in an attempt to eliminate the abuse of the program by both foreign workers and Canadian employers. These controls were made even more stringent in December 2014.