Work experience requirement cut in half for applicants in Canada’s caregiver pilot programs

Edana Robitaille
Published: February 10, 2023

Speaking from Scarborough today, Members of Parliament Salma Zahid and Rechie Valdez announced that the amount of work experience in Canada required for a caregiver to qualify for permanent residence is being reduced from 24 to 12 months.

The change will take effect as of April 30, 2023, and is retrospective for caregivers who have already applied. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will confirm that applicants have the required amount of work experience.

Additionally, some spaces under the existing caregiver pathways have been reserved for caregivers who already have work experience in Canada from a previous work permit so that they are able to apply for permanent residence.

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IRCC expects that the change will have an impact on approximately 90% of applicants who are in processing for the caregiver programs.

Both pilot programs were launched in 2019 and are set to expire in June 2024. Nearly 1,600 caregivers and their family members have become permanent residents through the programs. In 2022 alone, nearly 1,100 caregivers and their family members became permanent residents through the two pilots.

“Caregivers are an important option for families in Canada and have played an instrumental role in the lives of many growing children, aging parents, and those who need additional specialized care,” said immigration minister Sean Fraser. “By reducing the work experience required in Canada to one year, more caregivers and their families will become eligible to transition to permanent residence sooner, meaning that they can settle down and start the next chapter of their lives here in Canada.”

Other eligibility criteria remain the same. Candidates for both programs must be able to demonstrate:

  • Language test results showing a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5;
  • One year of Canadian post-secondary education or the foreign equivalent; and
  • Pass an admissibility check (health, criminality, and security).

In terms of work experience, candidates must now be able to show:

  • work experience that falls under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 4411 or 4412
  • Work experience must be in one of these jobs, it cannot be a mix of both jobs
  • The candidate’s job matched the NOC job description and they completed most of the main duties
  • Full-time work is defined as at least 30 hours of paid work each week

Canada’s aging population

The 2021 census shows that there are 861,395 people living in Canada who are over the age of 85. There are a further 2.1 million between the ages of 75 and 85, many of whom live in senior's residences and care facilities. Data from 2016 shows there were 500,000 residents in long-term care.

Additionally, nearly nine million Canadians are expected to reach 65 by 2030. These factors combined mean that Canada needs more caregivers to support the needs of the population both now and in the near future.

There is also a need for more childcare as the majority of Canadian families are either single-parent or dual-income, meaning both parents are working outside the home. Many do not have family close by to help with childcare responsibilities and rely on daycare or private care in their homes.

To meet these needs Canada is continuing to hire professionals in the healthcare and social assistance sectors. The most recent labour force survey shows that over 7,000 immigrants were hired in January 2023 but there were still 131,800 job vacancies as of November 2022.

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