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How to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse | Complete Guide

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse

Want to immigrate to Canada as a Nurse? It should come as no surprise that Canada is among the most advanced civilizations in the world in which one is able to pursue one’s chosen career. At the moment, nursing is one of the most sought-after professions in Canada.

It has been estimated that Canada will require as many as 60,000 registered nurses by the year 2020, and it is anticipated that this number will increase by a factor of two in the ten years to come.

If you have nursing training, you may be able to find work in Canada as a registered nurse, supervisor, allied primary health practitioner, licensed practical nurse, dental nurse, psychiatric nurse, or nurse aide.

You could earn approximately $41,438 per annum working as an experienced nurse aide in Canada, and it is possible to earn up to $128,700 working as an experienced registered nurse.

You must hold a valid nursing license from your home country in order to immigrate to Canada as a Nurse. In addition to that, you will be required to demonstrate that you are competent and meet the requirements necessary to perform duties at the same level as those performed by qualified nurses in Canada.

Different types of Nurses in Canada

There are different types of nurses in Canada, as well as roles that you can pursue if you are either considering a career change to that of a nurse or are already working in the profession but are interested in moving up in the ranks.

In order to assist you in narrowing down the best choice for your future in the healthcare industry, we have included an overview of the different types of nurses in Canada as well as the steps that need to be taken in order to become one below.

Registered Nurse (RN)

RNs can be found in every region of Canada. These specialized nurses have extensive expertise in a variety of subject areas, including clinical practice, critical thinking, and the application of research. RNs are responsible for a wide range of clinical and administrative responsibilities, including but not limited to aiding physicians, documenting medical histories, monitoring symptoms, dispensing medication, and carrying out diagnostic duties.


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RNs are responsible for the care of patients who have more complex needs and who are exposed to unpredictable scenarios across a wide variety of practice areas. These nurses have received generalist training and are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to assist patients suffering from any illness in any environment. Later on, in their careers, registered nurses (RNs) have the opportunity to specialize in a variety of fields.

To become a registered nurse (RN), you must:

  • Hold a four-year baccalaureate degree in nursing from a Canadian university or the international equivalent – typically a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BScN) or a Bachelor of Nursing degree (BN),
  • Meet the competence requirements of your province or territory’s regulatory body (in BC, for instance, nursing competencies are grouped into the categories of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, Self-Regulation, Knowledge-based Practice, Client-Focused Provision of Service, and Ethical Practice),
  • Pass the registration exam, and
  • Consent to a criminal record check.

The Canadian Nurses Association offers voluntary certification in 20 nursing areas to RNs. Certification can assist these types of nurses in maintaining high standards of care in their practices while also allowing them to concentrate on a particular area that employers recognize and value.

Across Canada, thousands of registered nurses (RNs) have earned certification in a variety of specialties (find below) that relate to patient age, health problem, diagnostic group, practice setting, type of care, or some combination of these.

The 20 specialties are as follows:

  1. Cardiovascular Nursing
  2. Community Health Nursing
  3. Critical Care Nursing
  4. Critical Care Pediatric Nursing
  5. Emergency Nursing
  6. Enterostomal Therapy Nursing
  7. Gastroenterology Nursing
  8. Gerontological Nursing
  9. Hospice Palliative Care Nursing
  10. Medical-Surgical Nursing
  11. Nephrology Nursing
  12. Neuroscience Nursing
  13. Occupational Health Nursing
  14. Oncology Nursing
  15. Orthopaedic Nursing
  16. PeriAnesthesia Nursing
  17. Perinatal Nursing
  18. Perioperative Nursing
  19. Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
  20. Rehabilitation Nursing

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Registered Practical Nurse (RPN)

These nurses coordinate their efforts with those of other members of the healthcare team. The majority are frontline workers who provide care for a diverse spectrum of patients at all times of their lives.

It’s possible that, depending on where you live, you’re wondering what the difference is between a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and a registered practical nurse (RPN). The only difference is in their names; in practice, they are all the same types of nurses. Every province in Canada uses LPNs, with the exception of Ontario. In Ontario, these types of nurses are referred to as RPNs. Despite this, their roles and responsibilities, in addition to the requirements they must meet, are the same.

