Immigration and Citizenship

Canada Immigration Announces New Foreign Caregiver Program

Canada Foreign Caregiver Program

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced February 23, 2019, the launch of two pilot programs to improve the Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots introduced in 2014. Under the current program Canada provides work permits for families wishing to hire caregivers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).



There are two TFWP streams, Home Child Care Provider Pilot for caregivers for children and Home Support Worker Pilot for caregivers for the elderly or people with high medical needs.

Under the two new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots caregivers will be able to bring their spouses and children with them to Canada. The program also now provides caregivers and their families with pathway to permanent residence in Canada.

The new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots will also give caregivers flexibility to change jobs.

Canada Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said:

“Caregivers provide care to families in Canada that need it, and it’s time for Canada to care for them in return. We are providing them with both the opportunity to bring their family members here and access permanent residency to demonstrate our commitment.”

The new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots respond to key concerns raised in a report issued by a national coalition of caregivers advocacy groups late last year that condemned the 2014 pilots as “fundamentally flawed” and accused them of extending “the legal basis for exploiting care workers.”

In November 2014, the Live-in Caregiver Program was closed to new applicants, and the five-year caregiver pilots – the Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs classes – were introduced. Under the 2014 caregiver pilots, foreign national caregivers enter Canada as all other temporary foreign workers. Unlike the former Live-in Caregiver Program, they are not assessed for their ability to economically establish as permanent residents (e.g. official language, education) at the temporary stage. Interested temporary foreign worker caregivers can apply for permanent residence after they obtain the relevant work experience, if they meet all applicable permanent residence requirements.

Compared to the former Live-In Caregiver Program, the mandatory live-in requirement was removed, and the program criteria were changed to more closely align with the Government’s approach of selecting economic immigrants on the basis of their ability to become economically established in Canada.

As five year pilots established under section 14.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the 2014 pilots are set to expire on November 29th, 2019.

During consultations in Spring 2018 on the 2014 caregiver pilots, the IRCC heard that the program change in 2014 was not fully understood by caregivers and stakeholders. As a result, since November 2014, foreign national caregivers have continued to arrive in Canada believing that they would be eligible for permanent residence after obtaining a temporary work permit and acquiring two years of Canadian work experience. Many caregivers said they found out after they arrived in Canada that they did not meet the requirements for permanent residence, including education, and were not “en route” to permanent residence.

The confusion surrounding the 2014 pilots was exacerbated by a large number of grandfathered applicants under the Live-in Caregiver Program, which continued to be assessed according to the old program criteria.

The IRCC also heard that migrant caregivers face unique challenges, which are made worse by their temporary status. Examples include the often gendered and isolated nature of caregiving occupations; the high incidence of live-in work arrangements, despite the removal of the formal live-in requirement in 2014; and caregivers’ dependence on their employers to obtain and provide proof of the Canadian work experience needed to qualify for permanent residence.

New Canada Foreign Caregiver Program

Applicants to the new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots will be assessed against the criteria for Canadian permanent residence before they begin working in Canada.

Caregivers approved through the Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots would then have to gain two years of work experience in Canada before accessing what IRCC is calling a “direct pathway” to permanent residence.

This work experience would be acquired with an occupation-specific work permit for caregivers rather than an employer-specific work permit, meaning caregivers can switch employers if need be.

The new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots will also allow family members to accompany caregivers to Canada. A caregiver’s spouse or common-law partner would be entitled to an open work permit and dependent children would be granted a study permit in Canada.

IRCC will accept a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants each year under the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker pilots.

Spouses and dependent children will not count against the 2,750 principal applicant limit for each pilot.

The eligibility criteria and application process for the new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots will be announced “well before” the expiration of the two current caregiver pilots on November 29, 2019, IRCC says.

The new Canada Foreign Caregiver Program pilots follow a commitment by IRCC in 2017 to eliminate 80 per cent of the backlog of permanent residence applications submitted under the 2014 pilots and the now-defunct Live-in Caregiver Program and reduce the processing time from its peak of more than 60 months.

IRCC said it has now eliminated 94 per cent of the backlog and reduced the processing time to 12 months.

Interim PR Pathway for Caregivers

Along with the new pilots which will provide “direct pathways” to Canadian permanent residency, IRCC announced a three-month Interim Pathway for Caregivers that will be open to applications between March 4 and June 4, 2019.

The Interim Pathway for Caregivers will open temporarily for caregivers who have accumulated work experience in Canada since November 30, 2014, as a home childcare provider, home support worker or a combination of both while on a temporary work permit.

IRCC says there is no cap on the number of applications that it will accept through the Interim Pathway for Caregivers. 

