Live-In Caregiver Program - What you Need to Know

The Live-In Caregiver Program brings temporary foreign workers to Canada as live–in employees to work without supervision in private households to care for children, seniors or people with disabilities. Participants in this program may apply for permanent resident status within four years of arrival in Canada, once they have completed the required authorized full-time employment, as live–in caregivers. The Live–in Caregiver Program replaced the Foreign Domestic Movement Program on 1992.

»  Requirements before you can apply for work permit:

  1. A positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from an employer in Canada
    Before hiring you, your employer must apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC) to have his or her suggested job offer reviewed; and receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC/SC.

    You will need a copy of this positive LMO when you apply for a work permit.

  2. A written contract with your future employer, signed by you and your employer
    You must submit the signed contract with your work permit application. This must be the same employment contract submitted to HRSDC/SC by your employer, unless you provide an explanation of any changes (for example, a new start date).

    The written employment contract aims to ensure there is a fair working arrangement between you and your employer. The employment contract must demonstrate that the Live-in Caregiver Program requirements are met by including a description of:

    • mandatory employer-paid benefits, including: transportation to Canada from your country of origin; medical insurance coverage provided from the date of your arrival until you are eligible for provincial health insurance; workplace safety insurance coverage for the duration of the employment; all recruitment fees, including any amount payable to a third-party recruiter or agents hired by the employer that would otherwise have been charged to you
    • job duties
    • hours of work
    • wages
    • accommodation arrangements (including room and board)
    • holiday and sick leave entitlements
    • termination and resignation terms

    A contract template can be found at the CIC website. The contract template is different for the province of Quebec and is available on the ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (Quebec Immigration) website.

  3. Successful completion of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school education
    You must have successfully completed the equivalent of Canadian high school education (secondary school). In most provinces, it takes 12 years of schooling to obtain a Canadian high school diploma.

  4. At least six months’ training or at least one year of full-time paid work experience as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation (including six months with one employer) in the past three years

    To claim work experience:
    • you need to have worked for one year, including at least six months of continuous employment for the same employer,
    • must be in a field or occupation similar to what you will do as a live-in caregiver, and
    • must have been acquired within the three years immediately before the day on which you make an application for a work permit as a caregiver.

    To claim training, it must have been full-time training in a classroom setting. Areas of study could be early childhood education, geriatric care, pediatric nursing or first aid.

  5. Good knowledge of English or French
    You must be able to speak, read and understand either English or French.

»  Applying for a work permit

Your live-in caregiver work permit allows you to work in Canada as a live-in caregiver. To apply for a work permit, obtain the application kit. Complete the application form and attach the necessary documents. You will find more information on how to apply for a live-in caregiver work permit from the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area.

Some of the documents you will need to provide with your application include:

  • Your diplomas, school certificates or transcripts listing the courses you have taken. You could be disqualified from the program if you are not honest about your education, training and experience.
  • Information about your marital status and the number of children you have. This information will not affect the outcome of your application for a work permit.
  • Fee payment in an acceptable format. Verify acceptable methods of payment with the visa office responsible for your area. The fee is CAN$150
  • Read about the other requirements in your application kit. The documents required may be different depending on the country you apply from.
  • There will also be costs for a medical examination and a passport to travel. You are responsible for these costs unless your employer offers to pay them. All live-in caregivers must pass a medical examination before being approved to enter Canada and receive their work permit.

If you need a temporary resident visa as well as a work permit, the visa officer will issue them at the same time (if your application is approved).

Make sure that all the information and documents provided with the application is accurate. Any false information or misrepresentation can affect your application for work permit or even your application for permanent residence.

»  Extending your stay

  1. Extend your work permit

    It is illegal to work in Canada without a valid work permit. If you do not extend your work permit or apply for a new work permit, you will be without status and you will have to leave Canada.

    You are responsible for making sure that your live-in caregiver work permit is extended before the expiry date. The work permit you receive when you enter Canada may allow you to work in Canada for up to four years plus three months. The date when your work permit expires is on the work permit.

    You should apply to extend your work permit at least 30 days before the expiry date. Your temporary status as a worker will continue under the same conditions, until your application is processed and you have been notified of the decision.

    Do not allow your work permit to expire without having applied for a new one. You may not remain in Canada after your work permit expires unless you have applied for a new work permit or have been approved to stay in Canada through another immigration process.

    If your work permit has expired before you have submitted an application to extend it, you must apply for a new work permit to restore your status within 90 days of the expiry date. With your new work permit application, you may have to submit a copy of a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO), a document your new future employer must obtain before she or he can hire you. Contact the CIC Call Centre for more information before you apply.

  2. Changing Jobs
    You can change jobs for personal or other reasons. You will not be deported for looking for another place to work.

