A foreign national can be sponsored as a nanny (live in caregiver) via Canada’s Live in Caregiver Program and must meet both the requirements outlined by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada AND Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Under this program, a caregiver must provide at least 30 hours a week of care to:
In order to be hired, your employer needs to apply to HRSDC or Service Canada (SC) to have the job offer reviewed. The purpose for this evaluation is to check that the job offer adheres to the provincial requirements, as well as to make sure there are presently not enough Canadians or permanent residents available to work as live-in caregivers in Canada. Your employer must also receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC/SC. You will need a copy of this positive LMO when you apply for the work permit.
You and your employer are required by law to sign an employment contract. This contract must be the same one that was submitted to the HRSDC/SC. Any contract amendments after submission must be explained (e.g., change of start date).
The contract needs to show that all of the requirements for the program have been met.
The contract must also state the mandatory employer-paid benefits, which include: transportation to Canada from your country of residence to the location of your job in Canada; medical insurance coverage provided from the date of your arrival until you are eligible for provincial health insurance; workplace safety insurance coverage for the duration of employment; and payment of all recruitment fees, if a recruiter or an agency was used.
We will provide you with a contract template to simplify the process. Sticking to the template is advisable, as it will reduce the chances of delays in the processing of the application.
You must have completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school education (secondary school). This is generally 12 years of basic education, but because there are different school systems in each Canadian province, it can differ – we will inform you if you have what is needed.
You need to have worked for at least a year in a caregiving-related occupation; 6 months of this experience needs to be with the same employer. The work experience must have been achieved within 3 years prior to filing the application. If you have training, it must have been done in a classroom setting as a full-time student. Related studies include childhood education, geriatric care, first aid, etc.
You will need to apply for an initial live-in caregiver work agreement and will need to present this letter to the officer at the Border Services after your visa approval.
In most cases, employers are required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire foreign workers (see exemptions including NAFTA and GATS). In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.
LMIA applications should show the following:
The positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one year if granted.
LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.
There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.
The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above are considered high-wage. Depending on whether a prospective employee is classified as high-wage or low-wage, certain specific provisions apply.
Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers must submit transition plans along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. High-wage workers are those earning above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in specified region. The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the program. This entails that they are using the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labour needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available, ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.
Certain occupations in Quebec are “facilitated”, meaning that local recruitment efforts do not need to be performed by employers as part of their applications to hire temporary foreign workers for any of the facilitated occupations.
Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). They must, however, follow a different set of guidelines.
To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), while ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs, the Government of Canada has introduced a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Furthermore, certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. This cap will be phased in over 2015 and 2016 in order to provide employers who are above the 10 percent cap time to transition and adjust accordingly.
Employers offering a wage that is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage must:
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to skilled trades positions where the wage offered is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage. These positions are essential to the development of major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, and are therefore considered vital to Canadian economic growth.
|7202||Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations|
|7204||Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades|
|7205||Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers|
|7301||Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades|
|7302||Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews|
|8211||Supervisors, logging and forestry|
|8221||Supervisors, mining and quarrying|
|8222||Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services|
|8241||Logging machinery operators|
|8252||Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers|
|9211||Supervisors, mineral and metal processing|
|9212||Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities|
|9214||Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing|
|9231||Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing|
|9241||Power engineers and power systems operators|
|9243||Water and waste treatment plant operators|
|7231||Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors|
|7233||Sheet metal workers|
|7235||Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters|
|7237||Welders and related machine operators|
|7241||Electricians (except industrial and power system)|
|7243||Power system electricians|
|7244||Electrical power line and cable workers|
|7245||Telecommunications line and cable workers|
|7246||Telecommunications installation and repair workers|
|7252||Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers|
|7311||Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics|
|7312||Heavy-duty equipment mechanics|
|7313||Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics|
|7315||Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors|
|7318||Elevator constructors and mechanics|
|7372||Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction|
|7373||Water well drillers|
|8231||Underground production and development miners|
|8232||Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers|
|9232||Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators|
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the highest-paid occupations that offer wages in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians in a given province or territory where the job is located. This wage level indicated that a temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled in their occupation, and that those skills are difficult to find in the Canadian labour market.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$42.53|
|Prince Edward Island||$35.00|
The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers requesting temporary foreign workers for a short duration, defined as 120 calendar days or less, in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage. Positions falling under this category include those related to repairs or manufacturing equipment and warranting work.
After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer should send a copy to their identified foreign worker. The positive LMIA must be included in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit
A single LMIA can be issued for one or multiple employees. In the case of multiple employees, the LMIA will only be issued to employees who will be filling identical positions as identified by the Canadian National Occupation Classification.
