Over the last two weeks I have written about the possibility for Canadian businesses to hire foreign workers in Canada when they face a labour shortage. This week I am writing about the case of a special category of employers: families that want to hire a foreign caregiver to work in their home to look after children or a family member with high medical needs.
As with all other visa and immigration categories, the caregiver category has changed greatly in recent years. A few months ago I wrote about changes that would impact the ability of caregivers already in Canada to be able to obtain permanent residence. But what can you do if you want to hire a foreign caregiver? Here are answers to your top three questions as you consider whether and how to hire a foreign caregiver:
1- Can I hire a “live-in” caregiver or nanny?
You can hire a foreign caregiver to assist in looking after your children or a family member with high medical needs. In the case of children, they must be under the age of 18 and you can hire nanny or child care provider. With respect to high medical needs they can either be elderly persons (65 years or older) or a person with a disability or a chronic or terminal illness. Depending on the needs of your family member with high medical needs you are able to hire a foreign caregiver who is a registered or practical nurse or a home support worker.
You cannot require that the caregiver must live with you or the family member that they are looking after. However, it is possible for the caregiver to agree to live with you or the family member that they are caring for. If you come to an agreement with your caregiver for her or him to live in your home, you must:
- provide accommodation in the form of a private bedroom that is furnished
- the bedroom door must have a lock and safety bolt on the inside
- the bedroom must meets the municipal building requirements and the provincial / territorial health standards
- you cannot charge the caregiver for room and board for the accommodations
2- What is the process for hiring a foreign caregiver?
In order to hire a foreign caregiver, you must be meet the following requirements:
- Demonstrate that you want to hire someone to provide care on a full-time basis (minimum 30 hours per week).
- Demonstrate that you want to hire someone to work in the private household where the care is being provided.
- Prove that you have eligible individuals requiring care (either that your children are under 18 or that your family member has high medical needs).
- Prove that you have the financial ability to pay the caregivers’ wages. You will be required to provide your Notice of Assessment as part of the application process.
- Prove that have conducted recruitment and advertisement in Canada to try to find a caregiver in Canada before looking for a foreign caregiver.
If you meet these requirements you can submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada and if your application is approved you will be able to apply for a work permit for your foreign caregiver.
You should also note that once your caregiver is in Canada you must comply with all the requirements of the Ontario Employment Standards Act that sets out the rights that employees have including minimum wage, overtime pay, public holidays, severence pay, and various kinds of leave such as pregnancy leave, medical leave, and so on.
3- What costs are associated with hiring a caregiver?
The process of hiring a caregiver can be complex as described above. It also requires payment of at least the following costs:
- Employer Compliance fee: $230
- Labour Market Impact Assessment application fee: $1000 (this is waived if your total family income is below $150,000)
- Advertising costs: there may be some costs associated with advertising for 4 weeks before we can submit the application (this is one of the trickiest parts of the application)
- Work permit application fees: $155
- If biometrics are required: $85
- Transportation costs for the caregiver to travel to Canada for your caregiver
- rivate health insurance for the first three months before your caregiver becomes eligible for health insurance in Ontario (this will differ in other provinces)
- Work place safety insurance for your nanny as a monthly premium
You should also note that you are required to provide compensation for your caregiver at the prevailing wage in the area you live. For example, the median wage in Toronto is $14 per hour and you will have to offer the same to a caregiver you wish to employ in Toronto.
Given the complexity of the process and costs involved you should speak with a specialized immigration lawyer to evaluate your chances and create the best path for bringing a caregiver for your family to Canada.
We would like to hear from your feedback. Please send any immigration or citizenship questions that you would like addressed in future articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zeynab Ziaie is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a lawyer licensed to practice in Ontario and New York. Her legal practice focuses on immigration and business law. She often works with clients to find suitable solutions in complex immigration and citizenship cases and represents clients at all levels of court.