Improvements to the Caregiver Program
- Formally known as the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), the Caregiver Program has been a feature of Canada’s immigration system for many years as a component of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
- The Caregiver Program enables Canadian employers to recruit foreign nationals to live and work in their homes to provide childcare or home support for seniors or people with disabilities when there is a shortage of Canadians or permanent residents to fill available positions. After two years of work, caregivers have the option of applying for permanent residence.
- The Government of Canada values the contributions caregivers make to Canadian families and after extensive consultations, has made reforms to improve the Caregiver Program by ending the live-in requirement, reducing family separation and providing more options to caregivers in Canada.
- The current LCP has a significant backlog of applications for permanent residence.
- For those who have spouses and/or children at home, lengthy processing times usually mean an extended period of separation from their loved ones.
- CIC nearly doubled permanent resident admissions levels for caregivers in 2014, with the 2014 levels plan setting out an all-time record of 17,500 admissions.
- The Government plans to admit 30,000 caregivers (including their spouses and dependants) in 2015, ramping up the processing of applications from those who have completed their work experience but are facing long waits for their permanent residence to be finalized.
End of the live-in requirement
- Requiring caregivers to live in the home of their employer can place them in vulnerable situations, including uncompensated overtime, poor working conditions, or worse, until they are able to achieve permanent residence status.
- With the absence of Canadian live-in caregivers to compare to, the prevailing wage rate for live-in caregivers has generally been skewed. This situation distorts the labour market for Canadians working in this field and has kept the salaries paid to foreign caregivers artificially low.
- The removal of the live-in requirement will result in greater opportunities for Canadians in caregiver occupations and an increase in wages for caregivers hired from abroad after employers clearly demonstrate that there are no Canadians available for the job.
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications sent from employers to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) after November 30, 2014, will only include a live-in arrangement if the employer and caregiver have agreed to that arrangement. In those cases, the LMIA will include an assessment of the living arrangements and employers will not be permitted to make room and board deductions from the wages of the caregiver.
Caring for Children Pathway
- On November 30, 2014, a pathway for child care providers will be launched and applications will be processed within six months.
- The requirements for the pathway include:
- two years of full-time work experience in Canada as a home child care provider within the past four years;
- a minimum language requirement of “initial intermediate” by meeting Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in a designated third-party language test; and
- a Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year, or an equivalent foreign credentialsupported by an Educational Credential Assessment.
- The number of applications through this program each year will be capped at 2,750 principal applicants. Spouses and dependants will not be counted against the cap.
- The caregiver will no longer be required to live in the home of their employer.
Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway
- On November 30, 2014, a pathway will be launched for caregivers who provide support to those with high medical needs and applications will be processed within six months.
- This program will feature criteria that many current live-in caregivers already meet. The requirements for the pathway include:
- two years of full-time work experience in Canada providing in-home care or care in a health facility to the elderly or persons with disabilities or chronic disease as, for example, a registered nurse, a registered psychiatric nurse, a licensed practical nurse, a nurse aide, a patient service associate or a home support worker;
- demonstrating that they are licensed to practice in Canada, if applicable;
- a minimum language requirement of “intermediate” by meeting Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in a designated third-party language test, if applying as a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse;
- a minimum language requirement of “initial intermediate” by meeting Canadian Language Benchmark 5 in a designated third-party language test, if applying in any other qualifying occupation; and
- a Canadian post-secondary education credential of at least one year, or an equivalent foreign credential supported by an Educational Credential Assessment.
- The occupations chosen for this pathway were identified in consultation with ESDC and Health Canada as health-care occupations that are likely to experience labour shortages in the future.
- Additional information about the pathways to permanent residence will be made available on CIC’s website prior to their launch on November 30, 2014.
- Additional information for employers about applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment for caregivers after November 30th will be made available on ESDC’s website prior to the implementation of the changes.