There are several instances where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to secure a LMIA. For more information, please visit the LMIA Exempt Work Permit page.
Employers must advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before applying for a LMIA. Towards this end, employers are required to prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods in addition to having posted an advertisement on the Canada Job Bank. Employers must focus advertising efforts on groups of Canadians who are under-represented, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities.
Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of CAD $1,000 for each request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
English and French are the only languages that can be determined as job requirements, both for LMIAs and for job vacancy advertisements, unless the employer can prove that another language is otherwise required for the position.
Canadian Employers usually require a positive LMIA outcome in order to hire temporary foreign workers. There are several cases, however, where the need for a LMIA may be waived.
Canada is a party to a number of international agreements that facilitate the entry of foreign workers. Admission of foreign workers under these agreements is considered of significant benefit to Canada and, as such, does not require a LMIA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada-Chile FTA, Canada-Peru FTA, Canada-Columbia FTA are example of this case.
Visit the NAFTA Work Permit section for more information on how to obtain a Work Permit under NAFTA.
Canada is a participant in a number of programs for international youth exchange. Such programs include the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa, Student Co-op programs, Young Professionals programs, and teacher exchange programs. These programs are exempt from the need for a LMIA.
The need for a LMIA for religious workers will vary depending on the kind of work to be done in Canada. A foreign national may work in Canada without a LMIA when the main duties are “spiritual”.
This includes researchers, guest lecturers, and visiting professors.
Workers nominated by a province for permanent residence and who have obtained a job offer in that province may be exempt from the need for a LMIA.
Note: Being exempt from obtaining a LMIA does not mean the individual is exempt from obtaining a work permit. All streams on the LMIA exemption list still require the individual to obtain a work permit to work in Canada legally.
Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American and Mexican citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when applying for a temporary Work Permit in Canada.
Work Permits under the provisions of NAFTA do not usually require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Although LMIA-exempt, workers and employers who use the NAFTA program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada.
US citizens do not require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada, but citizens of Mexico require one.
A NAFTA Professional must be qualified to work in one of approximately 60 targeted professions (see below). Depending on his or her profession, an applicant may be required to provide educational credentials and/or proof of work experience in the field.
NAFTA Professionals must have pre-arranged employment in Canada in an occupation that matches their qualifications. Individuals who wish to perform self-employed work in Canada are not eligible for this category.
Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)
Technical Publications Writer
Urban Planner (including Geographer)
Agriculturist (including Agronomist)
Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico & US)
Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)
Computer Systems Analyst
Disaster relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
Lawyer (including Notary in the Province of Quebec)
Mathematician (including Statistician)
Range Manager/ Range Conservationalist
Research Assistant (post-secondary educational institution)
Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)
Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States)
Physician (teaching or research only)
International students with a valid study permit may work while studying in Canada without a work permit. Spouses/Common-law partners of foreign students can also work in Canada while their spouse is studying. The spouse can apply for an Open Work Permit which allows them to work in any job without restriction.
Note: International students must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements
Note: International students must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements
Foreign students may qualify to work off-campus without a work permit. This will allow them to:
In order to be eligible to work off campus, international students must:
Note: International students in Canada must stop working on the day they no longer meet the above eligibility requirements
The following international students are not eligible to work off-campus:
Students working as graduate , research or teaching assistants may work off campus a locations related to their research grants. These locations must have a formal association or affiliation with he learning institution. This may include hospitals, clinics and research institutes.
International students pursuing a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada that requires a mandatory work placement or internship must apply for a co-op work permit in addition to a Canadian Study Permit.
Once an international student graduates, they can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit which is an Open Work Permit, allowing them to work in ANY job, without restrictions. An LMIA or a confirmation of job offer are not needed to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit.
In order to be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit you must:
There are several occupations and situations where a foreigner is allowed to work without a work permit.
An individual who is eligible to work without a work permit may still require a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada on a temporary basis.
In addition, one should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance into Canada.
Professional or amateur athletes may travel to Canada to participate in sports activities or events in Canada either individually or as part of a team. Likewise, foreign coaches and trainers of foreign athletes, as well as other essential team members, may travel to Canada to participate in events.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) gives the following examples of individuals who may be eligible under this exemption:
The spouses of professional athletes are eligible for a LMIA exempt work permit for their time in Canada.
Accredited representatives and advisors who are assisting in the investigation of an aviation accident or incident may do so without securing a work permit. The investigation should be conducted under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.
There are a number of reasons why an individual may come to Canada as a business visitor, including:
The Business Visitor category facilitates entry for individuals (without a work permit) who engage in business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour market. Individuals who plan to enter the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit. In addition, a Business Visitor may still require a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization)to enter Canada on a temporary basis.
