If you are a nurse and looking to migrate to Canada, there are so many option available to you. The interesting thing is that the covid pandemic has exacerbated the need for healthcare workers (including nurses) in Canada. So, since March 2020, the federal and provincial governments have been introducing different programs to encourage more nurses to come into the labour force. In this article, we will share tips on how you can migrate to Canada as a nurse.
As you go through the immigration pathways we will share below, keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. There are more more than 100 economic immigration programs alone. And because nursing is considered “skilled work”, nurses may be eligible for any program that has “skilled work” as a requirement.
NOC Code and Skill Level for Nurses
Nursing falls into one of two categories in the Canadian government’s National Occupation Classification (NOC).
- Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses fall under NOC skill level A and the code is NOC 3012.
- Licenced practical nurses, NOC 3233, fall under skill level B.
These codes allow you to determine the following:
- the immigration programs you are eligible for,
- other criteria you must meet for a particular program, and
- whether you would receive invitation to apply in a given provincial immigration draw.
Express Entry Immigration Pathways for Nurses
As a nurse, you may be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and / or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). These two federal immigration programs fall under the Express Entry system.
Express Entry is an online system that manages immigration applications for the federal government. Potential immigrants submit their profiles to the system and get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The points are determined by the following:
- skilled work experience,
- education, and
- official language ability, among other factors.
The highest-scoring candidates get invited to apply for permanent residence in bi-weekly Express Entry draws.
The draws for CEC and FSWP candidates were paused during the pandemic but they would return in July 2022.
The FSWP requires an applicant to have at least one year of continuous work experience within the past 10 years in a skilled occupation. The work experience may have been completed abroad. An FSWP applicant also must score a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French on all four language competencies (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). In addition, potential immigrants must score at least 67/100 on the six-factor test that assesses candidates’ education level, language skills, and whether they have a job in Canada.
The CEC requires one year of skilled work experience within the last three years. The work experience must have been completed in Canada. People applying with work experience at NOC 0 or A skill level (such as registered nurses) must have at least a CLB 7. Those applying with NOC skill level B experience need a CLB 5.
Please note that neither program requires a person to have a job offer, but having one may increase your likelihood to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
To learn more about this route, read our previous post on how to migrate to Canada as a nurse.
Provincial Nominee Program
The provinces can nominate certain candidates through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Some PNPs have programs dedicated specifically to nurses while others just require skilled work experience.
Multiple provinces have more than one program that welcomes nurses. Sometimes PNPs draw candidates from the Express Entry system and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination. If you receive nomination from any province, you will get additional 600 CRS points which will be added to your Express Entry score. This point puts you in a better position to be invited to apply for permanent residence.
Quebec operates its own immigration system. While Canada still has the final say on Quebec immigration applications, certain programs like the PNP and Express Entry are not available in Quebec. However, Quebec offers its Regular Skilled Worker Program and the Quebec Experience Program. Nurses may be eligible for either of these programs. Both of these programs require the workers to have a working knowledge of the French language.
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