LPNs and RPNs offer a wide range of services, including health promotion, acute care, long-term care, and palliative care. A few examples of specific responsibilities include providing patients and their families with information regarding their treatment plans, obtaining blood pressure measurements, changing bandages, and inserting catheters. Patients who have needs that are not as complex and whose diseases are stable and predictable are best served by these types of nurses.

LPNs and RPNs in Canada are required to pass the country’s national licensing exam before beginning a career in the healthcare industry.


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A two-year practical nursing diploma from an accredited college is required to become one of these types of nurses. The basic competencies within the LPN or RPN scope of practice and standards are the primary focus of education and professional practice for these types of nurses.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide patients with individualized, high-quality healthcare. They place a primary emphasis on educating, counseling, and providing support for the diagnostic therapy that they offer. The diagnosis of diseases, disorders, and conditions is included in the thorough assessment that NPs perform on their patients. They begin treatment by providing services such as healthcare management, therapeutic treatments, and the prescription of medications.

In addition, NPs place an emphasis on the management and prevention of health conditions. Their work may involve diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing drugs, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, and other similar activities. They might focus on one area of expertise while also working with a wide variety of client populations.

Although these various types of nurses do not take the place of doctors, their jobs are complementary, and they greatly bolster patients’ access to healthcare. They make it possible for doctors to devote more of their attention to the diagnosis and treatment of more complicated diseases thanks to the time they save.

NPs will typically have previous experience working as RNs; however, they will possess a more advanced degree from an accredited university and be registered with a governing organization. For reasons relating to public safety as well as to promote healthcare systems that are sustainable, this is a requirement in all of Canada’s provinces and territories.

For these types of nurses to register as and call themselves NPs, they must meet advanced requirements.

A master’s degree or an advanced nursing diploma is required to work as a nurse practitioner. NPs work in a wide range of settings and operate within a regulatory framework that is both adaptable and provides robust educational preparation in addition to stringent registration requirements and practice control.

The work that NPs do will be categorized in a variety of specialties or streams, depending on the region or territory in which it is performed. For instance, NPs in Ontario can specialize in basic healthcare, adult and pediatric care, as well as anesthesia. In British Columbia, there are three streams in which these types of nurses can register: family (infants to older adults), adult (adults and older adults), and pediatrics (infants to adolescents).

The major distinction between NPs and RNs is in their respective roles in patient care, the level of education they are required to have (NPs must have a master’s degree), and their various duties.

While RNs concentrate on patient-facing roles such as treatments, procedures, and the administration of medications that have been ordered by a provider (such as a nurse practitioner (NP), a physician, or a physician assistant (PA), etc.), NPs are able to prescribe those medications, give diagnoses, examine, and treat patients.

Now that you know the different types of Nurses in Canada, let’s proceed to show you the complete guide on how you can immigrate to Canada as a Nurse.

How to Immigrate To Canada as a Nurse

Immigrating to Canada as a Nurse is one of the many ways that one can immigrate to Canada. There are a number of different ways that one can immigrate to Canada as a Nurse.

Prospective immigrants who want to come to Canada in the capacity of a nurse can choose from one of three significant immigration pathways, which are as follows:

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

First Step:

The first step is evaluating your academic credentials if it meets the required standard for practicing as a nurse.

This step is a mandatory step in which your credentials would be assessed by World Educational Services, an organization authorized by the Canadian Government to carry out education checks and verification.

Next process is to get your Nursing credentials recognized in Canada. This process is managed by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) and you would need to create an online account here.

Basically, what NNAS does is convert your credentials to a North American standard and then compare and evaluate it to see if it meets the Canadian standard.

The assessment process by NNAS costs $650 CAD and is the first mandatory stage in securing both your Canadian Visa and your Nursing Registration in Canada.

Second Step:

With your NNAS assessment done, the next stage is NNAS application by creating a profile on the NNAS application page.

During this stage, you would be required to:

Submit two proof of identity documents:

Proof of Identity documents must be notarized, copies of original documents (signed, dated, and stamped) complete with your signature, and could be your Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Driver’s Licence, International passport, or any other government-issued identification. Notarized documents must be prepared by a government-approved official.