There are a number of subdivisions under this category, but all business visitors must meet the following general criteria:
When travelling to Canada, a business visitors should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance as a business visitor.
Business visitors may fall into the following sub-categories:
After Sales Service
After-sales service providers may come to Canada to repair, service, supervise installers, and set up and test commercial or industrial equipment. Such services must be detailed in the contract of sale for the equipment in Canada. Individuals coming to Canada to train prospective users or maintenance staff in the operation of specialized equipment may also fall under this category.
Board of Directors Meetings
Members of a board of directors who must enter Canada to attend a meeting are eligible to do so as business visitors. Though these individuals may be remunerated for their time in Canada, this does not constitute entry into the Canadian labour market.
Employees of Short-Term Temporary Residents
Individuals who are employed in a personal capacity, on a full-time basis, by temporary residents in Canada may be considered business visitors. An example of professions that may be eligible under this category include domestic servants, personal assistants or live-in caregivers. If the short-term temporary resident, and subsequently their employee(s), extends their stay past 6 months, a Labour Market Opinion and Work Permit may need to be secured for the employee(s).
Employees of Foreign Companies Contracting Canadian Companies
Situations arise in which foreign companies contract Canadian companies to provide services in Canada. In such a situation, the foreign company may wish to send one or more employees to Canada to ensure that the work is being carried out in a way that pleases the foreign company.
If an employee of a foreign company is sent to Canada for this purpose, they may be considered a business visitor provided they fulfill the following criteria:
A business visitor in this category may remain in Canada for up to two years.
Flight operations and cabin safety inspectors may inspect commercial international flights without needing a work permit. Inspectors should be employed by a recognized aeronautical authority and hold valid documentation attesting to this fact.
An individual who preaches, oversees religious services, or provides spiritual counselling as a profession may work in Canada without a work permit. Individuals may be ordained ministers, laypeople, or members of a religious order. It is not mandatory that the temporary worker be part of or share the beliefs of the particular religious community where they will work. The primary duties of the temporary worker should reflect a particular religious objective, such as providing religious instruction or promoting a particular faith.
Individuals seeking entry to Canada under this exemption should provide documentation attesting to the following:
Persons who will be conducting charitable or religious work in Canada require a work permit; however, that permit is exempt from the Labour Market impact Assessment (LMIA) process.
This category covers individuals who come to Canada to organize a convention or conference, as well as the administrative support staff of the organizing committee. These events may be corporate meetings, trade shows, exhibitions, etc. Hands-on service providers, such as audio-visual specialists, are not included in this category.
Convention organizers who have been hired to perform work for a Canadian event are not eligible to work without a work permit. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) defines a ‘Canadian event’ as one that is held by an organization located and actively doing business in Canada.
Individuals attending conferences and meetings are considered business visitors and are exempt from the requirement for a work permit.
Crew members do not need a work permit if they are working on a means of transportation that is foreign-owned, not registered in Canada, and engaged primarily in international transportation. They may work in an operation, maintenance, or passenger service capacity. Laws governing work conducted by crews on different modes of transportation vary greatly. As such, it is important to make sure that one’s work will in fact be eligible for a work permit exemption before coming to Canada.
Workers who will enter Canada to provide services in times of emergency may do so without a work permit. The purpose of their work should be preserving life and property in the face of natural disasters or commercial accidents.
Canada has specifically entered into agreements with the United States to facilitate the movement of emergency aid workers across the border between the two countries. These workers may be doctors or medical teams as well as appraisers and foreign insurance adjusters.
Foreign professors and researchers may need to enter Canada in order to evaluate theses and projects conducted by their students. In this case, they may do so without obtaining a work permit.
Experts who must enter Canada in order to conduct surveys or analyses that will be used as evidence, or who will testify as expert witnesses before a regulatory body or court of law, may do so without requiring a work permit.
Foreign representatives, as well as their personal staff and family members, may work in Canada without a work permit. Foreign representatives should be accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Diplomatic representatives to United Nations offices in Canada are also covered by this exception.
Family members of foreign representatives must receive a ‘no objection letter’ by the Protocol Department of DFAIT in order to work without a work permit.
Foreign health care students studying at foreign institutions may participate in clinical clerkships or short-term practicums in Canada without obtaining work permits. Students may be studying in fields such as medicine, nursing, medical technology and occupational and physical therapy. Such practicums should be unpaid and last no more than four months. Foreign health care students who will be remunerated for their work, or who will spend more than four months in Canada, will require a work permit.
Judges, referees, etc may come to Canada to participate in international amateur sports, artistic, agricultural or cultural events and competitions.
