Hiring a Foreign Nanny - What You Need to Know

There's a dire need for child care in Canada. Many cities have shortages of up to forty percent of the required child care spaces, and there's no relief in sight.

It's understandable that many families might be considering hiring a foreign nanny or an au pair, but before you do, there are a few things you should know about the Canadian immigration system.

The Live In Caregiver Stream Is Closed

Canada used to have a special work permit stream called the "live in caregiver" stream, which made it easier for famlies to hire foreign nannies and care providers. Families looking to hire foregin care providers for their children now need to apply for a regular work permit, using the same process as any other employer.

It can be very difficult to get a work permit for a care provider through the regular work permit process, as there isn't a special provision for it, and every work permit is subject to the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) process, where you have to prove that there are no local residents or citizens who can do the job, and where the employer must pay a $1000 processing fee.

Even if your LMIA application process is successful, your nanny or au pair will need to complete the application process, which will include criminal record checks, and might include a medical assessment.

Nannies on Open Work Permits

In some cases, it may be possible to hire a nanny who is in Canada on an open work permit. These types of permits might include international youth mobility streams, the spouses of foreign workers who are doing skilled, technical or academic jobs, or people who are studying in Canada, and who are allowed to work while they do so.

It's important to note that not all of these people may be eligible to stay in Canada, and in some cases, the nanny you hire may be required to leave Canada at the end of her work permit.

Work Permits Are Required

It might seem as though there's a lot of paperwork and trouble involved in hiring a foreign nanny or au pair, and that's not a lie. However, it is a legal requirement that any foreigner in Canada who does any work - even taking care of children - must have a valid work permit in order to do so.

Anyone who works without a work permit may be subject to legal action, including removal (deportation), and there may also be penalties for employers.

It's never worth risking it, and if there's any doubt as to the legal status of the nanny or care provider you are planning to hire, ask to see their work permit. Make sure you have their SIN number for paying wages, and always pay wages into a bank account, rather than in cash.

Remember that anyone in Canada without legal status is also not covered by Canadian health care, and if they do need medical care, they could find themselves in a predicament.

It is tough to find good, reliable child care in Canada, but if you are thinking of going the route of hiring a foreign nanny, make sure you follow all the rules. Citizenship and Immigration Canada do have strict rules about what is and is not allowed, and you don't want to get into trouble by not following them.


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