Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse in 2020
April 12, 2021
Quite possibly the most in-demand profession in Canada, and the world right now, is nurses. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a great number of countries just how ill prepared they are for a viral outbreak. While Canada has handled the crisis significantly better than nearly every country in the world, even we need more medical professionals, particularly nurses. Immigrating to Canada as a nurse will be in your best interest for a multitude of reasons, which we will look at shortly. Nurses are so highly in demand that there are no less than three major immigration programs which lay an easy to navigate pathway for nurses to immigrate to Canada. The Canadian Nurses Agency estimates a growing shortage of nurses in the country’s future, which means even higher demand. Let’s begin with a quick look over the steps required to practice once you arrive in Canada before we dig into the immigration process:
- STEP 1: have your credentials assessed (you will need this for your visa application anyway) by a recognized agency
- STEP 2: apply to the nursing regulatory body of the province or territory where you wish to live and work
- STEP 3: register with either the Canadian Nurses Association (CAN) or the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators (CCPNR)
- STEP 4: write the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) or Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE). This exam can only be written in Canada.
- STEP 5: Save lives, earn top dollar and have a great life
Life for Nurses in CanadaOne of the most in-demand, if not the most in-demand professions in Canada means compensation that is in relation to that demand. Registered Nurses earn an average of $78,815 a year in Canada. This varies depending on provinces, rural or urban and of course experience. Even though you will be very much in demand, you will not be overworked. Typically nurses will work 8-12 hour shifts and 36-40 hours a week. This means you could end up working three days on, four days off! Given that Canada already offers all of its residents and citizens free healthcare, you will be entitled to the same benefits. Further, you will have access to comprehensive insurance plans to cover all the things that aren’t by the national healthcare system for you and your family. Most hospitals in Canada provide childcare, so if you do have children you will be able to have them close by all the time. Just another way the hospital ensures you have peace of mind and can focus on your patients while at work Hospitals match your tax contributions, giving you massive tax savings.
Immigration OptionsThere are a number of ways to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, some are faster than others but require a more diligent approach. Others take more time but at the end of the day, if you have the qualifications, language ability and pass your CRNE, you shouldn’t have any problems obtaining permanent residency status in Canada.
Express Entry SystemNurses are classified as skill type A under the NOC. This means that they are eligible to apply as a skilled professional in the Federal Skilled Worker program. Your eligibility for this program is determined by:
- Skilled work experience - one year of continuous work or 1,560 hours in total
- language ability - your job will depend heavily on your ability to communicate effectively with patients, for this reason you will need to pass a Canadian Language Benchmark test and earn a minimum score of 7 in all four sections; reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- Qualifications - as we mentioned above, you will need to have your credentials assessed to show they are equivalent to a Canadian qualification.
- Eligible - you must be eligible to immigrate to Canada, this means you cannot have a criminal record, you must be in good health and you must have legal status in the country you are living in now.
Provincial Nomination ProgramYou can apply for a provincial nomination in one of two ways. ONE, create an expression of interest in a particular province that you wish to live and work in on your Express Entry profile. If the province deems your skills to line up with their demands, they will issue you with a provincial nomination, which will contribute 600 points out of the overall 1,200 points available on your CRS, rocketing you to the top of the pool of candidates. TWO, create a profile on the province you wish to live and work in on the government website and submit an expression of interest directly. If they are in need of your skills, they will invite you to apply directly to the province and will motivate your application of permanent residency to the Canadian government. The requirements of the PNP’s are very similar to the Express Entry eligibility requirements, sometimes not being as stringent. There are provinces with immigrations streams under their PNP’s dedicated to nurses who wish to live and work in the province, such as:
- Manitoba - rural in-demand stream,
- British Columbia - healthcare professional category,
- Nova Scotia - occupations in demand stream,
- New Brunswick - nursing resource strategy; and
- Yukon - Critical Impact Worker category.