Amateur sports competitions should be organized by an international amateur sport organization and should be hosted by a Canadian organization. In this case, amateur is defined as a competition in which athletes are not paid to compete. Judges, referees and similar officials who will participate in professional sports competitions must receive a positive LMIA and work permit.
Military and civilian personnel in Canada under the auspices of the Visiting Forces Act may work and study without permits. The families of these individuals are also covered by these exemptions.
In addition, military personnel are exempt from requirements for a passport, from a temporary resident visa, and from foreign national medical examinations. Civilians and family members are still required to obtain these documents, if necessary.
News reporters and their crews who come to Canada in order to report on events in the country may do so without a work permit. These can include journalists, provided the company they work for is not Canadian. However, this does not include managerial or clerical personnel unless these individuals are covering special events that will last for six months or less.
Generally speaking, media crews who come to Canada to produce travelogues, documentaries, etc are required to secure work permits. However, such decisions are left to the discretion of the Canadian Visa Officer reviewing their application.
Many foreign performing artists may work in Canada without a work permit. However, some types of performers/performances require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and Work Permit.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) has outlined some common performers/performances and their immigration requirements:
|Entry Without a Work Permit||Work Permit and LMIA Required|
|Foreign-based musical and theatrical individuals and groups and their essential crew, working outside bars and restaurants||Bands performing at bars, pubs, restaurants, etc|
|Street performers (buskers), DJs working outside a bar, restaurant or similar establishment||Actors, singers, crew, etc in Canadian theatrical productions, shows, circuses|
|A foreign or traveling circus||Any individual involved in making films, TV, internet or radio broadcasts|
|Guest artists (not employed) within a Canadian performance group for a time-limited engagement||Any individual who will be in an employment relationship with the organization or business contracting for their services in Canada|
|Persons performing at a private event, such as a wedding||A performer in a Canadian-based production or show|
|Artists attending or working at a showcase/workshop; which may include competing, judging competitors, demonstrating their skill, holding a class related to the showcase/workshop||Rodeo performers or side show workers, such as rodeo clowns and announcers, horsemanship or trick riding displays, ‘half-time acts’ and other specialty act entertainers|
|Visual artists creating or displaying their own work (typically for no more than 5 days)|
|Rodeo contestants, such as bronc-riders, steer-ropers, barrel racers|
In addition to the aforementioned scenarios, certain performers may work in Canada without a work permit under different sub-categories. They are:
Guest artists who have been invited to perform with a Canadian group are covered under this exception as long as their invitation is for a ‘time-limited engagement’. For the purposes of immigration, this time limit is usually no more than two weeks, though flexibility is permitted. A guest artist who is invited to rehearse and perform for a longer duration of time, such as a performance season, will require a LMIA and work permit.
In order to work without a work permit, a performing artist should not enter into an employment situation in Canada. That is, they should not be the long-term employee of a Canadian organization, individual, or establishment.
Guest speakers at events, commercial speakers and seminar leaders can present in Canada without needing a work permit. For the purposes of this exemption, ‘seminar’ is defined as a small class or intensive course of study no longer than five days.
Commercial speakers in this category will have a vested interest in the event in which they are speaking. Usually, this means that they will rent a commercial space, advertise for the event, charge admission, etc. Commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian entity must secure a LMIA and work permit for their time in Canada.
* The IEC program officially opened on November 3rd, 2017 for the 2018 period. Get into the pool now while there are still spots available!
Citizens of specific countries with a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada who are between 18 and 35 years old can get an Open Work Permit to work in Canada. See the list of countries here
The IEC program is composed of three categories:
Eligible candidates must submit an IEC profile to express interest in the IEC program under one (or more) of the three categories, if they are eligible. All profiles are placed into the appropriate category pool(s) and candidates are randomly selected during scheduled “Rounds” of invitations. Each country has a specific schedule of when Invitation Rounds are being held.
Invitations to Apply (ITA) are issued in the following order of priority:
When a candidate is selected, they are given an Invitation to Apply (ITA) at which point they have 10 days to accept the invitation. Once a candidates accepts an ITA, they have 20 days to apply for a work permit. It is important to submit a duly completed application with all accompanying evidence as required. Failure to do so will result in refusal, and you must start the whole process over again. When an application is refused, you will have to wait to the following year to be selected again. Retain our firm to ensure your application is prepared properly and not refused. We help candidates in 90+ countries with their immigration applications.
If the application is successful, a letter of introduction (LOI) will be issued. This letter is to be presented upon arrival at a Port of Entry (such as an international airport) in Canada, whereupon a work permit will be issued.
Although no work permit extensions are authorized under the IEC program, there are certain scenarios that allow participants to increase the validity of an IEC work permit.