A Step-By-Step Guide To Immigrating To Canada As A Nurse


It goes without saying that Canada is among the most progressive societies in the world where you can practice your profession. Currently, Nursing is among the top in-demand jobs in Canada. It has been estimated that Canada will need up to 60,000 nurses by 2020 and the figure is expected to double in the next ten years.

As a trained Nurse, you could find work in Canada as a registered nurse, supervisor, allied primary health practitioners, licensed practical nurse, dental nurse, psychiatric nurse, or nurse aide. As an experienced Nurse aide, you could earn about $41,438 and as an experienced registered nurse you could earn up to $128,700.

To Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse, you are required to be a licensed nurse in your home country. In addition to that, you will need to prove your competence, that you are qualified to work at the same level as qualified nurses in Canada.


There are three different kinds of Nurses in Canada

RN Nurses: Registered Nurses in Canada
RNs are Nurses who have completed a University Nursing degree and have therefore qualified to become a General Registered Nurse.

RPN Nurses: Registered Psychiatric Nurses in Canada
RPNs are Nurses who have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing or have a degree in general nursing and a post-graduate degree or additional study in psychiatric nursing. RPNs are regulated to practice in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

LPN Nurses: Licensed Practical Nurse Canada or Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario
LPNs are nurses who have completed a post-secondary diploma programme in nursing.

Migrate to Canada

How to Immigrate To Canada as a Nurse

There are a number of ways to immigrate to Canada as a Nurse, you may be qualified to come to Canada as a skilled worker through one of the many economic immigration programs at both the federal and provincial level.

There are three major immigration options available to prospective immigrants who want to come to Canada as a nurse:

  1. Express Entry System
  2. Provincial Nominee Programme
  3. Quebec Skilled Worker

Before proceeding, you should first determine your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. This code differs according to your occupation description.

NOC Codes for Nurses in canada


First Step:

The first step is evaluating your academic credentials if it meets the required standard for practising 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 recognised 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 then compares 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 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 to all nursing licensing authority 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 matches 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.

Here is a list of Provinces and their regulatory bodies involved in Nursing practices across Canada: 

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

After you have completed your Nursing registration with the Provincial regulatory body and you have secured a licence, the next stage is to choose the immigration Programme that fits you.

There are three major immigration options available to prospective immigrants who want to come to Canada as a nurse:

  1. Express Entry System: Nurse can qualify for the express entry under the Federal Skilled Workers programme if they meet the requirement. They are often required to score 67 out of 100 possible points based on factors like their education, age, work experience, and language proficiency. IELTS  score requirement for nurses in Express Entry depends on the individual’s complete profile. You need to score at least 6.0 in each of the four language abilities to be eligible for Express Entry.
  2. Quebec Skilled Worker: Nurses may also be eligible for the Quebec Skilled Workers (QSW) program if they score at least 50 points on the Quebec Selection Grid. The Quebec Skilled Workers Program doesn’t require a minimum required IELTS score. But, depending on your profile, you may be required to have at least a certain score to qualify. You don’t need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for your degree. And you don’t need to declare proof of funds for this immigration option.
  3. Provincial Nominee Program: PNPs are immigration programs run through a partnership between provincial governments and the federal government. Each province in Canada operates its own PNP with multiple streams, but every PNP leads to Canadian permanent residence. Some PNPs are only open to candidates who are already in the federal Express Entry pool. Many PNPs require some kind of connection to the province operating it, like family residing there or having past experience studying or working in the province. Other PNPs are designed to address skills gaps in the province by accepting skilled workers with experience in occupations that are in-demand in the province.



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