Immigrating to Canada

How to Immigrate to Canada

Canadian Immigration Programs and the process of applying to immigrate to Canada have changed a great deal in recent years. The best place to go for the most recent, complete, and accurate information is

Briefly, some of the Immigration Categories are

  1. Family sponsorships (if you are the close relative of a Canadian citizen)
  2. Refugees
  3. Programs for Workers
    1. Skilled workers (usually requires a university degree, proficiency in English/French and skilled professional work experience among other requirements). There are three programs in this category (Federal skilled workers, Federal Skilled Trades workers, and the Canadian Experience Class for people who have skilled work experience in Canada)
    2. The various provincial nominee programs (specific to each province and continually changing in response to the current labour shortages that may exist in a particular province.  
    3. Business immigrants
      1. Investors (must be willing and able to invest CAD$2,000,000 in Canada and have a minimum personal net worth of CAD$10,000,000)
      2. Entrepreneurs who have a business venture or idea and be able to prove that they have support from a designated organization
      3. Self-employed (must have experience in cultural activities, athletics, or farm management. Must make a significant contribution to Canadian culture, athletics, or purchase/manage a Canadian farm)
    4. In-home Caregivers (must work full-time as an In-home Caregiver in Canada for a minimum of two years). View the qualifications required and the immigration process below and on the webpage:

The In-home Caregiver Program

The main advantages of the Canadian In-home Caregiver Program are:

  1. it requires less education. To apply for Permanent Residence as a caregiver you are only required to prove that you have one year of post-secondary (after high school) education. This education can have been completed in Canada or it can have been achieved in your own country although it will need to be assessed according to Canadian standards.
  2. you do not need much money
  3. there is a need for foreign In-home Caregivers in Canada
  4. you could be qualified to apply for Permanent Residence after working in Canada for 2 years as an In-home Caregiver. It is essential to be aware that there is a cap applied to the number of applications under each of the two streams of this program that will be accepted each year. However, if you fullfill the education, language, and work requirements and the cap has not been reached for the year in which you apply, you may have Permanent Residence within six months.

The Immigration Process

These are the steps to becoming a Permanent Resident in Canada via the In-home Caregiver Program:

  1. Determine if you already meet the educational and training requirements or whether you will first need to take extra training. These requirements are no longer clearly defined by the government but you will be required to prove that you are qualified to do the job that you are applying for a work permit to do.
  2. Find an employer (check Canadian newspapers, agencies, Job Centres, etc). Also check our Job Search page. Once you have found a potential employer you must both agree upon and sign an employment contract. You should get a copy of the employment contract.
  3. Your potential employer must apply to ESDC for a 'Labour Market Impact Assessment' (LMIA). This process became much more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive for employers in December 2014. However, if eventually ESDC officials are satisfied that there is no Canadian willing, qualified, and available to do the job, they will send your potential employer a 'positive' LMIA. Your potential employer must give you a copy of this 'positive' LMIA.
  4. Now you can apply for your first 'work permit'. The process of applying for a caregiver work permit varies depending on where you are residing and what your immigration status is there. It must, of course, be done correctly. Below is a guide to obtaining your first work permit.
  5. Once you have a work permit, you may start working for your new employer. You must complete 2 years of full-time work as an In-home Caregiver within a period of 4 years. You may take short holidays during your employment and you may also change employers (note that you will need to apply for a new work permit every time you change employers). Please be aware that work permits under the Caregiver Program are Temporary Work Permits and, as such, are subject to the 4 year limit to the duration of the work permits that you will be approved which was imposed on April 01, 2011.  
  6. After you have completed a total of 2 years of full-time work as an In-home Caregiver you may apply for Permanent Residence and an Open Work Permit.  The government has promised that Permanent Resident applications from caregivers will be processed within six months. You may be approved an Open Work Permit in as little as 2 months.

The process of applying for your first work permit


After you get a confirmed job offer and a positive LMIA as a In-home Caregiver you will need to obtain a work permit before you can start working for your new employer.

This requires many documents (see our checklist) and much preparatory work (see our flowchart). For example you must take a medical test, get police clearances and have any foreign documents officially translated into English or French.



Applying for your first Work Permit - Timeline















Applying for your first work permit - Checklist

  1. All the application forms for a Work Permit completed correctly and validated. These could be the forms  to apply either from Inside or Outside Canada, depending on your current residence location and your immigration status.
  2. Contract of employment with your prospective employer.
  3. A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from ESDC.
  4. A photocopy of your passport (Note: for citizens of countries where an entry visa for Canada is required, you will need to submit your original passport. If Biometrics are required from you, you will need to appear in-person at a VAC).
  5. 2 immigration photos (these are different from passport photo standards). On the back print your name and date of birth.
  6. Your birth certificate.
  7. Proof of education.
  8. Proof of language ability. You must prove that you are able to function in one of Canada's official languages (English or French) by means of a recognized, standardized test such as CELPIP or IELTS.
  9. Proof that you are qualfied to do the job that you are applying for. In the past (for the old Live-in Caregiver Program) this meant that you must have either attended a 6 month approved training course for caregivers or have had relevant work experience of at least one year in the last 3 years. However, under the new In-home Caregiver Program (depending on the job you are applying to do...a high-skilled NOC or a low skilled NOC) the government longer specifies what they will consider proof that you are qualified to do the job that you are applying for.
  10. Summary of your skills and experience (i.e. your resume)
  11. Proof of funds (letter from your bank or financial institution)
  12. Because you will be working with children or a person with high medical needs, you must have a medical examination (approximately $450 CAD) from a designated medical practitioner. The results are automatically filed with CIC although it can take several weeks/months for this process to complete.
  13. Police clearances (also known as police certificates, police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, judicial record extracts etc) from all the countries that you have lived in for a period of 6 months or more (consecutively) since the age of 18.
  14. Official translations of any documents that are not in English or French.
  15. The application fee for the work permit (currently 150 CAD)

Optional Items that are not specifically required but that may help your application:

  1. CPR and First Aid (Level C ) certificate.
  2. Child welfare clearance (if you will be working with children). This may be obtained in Canada in some cities including Edmonton. This may also help you get an offer of employment

Important Notes

Before planning any trip to Canada please be sure that you understand the visa requirements for your country and the planned purpose of your trip. Check the official Canadian citizenship & immigration website for more details.
Disclaimer: While we have taken care to ensure that this information is correct, please note that immigration policy changes frequently and varies by immigration officer and consulate. Always check for the latest information at the Canadian citizenship & immigration website. We cannot accept any liability for inaccuracies.