Immigrating to Canada
There are 3 main immigration categories recognized by the federal government of Canada:
- Family class (if you are the close relative of a Canadian citizen)
- Economic class
- Skilled workers (usually requires a university degree, proficiency in English/French and work experience among other requirements)
- Business immigrants
- Investors (must invest CAD$400,000 with the Canadian government and have a minimum net worth of CAD$800,000)
- Entrepreneurs (must have proven business experience and a minimum net worth of CAD$300,000)
- Self-employed (must have experience in cultural activities, athletics, or farm management. Must make a significant contribution to Canadian culture, athletics, or purchase/manage a Canadian farm)
- Live-in Caregivers (must work full-time as a Live-in Caregiver in Canada for a minimum of two years). View the qualifications required and the immigration process.
You can get more detailed information about the above programs at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
The main advantages of the Canadian Live-in Caregiver Program are that:
- it requires only a basic education
- you do not need much money
- there is high demand for Live-in Caregivers in Canada
- you can apply for permanent residence after working in Canada for 2 years as a Live-in Caregiver.
These are the steps to becoming a Permanent Resident in Canada via the Live-in Caregiver Program:
- Determine if you already meet the educational and training requirements or whether you will first need to take extra training.
- Find an employer (check Canadian newspapers, agencies, Job Centres, etc). Also check our Job Search page. Once you have found a potential employer you must both agree upon and sign an employment contract. You should get a copy of the employment contract.
- Now your potential employer must apply to HRSDC for a 'Labour Market Opinion' (LMO). This can take a few weeks. If HRSDC officials are satisfied that there is no Canadian to do the job, they will send your potential employer a 'positive' LMO. Your potential employer must give you a copy of this 'positive' LMO.
- Now you can apply for your first 'work permit'. The requirements to obtain your first work permit are quite complicated and must be done correctly. Here is a guide to obtaining your first work permit.
- Re-enter Canada with your new work permit and start working for your new employer. You must complete 2 years of full-time work as a Live-in Caregiver within a period of 3 years. You may take short holidays during your employment and you may also change employers (note that you will need to apply for a new work permit every time you change employers).
- After you have completed a total of 2 years of full-time work as a Live-in Caregiver you may apply for Permanent Residence. However, while you are waiting for your application to be processed, a lengthy procedure that can take up to one year, the only work that you will be permitted to do continues to be live-in caregiving, for which you still require a work permit. it is advisable to not quit your job until after you have obtained Permanent Resident status.
Overview of the Process
After you get your first confirmed job offer as a Live-in Caregiver you will need to obtain a work permit before you can start working for your new employer.
This requires many documents (see our checklist) and much preparatory work (see our flowchart). For example you must take a medical test, get police clearance and have any foreign documents officially translated into English or French.
Additionally you will need to leave Canada and apply for the work permit at a Canadian consulate outside Canada. You can return to your home country, but if you are in Canada it is often easier and cheaper to take a trip to either of the Canadian consulates in Seattle or Buffalo (USA). The visa office in Seattle has the advantage that the application may be processed on the same day. To do this however, you may need a visitor visa in order to enter North America. The information presented here is drawn from the experiences of our students who applied for their first work permit in Seattle (USA).
Also see our graphical timeline above which outlines the process of applying for your first work permit.
- Application form for Work Permit
- Contract of employment with your prospective employer
- Letter from prospective employer (this should make clear that they are offering you a job and it may help your application if the letter explains how urgent and important it is that the position is filled and why you are the best person to do the job)
- Positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC.
- A photocopy of your passport
- 2 immigration photos (these may be different from passport photo standards). On the back of only one photo write your name and date of birth
- Your birth certificate
- High school diploma
- Proof of meeting the job requirements (very important) :
- having attended a 6 month approved training course for care-givers (course certificate) or
- relevant work experience of at least one year in the last 3 years (you will have to show salary payments from the last 3 years)
- Letters of recommendation
- Summary of your skills and experience (i.e. your resume)
- Proof of funds (letter from your bank or financial institution - declaration)
- You must get a medical test (approximately 355 CAD) from a CIC designated medical practitioner. The results are automatically filed with CIC.
- Police clearance (also known as police certificates, police clearance certificates, good conduct certificates, judicial record extracts etc) from all countries that you have lived in for a period of six months or more (consecutively) since the age of 18.
- Official translations of any documents that are not in English or French.
- The application fee for the work permit (currently 150 CAD).
- Before applying for your work permit, check with the CIC visa office that the results of your medical test and police clearance have been received by CIC. Note that both the medical test and police clearance can take up to 4 months to appear in the CIC database. Use our flow chart and plan ahead.
Optional Items that are not specifically required but that may help your application:
- CPR and First Aid (level B ) certificate.
- Child welfare clearance (if you will be working with children). This may be obtained in Canada in some cities including Edmonton. This may also help you get an offer of employment.
- Before planning any trip to Canada please be sure that you understand the visa requirements for your country and the planned purpose of your trip. Check the official Canadian citizenship & immigration website for more details.
- Disclaimer: whilst we have taken care to ensure that this information is correct, please note that immigration policy changes frequently and varies by immigration officer and consulate. Always check for the latest information at the Canadian citizenship & immigration website. We cannot accept any liability for inaccuracies.