You can easily immigrate to Canada as a Nurse if you know the right pathway. Canadian immigration gives high priority to healthcare professionals and nurses are top of the list. In addition, internationally educated nurses have a lot of careers options in Canada to choose from that include:
- Clinical nurse,
- Registered nurses (RN),
- Community health nurse,
- Licensed practical nurses (LPN),
- Critical care nurse,
- Psychiatric nurses (RPN).
However, to immigrate to Canada as a nurse requires obtaining a license from the provincial government. Most importantly, there is no national registration/licensure process for nurses in Canada. Also, you must remember that each province has its own regulatory body and assessment process.
Understand Nursing in Canada
Nursing is a profession in Canada that includes three regulated nursing groups:
- Registered Nurse (RN) NOC group 3012,
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) NOC group 3233,
- Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) NOC group 3012.
Above all, only those professionals who are licensed by a nursing regulatory body, college, or association in one of the Canadian provinces where they intend to work can use the title “nurse.”
What is the process to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse?
Internationally-educated nurses (IENs) such as the Philippines, Nigeria, and India cannot apply for a license directly to the regulatory bodies in Canada. Because the IENs wishing to work in Canada or to apply for permanent residency, must go through the three steps as follow:
- Qualification assessment from NNAS
- Complete provincial assessment & write an exam
- Apply for work or to immigration program
You need to understand these three steps well because only then will you move to Canada as a nurse. So, now learn more about them and the method I have described in the next several paragraphs.
Qualification Assessment for Nurses
Internationally educated nurses (IEN) must launch an application with NNAS Canada (National Nursing Assessment Service). This application is critical if you wish to work or immigrate to Canada as a nurse (except in Quebec and the Territories).
The NNAS is responsible for verifying credentials for the IENs, comparing them to Canadian standards, provides a secure, centralized electronic repository for education and registration credentials. As a result, they issue an Advisory Report to the candidates, and then candidates pursue further steps to obtain a nursing license from Canadian provinces.
How do foreign Nurses apply to the NNAS assessment for Canada?
You must purchase the Main Application Order as the first NNAS application type. Next, choose one nursing group and one province when applying for. The application will remain active for up to 12 months after the submission. Moreover, if NNAS has not received all binding documents, your application will expire within that time frame. Thus, you may have to complete seven steps, such as:
- You must Create an online account
- Submit your proof of identity documents
- Fill & submit your Nursing Education form
- Submit your Nursing Registration form
- Fill & submit your Nursing Practice/Employment form
- Submit your Language Testing results
- Receive assessment results.
The NNAS’ application process aims to create an Advisory Report that includes an assessment of your educational background using Canadian standards and comparing them with current nursing requirements in the country.
Required documents for NNAS application
There are two forms that foreign nurses must submit directly to NNAS. Both forms must be notarized, along with copies of original documents (signed, dated, and stamped) with your signature. Do not send original identification documents; they won’t accept them.
Your documents must be in English or French; otherwise, translate them by a certified translator. Remember, the translator must submit the translated documents directly to NNAS.
Moreover, if you are already in Canada, notarized copies must be prepared by a notary public or a lawyer. Otherwise, if you are applying from outside of Canada, notarized copies must be prepared by a government-approved official. Above all, you must have a photo on one form of identification, and it must be current and not expired.
Fees for Foreign Nurses
For foreign candidates (nurses), Canada’s NNAS assessment fee is $650 to purchase the Main Application order for one province. Unlike, if you want to acquire an Advisory Report for another Canadian province, pay $55 additionally.
Provincial Assessment & Nursing Exam
Once you complete the NNAS process and win an advisory report for a specific province to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, contact the College of Registered Nurses (CRN) in that province. To practice nursing in your desired Canadian province, you must be registered and licensed to practice registered nursing with the CRN.
In addition, to get a nursing license from CRN, you will need to write an exam, it is not online, and you have to be there physically. Hence, you can easily apply for the CRN exam in your chosen province through your NNAS online account or by accessing the CRN site. A license (NCLEX®-RN) from the College of Registered Nurses will enable you to get employment in Canada.
Outcomes of CRN application
Once a Canadian provincial College of Registered Nurses (CRN) receives your application and documents, they review them. Afterward, the result could be:
- An eligibility letter (they may invite you to complete the process for RN licensure).
- A referral for a Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) Assessment.
- An eligibility letter to invite you to write the National Council Licensure Examination.
- A recommendation to pursue additional formal education.
Work & Immigration options for Nurses
Finally, after getting a nursing license, you can find a job or immigrate to Canada as a nurse by applying to a permanent residency program. The Canadian immigration program allows foreign nurses to immigrate. So, this is an opportunity for nurses looking for new career opportunities and better quality of life. Nurses and other health professionals have been in high demand in Canada as a result of the pandemic. There are tons of opportunities in Canada for professional nurses.
The fastest way to immigrate to Canada as a Nurse (Express Entry)
Of course, Federal Express entry is the fastest way to get Canadian PR, not only for other professionals but also for nurses. Interestingly, it has two major parts or programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Furthermore, the FSWP requires applicants to have a minimum of one year of continuous work experience in an occupation with NOC skill levels of 0, A, or B. Additionally, they must score at least 67/100 on a six-factor test that measures candidates’ education level, language skills, and whether they have jobs in Canada. Similarly, the FSWP candidates need a CLB 7 and NCLC 7 on language skills, speaking, reading, writing, and listening, and these are four factors.
Canadian PNP Programs for Nurses
There are many Canadian Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) for which nurses may qualify. For example:
- British Columbia Healthcare Stream,
- Saskatchewan immigration nominee program (SINP),
- New Brunswick Internationally Educated Nurses Program (IEN),
- Quebec’s Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSW).
Most importantly, many PNP programs are linked to the federal express entry system, and you can also opt to immigrate to Canada as a nurse. Successful candidates who receive a provincial nomination gain 600 points on their CRS score in the Express Entry pool. As a result, their chances to get Canadian permanent residency are obvious.
If you are immigrating as a nurse through Express Entry and already got a nursing license, it will take 12-months. Conversely, the complete process for nursing exam, licensing, and permanent residence will take 2 years.
The salary or income in Canada for nurses varies from province to province and the nature of work. For instance, in Alberta salary of a nurse ranges from $28 to $50.59/hour, unlike in British Columbia, nurses make $25 to $46/hour. So, on average registered nurse salary in Canada is between $24.04/hour and $48.00/hour.
Of course, like other professionals, foreign nurses can work and migrate to Canada even with family. In reality, Canada gives high priority to Nurses because they are the backbone of the healthcare sector. Hence, to work in Canada as a foreign-trained nurse, you must get a license from the provincial regulatory authority of nursing.
Immigration to Canada as a nurse is a rewarding way to start a new career and an amazing life in Canada. Regardless of the categories, nurses are highly paid in Canada, and the healthcare job market has many potentials for foreigners.
Many nurses from the Philippines and other countries are already working in Canada and settled there with families. However, thousands of foreign nurses want to work and immigrate to Canada, but they don’t know the right pathway. The reason is that the available information on the internet is very confusing, and foreign nurses cannot understand it.
Therefore, in this blog, I have addressed this problem and explained how to immigrate to Canada as a nurse from any country. I did not include any unnecessary details to keep this article to the point. Hence, relevant information and links are furnished to guide foreign-training nurses aspiring to move to Canada.