Submit your Nursing Education form:

You would download the form from your online profile account, then sign and send it to the school where you trained as a nurse. The form must be completed by each school official and sent directly from the school official to NNAS by mail or courier, along with copies of your academic records/transcript documents, nursing program curriculum/course descriptions, and/or course syllabi.

Submit Nursing Registration Form:

Download, print, and sign this form then send it to all nursing licensing authorities where you were licensed or registered outside of Canada. NNAS will not accept your Nursing Registration Form if it is not sent directly from your licensing authority. If you have a diploma that allowed you to work as a nurse in your country, ask the school that issued the diploma to send an official copy (but not the original) of the diploma in its original language to NNAS.

Submit your Nursing Practice / Employment Form:

Sign and send this form to all the employers you have worked for in the past five years. The current year represents year one. NNAS will not accept your Nursing Practice/Employment Form if it is not sent directly from your employer.

Submit your IELTS language testing result:

You will need to complete language testing and have the results sent directly to NNAS from your approved language testing agency. If your first language is either English or French, you may not have to complete language testing if the main language where you live and work is English or French, and your nursing education program of instruction was in English or French.

Once all documents have been received by NNAS, submit your application and choose the provincial association and nursing group you are applying to.

You would first have identified a Canadian province where your skills, qualifications, and experience as an Internationally qualified Nurse match the province’s specific requirements.

You can find the complete list of Canadian provincial nursing regulatory bodies and their specific requirements here.

Third Step:

After NNAS assessment, you would then apply to the Nursing medical board in your chosen Province or Territory. NNAS will send completed files to the provincial regulatory bodies so that they can make the final decision about your eligibility to work as a nurse in Canada.

Every territory will use the NNAS report as the basis for bench-marking an applicant’s international nursing skills, experience, and qualifications against those laid down by their respective Nursing Boards.

You would be asked to commence with the registration process once your chosen provincial regulatory body receives the report from NNAS.

The following is a list of Canadian provinces, along with their respective regulatory agencies, that are involved in nursing practices:

British Columbia
British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals.

College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta
College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta

College of Nurses of Ontario

Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia College of Nursing

Saskatchewan Registered Nurse Association

College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba

Fourth Step:

Following the completion of your nursing registration with the provincial regulatory authority and the acquisition of a license, the next step is to select the immigration program that is most suitable for you.

Prospective candidates who want to immigrate to Canada as a nurse can choose from one of these 3 major immigration options, which are as follows:

Express Entry System

If they match the requirements, nurses have the potential to take advantage of the express entry option available under the Federal Skilled Workers program. They are often expected to get a score of 67 out of a possible 100 points, which is determined by aspects such as their level of education, age, amount of relevant work experience, and language proficiency. The minimum required score on the IELTS for nurses applying through Express Entry is variable depending on the applicant’s overall profile. In order to be qualified for Express Entry, you need to have a score of at least 6.0 in each of the four language abilities.

Quebec Skilled Workers (QSW)

Nurses who score at least 50 points on the Quebec Selection Grid may also be eligible for the Quebec Skilled Workers (QSW) program. There is no needed minimum score on the IELTS for participation in the Quebec Skilled Workers Program. However, in order to qualify, you might be required to have a score that’s at least a specific minimum. This will depend on your profile. An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is not required for your degree. Additionally, this immigration option does not need you to declare proof of funds.

Provincial Nominee Program

PNPs are immigration programs that are managed jointly by the federal government and several provincial governments. Every province in Canada has its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and while some of these PNPs offer more than one pathway to citizenship, they all ultimately lead to permanent residency in Canada. Candidates who are already in the federal Express Entry pool are the only ones who can apply for certain PNPs. A significant number of PNPs call for applicants to demonstrate that they have some kind of connection to the province that administers the program. These ties can take the form of family members who live in the area or have previous experience studying or working there. Other PNPs are designed to alleviate skills gaps in the province by accepting skilled workers who have experience working in occupations that are in demand in the province.


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You have come to the end of this very informative article, we wish you the best in your quest to immigrate to Canada as a Nurse. If you have any questions, kindly drop them in the comment section below.

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