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Best time for nurses to migrate to Canada

Nurses to migrate to Canada

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for nurses in Canada, which was already reeling under the shortage of nurses. One way by which the government is planning to find a solution to this crisis is by admitting more foreign nurses through PR pathways. Several provinces are also adopting enhanced measures to bring in more health workers from abroad. Ontario will be investing $342 million to hire more than 13000 healthcare workers in the next five years. At the same time, British Columbia will spend $16000 for about 1500 foreign-trained nurses to cover their application fees, the cost of their English language tests and for upgrading their education. Similarly, Quebec will be investing $65 million to recruit and train around 1000 francophone nurses.

How to migrate to Canada as a nurse?

Nurses fall under two categories in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) of the Canada government. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses fall under NOC skill level A and their NOC code is 3012. At the same time, licensed practical nurses come under NOC 3233, under skill level B. Canada has around a 100 immigration pathways. As nursing falls under ‘skilled work’, nurses become eligible to apply for immigration under almost all immigration pathways for skilled workers.

The following are the major pathways through which nurses can apply for migration to Canada:

Express Entry

Nurses can apply for immigration through Express Entry under either the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. These are two of the federal economic immigration programs of Canada that are managed under the Express Entry. Those who are interested to migrate to Canada under Express Entry may create an Express Entry profile. Based on various eligibility factors, they would be awarded an Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Those with the highest scores will be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada in the Express Entry draws that are conducted regularly.

Provincial Nominee Program

Another option is Provincial Nominee Program or PNP. Some PNPs have dedicated pathways for nursing professionals. Some PNPs select candidates from Express Entry pool and invite them to apply for provincial nomination. The Express Entry candidates who are nominated by a province will be awarded an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) score points that make them eligible to receive an invitation to apply for Canada PR in an Express Entry draw.

Following are some of the PNP immigration pathways for nurses:


Immigration pathway


Human Capital Priorities Stream

British Columbia   

Healthcare professional category (both SI and Express Entry)


International Health Worker EOI pool

Nova Scotia        

Labour Market Priorities Stream (Holds occasional draws exclusively for nurses)

New Brunswick       

Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) program


Are you a nurse or a skilled professional? Find the best pathway for migration to Canada with the help of Canada immigration experts of CanApprove. Contact us for more info.       

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