The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration implemented changes to the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) on November 30, 2014.
While removing the “live-in” requirement and speeding up processing times for LCP-based permanent residence applications are welcome improvements, the amendments also imposed some new requirements that may prove challenging for caregivers to meet.
Change One: Two Pathways to Permanent Residence & Their Requirements
As of November 30, 2014, there are now two pathways through which caregivers can apply for permanent residence. In the first pathway, caregivers who have provided childcare in a home may apply for permanent residence, regardless of whether they lived inside or outside of the home. In the second pathway, caregivers who have provided care, either at home or at a health facility, to persons who are elderly or have disabilities or chronic disease, may apply for permanent residence. Caregivers in the latter pathway must also have provided this care as a registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, orderly, patient service associate, home support worker, or similar professional.
To be eligible under either pathway, caregivers must have provided the above-stated care for at least two years with a valid work permit, have completed at least one year of a Canadian post-secondary credential (or its equivalent foreign credential), and have achieved a language level of at least “initial intermediate” or “adequate intermediate,” depending on the profession.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will only accept a maximum of 2,750 applicants per each pathway of permanent residence per year, in addition to their family members. CIC has also adopted a standard to process such applications within 6 months.
Some things have not changed. The two-year work requirement to apply for permanent residence is the same as under the old system. Caregivers must still obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from an employer in Canada and have a written contract with their future employer. In addition, the standard wait time for approving a prospective caregiver’s application to come to Canada and begin working in the LCP remains approximately 16 months.
The upside to these changes is that CIC will attempt to process LCP-based permanent residence applications within 6 months, as opposed to previous approximate 39 months. This will promote speedier family reunification for caregivers.
The downside is that there is now a cap of 5,500 LCP-based permanent residence spots per year, whereas previously there was no yearly maximum and caregivers could apply at any time. The requirements for caregivers to have post-secondary education and heightened language abilities are also new and will likely prove to be inhibitive for some prospective applicants.
Change Two: Removing the “Live-In” Requirement
Caregivers are no longer required live in the home where they are working. New and current caregivers may choose to live outside the home, and still later apply for LCP-based permanent residence in the new pathways.
However, caregivers who choose to live outside the home must apply for a regular work permit and state in their employment contract and LMIA that they are not living in the home where they are working. Current caregivers who wish to live outside the home must also apply for a regular permit to replace their LCP-specific work permit and will require a new LMIA.
Dropping the “live-in” requirement is a welcome change, in that it may reduce the vulnerability and extended hours that many caregivers face in the workplace. It also gives caregivers and their employers a choice to agree on living inside or outside the home.
Change Three: Type of Work Permit Needed
Prospective caregivers who have not yet worked in Canada under the LCP must apply for a regular work permit, if they submitted their LMIA after November, 30, 2014. Caregivers, old and new, who wish to live outside the home where they are working, must also apply for a regular work permit.
Prospective caregivers who have not yet worked in Canada under the LCP, but submitted their LMIA before or on November, 30, 2014, may apply for a LCP-specific work permit. Caregivers who already have a LCP-specific work permit, would like to extend or change the permit, and still wish to live inside the home, may also apply for a LCP-specific work permit.