This temporary pathway will be open to those who intend to reside outside of Quebec and who:

  • Are authorized to work in Canada on a work permit other than a Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) work permit (at the time of applying);
  • Have acquired at least one year of full-time Canadian work experience in an eligible caregiver occupation, other than housekeeper, since November 30, 2014;
    • Eligible caregiver occupation includes: Home child care provider — National Occupational Classification (NOC) Group 4411; and/or Home support worker — NOC Group 4412
  • Have a Canadian high school diploma, or equivalent foreign credential proven with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA);
    • Foreign credentials will require an ECA— issued within five years before the date of application by an approved organization — that indicates that the foreign diploma, certificate or credential is equivalent to a completed Canadian secondary school diploma.
  • Have a minimum proficiency in English or French equivalent to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 for all four language abilities (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

IRCC says that candidates whose educational credential was obtained outside Canada and who cannot obtain an ECA before the Interim Pathway for Caregivers closes on June 4, 2019, are still eligible if they provide proof that they have applied to get an ECA. Proof includes written confirmation from agency that they have submitted a request for an ECA and/or receipt of payment.

There is no limit on the number of applications that IRCC will accept through the Interim Pathway for Caregivers.



Caregivers whose current or most recent work permit is through the Live-in Caregiver Program will not be eligible for consideration through the interim pathway.

IRCC said the interim measure responds to concerns raised by some caregivers who came to Canada as in-home temporary foreign worker caregivers under the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pilot programs, which replaced Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program in November 2014.

“The interim program will have modified criteria compared to the current pilot programs and offer a pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who, in good faith, have come to Canada and are providing care for Canadians, without a clear pathway to permanent residence,” IRCC said.

Unlike the Live-in Caregiver Program, participants in the new pilots were no longer assessed for their ability to meet permanent residence requirements for education and proficiency in English or French when applying for a work permit.

IRCC said the changes were not “well understood” and resulted in foreign caregivers arriving in Canada believing that they would be eligible for permanent residence after obtaining a temporary work permit and acquiring two years of Canadian work experience.

“Many caregivers said they found out after they arrived in Canada that they did not meet the requirements for permanent residence, including education, and were not ‘en route’ to permanent residence,” IRCC said.

“This one-time, short-term pathway will help mitigate the unique vulnerabilities that in-Canada temporary foreign worker caregivers face because they are not eligible under a current pathway to permanent residence.”

Options for permanent residence as a caregiver

If you’re already working in Canada as a caregiver, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through the:

The Live-in Caregiver Program is closed to new applicants. You can only apply for permanent residence through the program if you: (1) are already working in Canada with an LCP work permit, or (2) were approved for your first LCP work permit based on an employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment application submitted on or before November 30, 2014

Compare the different options to help you determine which pathway you may be eligible to apply for.

Caring for childrenCaring for people with high medical needsInterim Pathway for CaregiversLive-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
Type of work experienceCanadian experience as a home child care provider.Experience as a foster parent doesn’t count.Canadian experience in 1of these jobs:registered nurse and registered psychiatric nurselicensed practical nursenurse aide, orderly and patient service associatehome support workerExperience as a housekeeper doesn’t count.Canadian experience as a:home child care providerhome support worker, ora mix of bothYour work experience must have been gained while working in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.Experience as a foster parent or housekeeper doesn’t count.Experience as an authorized full-time live-in caregiver in the LCP.
Amount of work experience24 months of full-time work in Canada in the 48 months before you apply.24 months of full-time work in Canada in the 48 months before you apply.12 months of full-time work in Canada since November 30, 2014.Within 4 years from the day you entered Canada through LCP, you must have at least:24 months of full-time work in the LCPora total of 3,900 hours of full-time work in the LCP, within a minimum of 22 months (which may include a maximum of 390 hours of overtime)
English or French language skillsCLB 5Footnote*CLB 7Footnote* if you’re a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurseCLB 5Footnote* if you’re a:licensed practical nursenurse aide, orderly and patient service associatehome support workerCLB 5Footnote*Language is assessed when applying for your first LCP work permit
EducationYou must have finished a:1-year Canadian post-secondary education credential, ornon-Canadian education credential that’s equal to a completed post-secondary education credential of at least 1 year in CanadaYou must have finished a:1-year Canadian post-secondary education credential, ornon-Canadian education credential that’s equal to a completed post-secondary education credential of at least 1 year in CanadaYou must have a:Canadian high school diploma, ornon-Canadian educational diploma, certificate or credential that’s equal to a Canadian high school diplomaEducation is assessed when applying for your first LCP work permit

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is the Canadian standard used to describe, measure and recognize English language ability of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants who plan to live and work in Canada, or apply for citizenship.

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