How to immigrate to Canada as a nurse in 2022

May 15, 2022

The pandemic has exacerbated the need for nurses in Canada. One of the ways to fill job vacancies in the industry is to offer pathways to permanent residency for foreign nurses.

Canada was experiencing nursing shortages even before the pandemic. Since COVID-19 swept the world in March 2020, the federal and provincial governments have been adding programs to encourage more nurses to come into the labour force.

Ontario, for example, is planning to invest $342 million over the next five years to hire more than 13,000 healthcare workers to the province. BC has promised to provide up to $16,000 to about 1,500 internationally educated nurses to cover application fees, English language tests, and educational upgrading. Also, Quebec is investing $65 million to recruit and train nearly 1,000 nurses from francophone countries.

With all these incentives for nurses, you may be wondering how you can move your career to Canada. Or if you are in Canada already, you might want to learn which immigration programs are available to you.

Before we list some of the main immigration pathways for nurses, it is good to keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. Canada has more than 100 economic immigration programs alone. Because nursing is oftentimes considered “skilled work” nurses may be eligible for just about any program that has “skilled work” as a requirement.

NOC code and skill level are important for eligibility
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 and skill levels are important in determining which immigration programs you are eligible for, what other criteria you must meet for a particular program, and whether you were invited to apply in a given provincial immigration draw. Keep these in mind as you learn more about Canadian immigration programs for nurses.

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