Domestic Workers and Permanent Residence for Caregivers in Canada | MyConsultant

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Domestic Workers and Permanent Residence for Caregivers in Canada

Domestic Workers and Permanent Residence for Caregivers in Canada

Foreign workers relocating to Canada often ask, “Can I bring my nanny to Canada?” The short answer is yes, with certain conditions.

Domestic Workers (Nannies)

Essentially, a domestic worker who will be working full time at their employer’s household in Canada would qualify as a “business visitor” through application of R187(3) (a) and (b) and may enter as such. The key to approval depends on their ability to prove to a visa officer that they are a temporary resident and a domestic servant of the employer who is relocating to Canada for a short term (e.g. as a worker or business visitor). Although there is no regulation that defines “short-term,” it is usually less than six months. Moreover, to qualify as a business visitor the applicant’s remuneration must come in large part from outside Canada.

If the domestic worker’s employer extends their stay in Canada past a “temporary” period, or if the employer’s predominant place of residence eventually becomes Canada, the worker will likely have to obtain a work permit as a caregiver. Until June 2019, caregivers in such a situation required a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from an employer to apply for a work permit. As of June 18, however, caregivers can apply for a work permit with a job offer from an employer without needing an LMIA.

It is important to note that the domestic worker may not necessarily be able to live in Canada indefinitely as a worker if the employer chooses to seek permanent residence after the initial short-term entry, unless they meet the criteria to apply for a work permit or permanent residence as a caregiver independently.

The practice in the US is similar to Canada’s when it comes to domestic workers; a B-1 visa may be issued to domestic employees, also known as personal servants or domestic servants. Foreign diplomats or official representatives can have their domestic servants accompany them with A-3 or G-5 visas, depending on their official status in the US. Certain conditions, however, must be met (e.g. purpose of trip; remaining for a set period of time; showing evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad; maintaining a residence outside the US; etc.). 

In addition, the employee must prove they have at least one year of work experience as a personal or domestic servant, and that an employer/employee relationship existed with the employer immediately prior to applying. The domestic servant may extend their visa to coincide with the duration of their employer’s temporary visa in the US as opposed to Canada, where durations of more than six months would normally require the domestic worker to obtain an LMIA-based work permit.

The process of bringing domestic workers to Canada and the US is quite strict compared to the United Kingdom, where domestic worker visas are issued and can be extended even beyond 12 months. Domestic workers in the UK are referred to as “personal servants,” and certain criteria must be met. For example, personal servants must be over 18, have worked for the employer for at least one year prior to the visa application in the employer’s household, and intend to continue working for the same employer in the UK. Personal servants can change employers by informing the Home Office and there is no need to apply anew until it is time for a renewal.

Permanent Residence Options for Caregivers

Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program ceased as of November 30, 2014. Caregivers who arrived in Canada with work permits under the Live-in Caregiver Program may still apply for permanent residence under that program, but they cannot qualify if their initial LMIA (LMO) was issued after November 30, 2014. 

The Live-in Caregiver Program was highly popular throughout its run from 1992 to 2014. Thousands of caregivers came to Canada under that program and later obtained permanent residence.

On June 15, 2019, new Ministerial Instructions were issued relating to permanent residence options for caregivers. Two old pilot programs, the Caring for Children Program and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Program, were terminated on June 18, 2019, and two new pilot programs, the Home Child Care Provider (HCCP) and Home Support Worker (HSW) Pilot, were put into effect the same day; they will end on June 18, 2024. Under the current pilot programs and the new pilot programs, the government will only accept and process 2,750 principal applicants each year. Dependents do not count toward this limit.


Of course, caregivers may also currently qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class if they have worked in Canada for at least one year on a full-time basis and are obtaining sufficient points to qualify under Express Entry.

The most significant development with the two new pilots is that caregivers outside Canada may submit an application for permanent residence prior to coming to Canada if they meet the required criteria listed below. If the application receives approval-in-principle, the caregivers and their dependents will be issued the required work permit and/or study permits to be able to come to Canada and gain the necessary work experience and be processed for permanent residence after all the criteria is met from within Canada. Permanent residence applications made in this manner are suspended until IRCC receives confirmation that qualifying work experience has been met.

Another significant development is that work permits issued to caregivers will no longer require LMIAs and the work permits will be occupation-specific, rather than employer-specific, to allow for caregivers to move freely between employers. Caregivers can coordinate with their employers on the option of a live-in or live-out arrangement.

Minimum requirements to apply for permanent residence under the HCCP:
  1. A job offer from a potential employer in Canada, without an LMIA in NOC 4411, Home Child Care Provider;
  2. Proof that you either have qualifying work experience (24 months in Canada) or that you can perform the job you are offered based on previous experience or qualifications outside Canada;
  3. Minimum Language scores at CLB level 5; 
  4. Foreign educational credential equivalent to at least a one year of completed post-secondary education in Canada, or a Canadian post-secondary education of at least one year; and
  5. You and your family members are admissible to Canada
Minimum requirements to apply for permanent residence under the HSW:
  1. A job offer from a potential employer in Canada, without an LMIA in NOC 4412, Home Support Worker;
  2. Proof that you either have qualifying work experience (24 months in Canada) or that you can perform the job you are offered based on previous experience or qualifications outside Canada;
  3. Minimum Language scores at CLB level 5;
  4. Foreign educational credential equivalent to at least one year of completed post-secondary education in Canada, or a Canadian post-secondary education of at least one year; and
  5. You and your family members are admissible to Canada
The processing times for the current pathways are expected to remain at an average of 12 months. A six-month processing time will apply to finalize a permanent residence application for a caregiver who applied for permanent residence prior to coming to Canada on a work permit. This six-month processing time commences after the caregiver provides proof that they have met the qualifying work experience requirement in Canada.

About the author

Durriya Bharmal [ICCRC ID: R407839]
Senior Immigration Consultant at Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP. Specializing in most Canadian Permanent Residence and Temporary Residence Applications with over 30 years of experience both inland and overseas.
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