How to Apply for a Work Visa in Canada as a Nurse

November 13, 2022


  • Robynn Farrell

Working in Canada is a popular choice amongst nurses for many reasons. The incredible work benefits, attractive salaries, job opportunities and of course the chance to get Canadian permanent residency.

As COVID-19 continues to be a major concern globally, Canada needs more healthcare and essential services workers, so much so that Canada has recently announced that it would be launching 6 new immigration programs to help experienced healthcare workers find a pathway to permanent residency in Canada.

The Government will be accepting 90,000 applications from healthcare and essential workers with Canadian work experience as well as international graduates from Canadian institutions under three programs as well as an unlimited amount of French-speaking and bilingual applicants.

This article will take you through the application process of how to apply for a work visa in Canada as a nurse as well as touch on some of the many benefits that await you when you choose Canada as your new home.

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit as a Nurseafrican american female nurses wearing protective masks | How to Apply for a Work Visa in Canada as a Nurse

Nurse, particularly registered nurses, continues to remain one of the most in-demand professions in Canada. The job prospects over the next three years are rated as fair to good according to JobBank, with an estimated 191,100 new job openings over the next 10 years.

With this more than positive job outlook on the horizon, let us take a look at how you can apply for a work visa in Canada as a nurse.

The Visa Application Process

Step 1. Are You Eligible?

This is perhaps the most important part of your Canadian work visa application. Knowing which visas and programs you qualify for is the best starting point.

However, no matter which visa you want to apply for, you will need to meet the following requirements:

Eligibility Requirements for All Applicants

  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires;
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home;
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate);
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security;
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed;
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions;
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

It’s not only important to look at which programs or visas you qualify for but where your occupation is most in demand.

Step 2. Choose Your Destination Wisely

map of Canada with red map pin | How to Apply for a Work Visa in Canada as a Nurse

Many skilled workers are unaware that the province or territory that they choose to settle in can have a significant impact on the likelihood of finding a job in Canada and indirectly their chances of obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

For instance, nurses are particularly in demand in provinces such as British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick as well as Newfoundland and Labrador as they have specific immigration programs aimed at tackling the current labour gap that Canada has been experiencing.

Each province has its own set of labour needs specific to its economy.

British Columbia

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program offers permanent residency in Canada to eligible registered and psychiatric nurses as well as nurse practitioners with job offers in the province through the Healthcare Professional Stream.

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program offers permanent residency in Canada to eligible registered and licensed practical nurses with job offers in the province through the Skilled Worker Stream.

Newfoundland & Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador PNP offers permanent residency in Canada to eligible registered and licensed practical nurses as well as nurse practitioners under the In demand occupations priority skills stream. Registered and licensed practical nurses can also apply to immigrate to Canada through the Skilled Workers stream.

Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia PNP offers permanent residency in Canada to eligible registered and licensed practical nurses under the Nova Scotia Demand Express Entry stream whilst nurses aides can apply for permanent residency through the Occupations In Demand stream.

If you are in the process of waiting for your permanent residency to be approved and need to start working in Canada sooner, you will need to apply for a temporary Canadian work visa.


If you intend on applying to work in any of the following provinces or territories as a registered nurse, you will need to register with the regional regulatory board:

But what if you do not qualify for permanent residency through one of these programs?

Step 3. Apply for a Job in Canadatop view of man typing on laptop | How to Apply for a Work Visa in Canada as a Nurse

The next best step is to get work in Canada as a nurse. You will be able to find various job opportunities on the Canadian Job website, JobBank, as well as various other sites such as Indeed, Workopolis or Monster.

Once you have a job offer you will need to apply for an employer-specific work permit.

Step 4. Gather Your Supporting Documents

Now that you know which program or visa you qualify for and you have started the application process, it is time to start preparing for the next step in the process. While processing your visa application, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may request some supporting documents to prove that the information provided on your application is valid.

Top Tip: When gathering your supporting documents start with those that have the longest wait time and don’t have an expiry date and leave those that have an expiry date until last. The last thing that you want is to gather documents only to have it expire once it is requested.

Remember, your documents will need to be submitted in either English or French. If it is in any other language it will need to be translated by an official translator.

Step 5. Submit Your Application

Now that you have everything you need to complete your application you can get ready to complete and submit your application. It is recommended that you submit your application online to cut down on processing times.

Be sure that you have access to a scanner or camera to upload your supporting documents as well as a valid credit card or debit card to pay for your work visa application fee, which currently costs $155.

What Benefits do Nurses Get in Canada?

Canada values its healthcare professionals and it shows. Here are some of the fantastic work benefits that you and your family can look forward to when you immigrate to Canada as a nurse in 2021.

  • Extended health care such as prescription drugs, vision care, dental;
  • Semi-private hospitalization;
  • Life insurance;
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance;
  • Short and long term disability benefits;
  • Pension plan;
  • Health and wellness programs;
  • Counselling services;
  • Paid vacation and holidays.

Ready to take the next step towards a new career in Canada?

If you are interested in applying for a work visa in Canada as a nurse and are not sure if you are eligible or and afraid that you may risk your chances of a successful application, the best option is to enlist the services of immigration professionals to help you.