Live in Care Givers can apply for Canadian Work Permits earlier

Work Visas Rules for Live in Care Givers Change

Live in Caregivers have been in the news over the last year. Concerns over abuse in the work place have raised issues about whether they should be able to leave their employers during the process for permanent residence. The Canadian government has in response allowed Live  in Care givers the option of applying for Open Work Permits giving them more flexibility in terms of employment options.

This means Live in Caregivers can now apply for employment before being approved in the first stages of their permanent residence application. Before this change, they were tied to their one employer until their application for permanent residence was preliminary approved. Now, they can apply for open work permits enabling them to work in other fields for other employers.

The new Open work permit rule for Live in Caregivers allow them to apply for an Work Permits as soon as they have met their obligations of employment and submitted their application for permanent residence. This means that they can apply for work in other jobs much earlier in the process.

These changes were designed to protect Live in Caregivers against abuse in the work place. Once they have meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residence and submitted their applications, they are free to leave their place of employment and work elsewhere.

What are the requirements for Permanent Residence for Live in Caregivers?

Live in caregivers must complete 3900 hours or two years of employment in Canada before being eligible for Canadian permanent residence. They have to live in the home of their employer during their two year employment, have a minum high school education, be able to converse in English or French and must have taken either a 6 month course in caregiving or have had  previously  one year of experience as a live in caregiver.

These new rules granting live in caregivers open work permits, open the door for live in caregivers. Also as significant is that live in caregivers can also apply for permanent residence within four years of coming to Canada rather than three as was the case in the past. This means that they have more time to make their 3900 hours in order to apply for permanent residence.

The life of a live in caregiver now is made easier and safer under the new rules. In addition to open work permit rule, other measures to protect them include:

  • a second medical examination is no longer required for a live in caregiver when applying for  permanent residence;
  • Urgent work permit processing where there is abuse a standardized employment contract concerning mutual agreement on  salary, hours of work, vacation time, overtime, holidays, sick leave, and the terms of termination and resignation;
  • employer is are required to pay the caregiver’s Canadian travel expenses,  medical insurance, workplace safety insurance and third-party representative fees;
  • ensuring that the job offer to live in caregivers is genuine and their are adequate living conditions
  • compliance rules for employers who have failed to  meet their obligations of their job contracts.

These measures were put in place to ensure that wages and work place conditions are up to standard for live in caregivers. With this new change allowing them to apply for open work visas, they now have the flexibility of changing jobs earlier in the application process.

What about the Employers of Live in Caregivers?

For employers, however, these changes mean more uncertainly. Sponsoring a live in caregiver from abroad, waiting for the application to be approved, paying very large travel costs and not even knowing if their prospective employee is a “good fit” for their families, makes it hard for employers desperate for live in help. Now with these changes, Live in Caregivers are less tied to their employers who rely on them to stay the course until their permanent residence status is granted or at least until they are approved in principle for permanent residence. Now much earlier on in the process, live in caregivers can leave their employers which means more uncertainly for employers who rely on help for their children or the elderly.

There are two sides to every story and these changes seem to be in conflict with the interests of live in caregivers and their employers. But the trend is clear: The government wants to treat live in caregivers live regular Canadian employees giving them the rights of mobility and work place protection that Canadians enjoy. And who can blame them?


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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