“Is it possible to immigrate to Canada as a nurse?”
Yes. Nurses are an integral part of Canada’s healthcare system. These workers keep hospitals running and provide medical attention to Canadians in need. However, the demand for medical services has exceeded the supply of available medical staff in recent years.
For example, many hospital wards in the country temporarily closed due to staffing shortages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Statistics Canada survey also discovered that approximately 1 in 4 Canadian nurses planned to change jobs within the next three years.
All these factors demonstrate that Canada is in desperate need of more healthcare workers. Canada’s government has responded to this shortage by offering more immigration routes to encourage foreign nurses to come to Canada.
In this guide, we will examine five ways to immigrate to Canada as a nurse.
Express Entry for Nurses: 1-year full-time work exp. in a skilled occupation in the last 10 years & minimum CLB 7 in English/French proficiency required.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) for Nurses: Several provinces offer specific immigration programs for nurses. Requirements vary, so candidates should check the specific criteria of each PNP.
Caregiver Immigration Pilots: Two caregiver pilot programs are available – the Home Support Worker Pilot Program (HSWP) and the Home Child Care Provider Program (HCCP). Candidates can apply for a temporary work permit, gain one year of work experience, and then apply for permanent residency. French language skills are not mandatory.
Quebec Skilled Worker Immigration: Quebec offers its Regular Skilled Worker Program and the Quebec Experience Program. French language skills are required for immigration to Quebec.
Study Permit: Nurses can immigrate by studying in Canada, obtaining a study permit, studying at a Canadian institution, applying for a post-graduate work permit, gaining work experience as a nurse, and increasing the chances of immigration through Express Entry programs.
Job Categories for Nurses in Canada: Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) / Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), and Caregivers.
Earnings for Nurses in Canada: Nurses are compensated well in Canada, with an average hourly rate of $38.53.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Canada?
Nurses are compensated relatively well in Canada. Their pay varies depending on the exact province and city they are working in. However, most registered nurses can expect to make around $38.53 per hour in Canada.
This high pay rate is one of the main reasons why many foreign medical professionals pursue immigration to Canada as a nurse.
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Nursing Jobs in Canada
Nurse jobs in Canada generally fall into four broad categories. These are:
Registered Nurse (RN)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
Registered Nurse (RN)
This job falls under National Occupational Classification(NOC) TEER Code 31301 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. You must possess a bachelor’s degree and pass a National Council Licensure Examination to work as a Registered Nurse in Canada.
This job falls under NOC TEER 32101 – Licensed practical nurses. You will need a 2-year or 3-year diploma to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse/vocational nurse.
Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)
This job also falls under NOC TEER 32101 – Licensed practical nurses, as it is identical to LPN/LVN. “Registered Practical Nurse” is the title for LPN/LVN working in Ontario and Quebec.
This job falls under NOC TEER Code 44101. It refers to workers who care for seniors or people with medical conditions. There are no specific education requirements to work as a caregiver. However, you must possess hands-on experience.
Candidates applying to either program will be assigned points under a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). These points are awarded based on factors such as work experience, education, age, and language proficiency.
If you meet the minimum eligibility requirements under the Express Entry System, you will be placed in a pool of candidates. If your CRS points are higher than the minimum points threshold for a candidate draw, you will be offered permanent resident status. This immigration route is popular among people seeking registered nurse immigration to Canada.
Federal Skilled Worker Program Requirements
You need to possess at least one year of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation in the last ten years to qualify for the FSWP.
You must also score a minimum of CLB 7 on your English or French language proficiency exam.
Canadian Experience Class Requirements
You must possess at least one year of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation in the last three years to qualify for the CEC.
If this work experience is in occupations that fall under NOC TEER 0, 1 or 2, you will need to score a minimum of CLB 7 in your language proficiency exam.
If your work experience is in occupations under NOC TEER 3 or TEER 4, you must score a minimum of CLB 5.
2. Provincial Nominee Programs for Nurses
Many Canadian provinces offer their own immigration programs for foreign nurses. Some of these programs operate independently as provincial programs, while others may be tied to the Federal Express Entry Programs.
Some of these provincial nominee programs include:
The caregiver pilots allow foreign workers to come to Canada and work as nannies and personal attendees. This Nanny Visa option is popular among people with experience working in nanny and caregiver roles.
Candidates can enter the country under the Caregiver Visa Canada and apply for a temporary work permit. They can then look for work in any caregiver role. Once they obtain one year of work experience (as of April 30, 2023) as caregivers, they can apply for permanent resident status.
If the caregiver already has a valid job offer when they reach Canada, they can apply for permanent residence directly without obtaining the one year of work experience mentioned above.
There are two Caregiver Immigration Pilot Programs available currently:
Quebec offers immigration options for nurses in Canada that are distinct from the other provincial nominee programs. Foreign nurses may be eligible to apply under the province’s Regular Skilled Worker Program or the Quebec Experience Program, both of which have distinct requirements.
It should be noted that nurses must possess French language skills to immigrate to Quebec under these programs.
Regular Skilled Worker Program
This immigration program works similarly to the Express Entry programs because it awards candidates points based on education, work experience, age, and other factors. Candidates are then chosen for Quebec immigration if their points exceed the threshold in the candidate selection draw.
Quebec Experience Program
The Quebec Experience Program is for nurses that have work experience or have completed their education in Quebec. They must be employed in the province at the time they apply for permanent residence status.
5. Study Permit
It is also possible to immigrate to Canada by completing your education in the country. There isn’t a dedicated Canada visa for nurses, but you can apply for a study permit and study at one of the country’s prestigious colleges and universities.
You can then apply for a Canadian post-graduate work permit and get work experience as a nurse in the country. This work experience will then give you an excellent chance to immigrate through the Federal Express Entry programs.
These are some of the best ways to immigrate to Canada as a nurse. You can contact our experts here if you need help choosing the right program based on your nursing background and work experience. Our skilled team led by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant understands each of these immigration routes and can guide you on the right path to take.