How to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse from overseas

One thing the pandemic did was heighten the desire of many On how to immigrate to Canada as a nurse. It revealed how crippled the global healthcare industry was in the face of a medical emergency.

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Before the pandemic, there was already a low number of nurses in Canada. The government did all it could through federal and provincial programs to absorb local and foreign nurses into the labor force.

Take, for example, the province of Quebec is presently recruiting and training nearly a thousand nurses from francophone countries.

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse

The Ontario province isn’t exempt from all these. They plan to invest $342 million over the next five years to hire as many as 13,000 healthcare workers to the province.

You can’t see all of these benefits and do not want to Immigrate to Canada as a nurse. Before entering the immigration pathways for nurses, you must understand that this isn’t an exhaustive list.

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Before you think of how to Immigrate to Canada as a nurse, you ought to be a licensed nurse. Asides from this, you must prove your worth and display the same level of competence the nurses in Canada have.

Types of Nurses in Canada

In Canada, there are three types of nurses. They are: Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, and Licensed Practical Nurses. We will look at all of them.

Registered Nurses

Those who have completed their University degree in Nursing are the ones who can be known as General Registered Nurses.

Registered Psychiatric Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses are qualified to practice in Ontario upon completing their post-secondary diploma program.

How to Immigrate to Canada as a nurse: immigration option in Canada for nurses

They are:

  • Express Entry System
  • Provincial Nominee Programme
  • Quebec Skilled Worker

However, just before we go into detail explaining these three routes, you would first need to know your National Occupational Classification (NOC). To get this code, there are a series of steps that you have to follow.

Steps to Getting National Occupational Classification

Academic Classification

For you to practice as a nurse in Canada, there are certain academic classifications you have to fulfill.

As soon as it is out of the way, you will have to create an account with the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) . This process isn’t only compulsory if you wish to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, but also, it would cost you as much as 650 Canadian dollars to complete the assessment process.

Creation of an NNAS profile

At this stage, you will need identification proof which could be your birth certificate, driver’s license, or international passport.

Also, your nursing registration form needs to be included. By the way, NNAS wouldn’t accept a form that wasn’t sent by the licensing body. The IELTS exam results must be presented, too, whether your first language is French or English. This serves as proof of your proficiency.

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All of these documents must be available so the body, NNAS, can rubber stamp your application.

Application to Nursing Board

Once the assessment process conducted by the NNAS is done, you can now proceed to apply to the medical board of your chosen province. NNAS usually sends all of these files you provided during the assessment to the provincial regulatory bodies.

Based on the report NNAS gives, each territory can decide to confirm its international nursing skills and experience according to its standards. If you are successful, you will be called to begin your registration process with your chosen local nursing regulatory body.

Some of these regulatory bodies are:

  • British Columbia
  • British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals.
  • Alberta
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta
  • College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
  • Ontario
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia College of Nursing
  • Saskatchewan
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurse Association
  • Manitoba
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
  • Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba

Immigration Options for Nurses in Canada

Express Entry System

As someone who wants to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, you can qualify for this Federal Skills Workers Program if you meet specific criteria. More often than not, you will need to score at least 67 points out of an available 100 based on factors like academic credentials, age, work experience, and even language proficiency.

Quebec Skilled Worker

There is also the option of the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) if you score at least 50 points on the selection grid. You don’t need an IELTS score or even an Educational Credential Assessment.

Provincial Nominee Programme

This particular program is a partnership between the provincial and federal governments in Canada. Some PNP is open to those who are already in the Express Entry System, and some others would require some connection with the province.


Choosing to immigrate as a nurse in Canada has gotten a lot easier, especially now you have as many as three options to work as a nurse in a country like Canada.

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