    Before you leave your present job, you must request these documents from your employer:
    • a record of any overtime hours you worked, and
    • a record of employment (ROE). The ROE indicates: your reason for leaving; hours worked; gross earnings; and any money paid or payable at the time you left your job.

    Only your employer can get and complete the ROE. Your employer is legally responsible to give you an ROE and cannot refuse to do so. If you have difficulty getting your ROE, contact your local HRSDC/SC centre and ask officials to contact your employer.

    Keep your ROE in a safe place. It is your work record and can serve as proof that you have worked the necessary time to apply for permanent resident status.

    Quitting your job
    Check your contract to find out how much time you have agreed to give your employer. However, if you are in a situation where there is abuse, you should leave right away.

    If you feel that you’ve been a victim of abuse in your workplace, you may be eligible for emergency processing of a new live-in caregiver work permit to help you transition to a new employer as quickly as possible. Contact the CIC Call Centre to confirm the eligibility and application requirements for emergency processing of live-in caregiver work permits.

    You cannot decide to live outside the home of the individual(s) you are caring for or accept any other type of employment without a valid work permit. If you do, your live-in caregiver work permit will be cancelled and you may have to leave Canada.

    Losing your job
    If you lose your job and need to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, contact the HRSDC/SC centre nearest you. You will need your record of employment (ROE) to collect these benefits.

    If you have not yet received your ROE, you can still apply for EI.

    You will be expected to find a new employer as soon as possible. Periods of unemployment will delay the date on which you can apply for permanent resident status.

  3. Applying for a work permit for your new job
    You can only work for the employer whose name is on your work permit. Your work permit could be cancelled if you work for anyone other than the person named on your work permit. You cannot even work for someone else just to try things out.

    With your application for a new work permit, you must submit:

    • a copy of a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO), a document your new future employer must obtain before he or she can hire you, and
    • a signed employment contract with your new employer.

    If you are changing jobs and your new future employer has not yet sent you the required documentation, you must:

    • send your application to renew your work permit, and
    • send a letter of explanation, at least 30 days before the expiry date of your work permit CIC - Case Processing Centre . Your temporary status as a worker will continue under the same conditions, until your application is processed and you have been notified of the decision.

»  Becoming permanent resident of Canada

You may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada after you meet the following as a live-in caregiver:

  • 24 months of authorized full-time employment, or
  • 3,900 hours of authorized full-time employment. You can complete these hours within a minimum or 22 months. When calculating your hours, you can also include up to 390 hours of overtime.
  • The work experience must be acquired within four years of your date of arrival.

Please note that effective April 1, 2010, you:

  • have four years from their date of arrival to complete the employment requirement to be eligible for permanent residence under the Program; and
  • no longer need to undergo the standard mandatory requirement for a second medical exam when applying for permanent residence

When calculating your work experience, you cannot include:

  • Any period of unemployment
  • Any extended time outside Canada. For example, if you leave Canada for longer than the period of vacation time allotted in your employment contract, that period does not count.
  • Any period you work for your employer outside Canada. For example, time spent on a family vacation will not count.

Circumstances that can affect your application:

  • you, your spouse or common-law partner, or any of your family members have a criminal record or a serious medical problem.
  • you did not provide truthful information about education, training or experience to the visa officer when you first applied under the Live-In Caregiver Program, your application can be cancelled.

If you believe that you fail to disclose any information or misrepresented any facts during your work permit application, please contact CDWCR so they can advise you on how you can correct the information before you apply for permanent residence.

Circumstances that cannot affect your application

  • Your application is not affected by your financial situation, skills upgrading in Canada, volunteer work, marital status or the number of family members you have in your home country.

You can apply for your family at the same time

  • You must include all your family members in your application for permanent resident status, even if they do not want to come to Canada with you. Family members who are not listed in your application cannot be sponsored by you at a later date.
  • You and your family members can get permanent resident status at the same time.
  • Your family members abroad will go through the process of permanent resident status at their nearest visa office.
  • All your family members must first pass medical and criminal screening before you can receive permanent resident status. When you receive your permanent resident status, your family members will receive immigrant visas from the visa office in their home country.

Applying for an open work permit at the same time

  • You can apply for an open work permit at the same time that you apply for permanent resident status. An open work permit allows you to take any job you wish.

Permanent residence in Quebec

  • If you are a live-in caregiver working in Quebec, the province will also assess your application. The province will look for additional information, including your knowledge of French.

»  Leaving Canada (permanently or for vacation)

  • If you go away on a long vacation, you may need to reapply for a temporary resident visa before returning to Canada. Before traveling, you should contact the CIC - Call Centre more information.
  • If you leave Canada for more than one year or if your work permit has expired, you will have to reapply to the overseas visa office to return to Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program.
  • You can leave the program and return permanently to your home country at any time.

»  Regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program effective April 1, 2011

All the information presented here are extracted from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. For more information, please visit the website at For Frequently Asked Questions related to the Live-In Caregiver Program, refer to: