Last Updated on January 1, 2017
Important Information for Live-in Caregivers
The website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provides ample information on the rights of temporary foreign workers and the law.
Therefore, live-in caregivers would need to confirm that their employers still wish to hire them. Only after confirming this should they finalise their plans of departing for Canada. In some cases, the caregivers might find that their employers no longer need their services. In this scenario, the authorities would not issue work permits for these caregivers. This is because the authorities will only issue work permits approved for a specific job and a specific employer. Therefore, these caregivers might find that the authorities do not allow them to enter Canada.
Officials at the port of entry (POE) might ask the caregivers’ employers to meet them at the port of entry (POE). Only after this would they consider issuing the caregivers work permits.
Caregivers would need to have written employment contracts signed by both the caregiver and the future employer. The contract defines the caregiver’s job duties, hours of work, salary and benefits i.e. overtime etc. The contract serves to reinforce the caregiver’s employer’s legal responsibilities towards the caregiver as well. This requirement helps provide a fair working arrangement between the caregiver and the employer. In addition, it provides both the parties with a clear understanding of expectations from each other.
Caregivers would need to ask for ‘pay slips’ with each pay cheque that they receive. This would be useful for showing their deductions and net pay i.e. pay after deductions.
Situations could arise where the caregivers are not happy with their jobs. In this scenario, they would need to notify their employers about this. In many cases, a little flexibility from both sides can bring about changes that work to the betterment of both sides. Some employers might have waited for a ling time and might have paid agency fees for bringing the caregivers into Canada. These employers will appreciate the caregiver’s honesty.
In some cases, the caregiver might decide to change employers. However, they would need to remember that they cannot begin working for the new employer unless they get a new work permit. The new work permit will name the new employer specifically. Therefore, the new employer will need to get approval from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) or Service Canada first. Only then would the caregiver be able to obtain a new work permit, which would enable the caregiver to start working for the new employer.
Even if caregivers do not change employers, they will need to renew their work permits. Working in Canada with an expired work permit is illegal. Therefore, caregivers would need to apply for extensions of their work permits in Canada. In particular, they would need to do so at least three months in advance of the expiry date of their existing work permit. It is worth highlighting that renewing the work permit is entirely the caregiver’s responsibility and not the employer’s.
The caregivers will bear the responsibility for keeping their legal documents safe as well. These documents would typically comprise the work permit and passport. Caregivers should not give these documents to anyone – even to their employers. On occasions, caregivers might need to show these documents for verification purposes. As such, the employer might request to see the caregiver’s work permit. However, the caregiver would need to keep these documents entirely in their own possession.
It is worth highlighting that under no circumstances can an employer deport a caregiver from Canada. As such, the caregiver’s employer has no authority to hold the caregiver’s passport.
The law permits a caregiver to work in Canada as an authorised live-in caregiver only. As such, if the caregiver works in any other job (even on a part-time basis), the authorities could disqualify the caregiver from the program. In addition, the authorities could even consider the caregiver from being eligible for permanent residence.
In some cases, it is possible that the caregiver or someone else lied about the education, training or experience of the caregiver, when the caregiver first applied in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) outside Canada. This could lead to the disqualification of the caregiver from the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) in Canada.
In case the caregiver wants to apply for permanent residence in Canada, the caregiver would need to:
- Work on a full-time basis as a live-in caregiver for at least 24 months or a total of 3,900 hours in a minimum of 22 months within the four years immediately following the caregiver’s entry into Canada under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
- Clear the medical, criminal and security checks (along with the caregiver’s spouse and the caregiver’s dependent children) and must not be going to an immigration enquiry (or hearing) or be under an order for leaving Canada
- For instance, in some cases, the caregiver might marry a refugee claimant in Canada
- In this scenario, the status of the caregiver’s spouse might prevent the caregiver from getting permanent resident status and,
- Live in the home of the person for whom the caregiver has been hired to provide care
- Failure to do this would entail that the caregiver cannot continue to work in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), which also means that the caregiver would not be able to apply for permanent residence
The authorities permit the caregiver to apply for permanent residence once the caregiver has worked for the specified 24 months or 3,900 hours in a minimum of 22 months. For this, the caregiver would need to maintain their temporary resident status and have a valid work permit until they become permanent residents.
If the caregiver plans to apply for permanent residence, they might wish to get original documents that demonstrate, in as much detail as possible, all of their education, training and experience, prior to leaving their country. These documents could be quite helpful when they apply for work in Canada. In addition, they could help the caregiver to get into a program of study after they have become permanent residents. It is often easier to get these documents while the caregiver is still in their home country.
Situations could arise where the caregivers had to get temporary resident visas for coming to Canada. For this, they might need to get new ones if they leave Canada temporarily. This would typically be the case when they leave Canada for their holidays. This is applicable in all cases, unless the caregiver is visiting the United States.