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A Guide to Becoming a Nurse in Canada as a Foreign Nurse through the PNP Pathway

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Multi-ethnic group of doctors, physicians, and nurses, both male and female. Isolated on a white background.

In the vast landscape of healthcare, nursing stands as an invaluable profession that epitomizes compassion, expertise, and dedication. For those aspiring to don the nursing scrubs and make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, Canada offers a promising pathway through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). As one of the most sought-after immigration routes for foreign nurses, the PNP pathway opens doors to a fulfilling career in the Canadian healthcare system. In this article, we will explore the essence of the PNP pathway, the comprehensive process for foreign nurses to become licensed in Canada, and the profound significance of the nursing profession in the country’s healthcare fabric.

Step 1: Researching Provincial Nomination Programs

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is a crucial pathway for foreign-trained nurses aspiring to work and live in Canada permanently. Each Canadian province and territory has its own specific PNP streams tailored to address its unique labor market needs and healthcare demands. To successfully apply for a provincial nomination, foreign-trained nurses must research and understand the PNPs available in each province, along with their respective requirements. 

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

The OINP offers categories including Human capital, business, employer job offer and master or PhD. You will need to choose the human capital category. The “Ontario Express Entry under Human Capital Priorities Stream” is a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score under the federal Express Entry system.

Requirements for application

The minimum requirements for Ontario immigrant nominee program are as follows:

  • Must have valid Express Entry profile.
  • Must have at least one year of full-time paid work experience.
  • Must have a bachelor’s, masters or PhD degree.
  • Language requirement: CLB level 7 or higher (English or French)

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is an immigration program offered by the province of British Columbia, Canada, to attract skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and other qualified individuals. Through this program, the province can nominate candidates for permanent residency based on their skills, work experience, and ability to contribute to the local economy.

Minimum requirements

  • Must have a wage offer in line with the provincial wage rates (except for the International Post-Graduate Category)
  • Must have accepted a full-time job offer for a TEER 4 or 5 job (except for the International Post-Graduate Category
  • The employer must also meet eligibility criteria (except for the International Post-Graduate Category).
  • Must meet any additional requirements specific to your category
  • Ability to support yourself and your family (except for the International Post-Graduate Category.

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

The AINP’s “Alberta Opportunity Stream” is available to foreign-trained nurses with a valid job offer from an Alberta employer.

Nurses must meet specific work experience, educational, and licensing requirements to be eligible for nomination.

Minimum requirements

  • Express entry-level profile
  • English language proficiency

Learn more about eligibility

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

The SINP’s “International Skilled Worker: Saskatchewan Experience Category” allows foreign-trained nurses who have worked in the province on a valid work permit for at least six months to apply for nomination. Applicants must meet specific work experience, language, and other criteria.

Minimum requirements

  • Language skills English/French
  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • One year experience

For more information, click here

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)

The MPNP’s “Skilled Worker Overseas: Manitoba Express Entry Pathway” accepts nurses with a connection to Manitoba (friends or family, previous education or work experience) and a valid Express Entry profile. Eligible nurses must demonstrate work experience, language proficiency, and settlement funds, among other requirements.

Minimum requirements

  • Connection with Manitoba
  • English language
  • Genuine intention to work in Manitoba

For more information about the eligibility requirements click here.

Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)

Quebec has its selection system for skilled workers, including nurses. Applicants must go through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) before applying for permanent residence through the federal government.


  • Age must be below 40 years
  • English or French Language
  • Bachelors in Nursing
  • At least 50 points for solo applicants
  • At least 2 years of work experience.

learn more

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP)

The AIPP covers the Atlantic provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Nurses may be eligible through the “Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program” or the “Atlantic High-Skilled Program,” depending on their qualifications and job offers.

Requirements for application

  • Educational requirements such Bachelor in Nursing
  • Language Proficiency
  • Financial proof

Learn more about eligibility

Step 2: Meeting the Language Requirements

Most Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants in National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill ranges C and D occupations are required to go through obligatory language checking out and attain a minimal preferred of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 4 in each of the 4 competencies (listening, talking, studying and writing) earlier than obtaining a provincial nomination certificate.

Applicants must also have a copy in their language check effects when submitting their paper-based totally software for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Step 3: Meeting the Educational and Certification Requirements

The education requirements may vary from one province to another, although some are matching across Canada. The qualifications are as follows:

Language proficiency: English or French language proficiency is essential for all nurses seeking registration in Canada. Nurses may need to provide evidence of language proficiency by taking language tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN).

Nursing Education Assessment: Internationally trained nurses must first have their nursing education assessed by a designated Canadian nursing regulatory body.

Bridging Programs or Additional Education: In some cases, internationally trained nurses may be required to complete a bridging program to meet specific competency and practice standards in Canada. These programs help familiarize foreign-trained nurses with the Canadian healthcare system, practice standards, and nursing laws and regulations.

Step 4: Registering with the Appropriate Nursing Regulatory Body (NRB)

The nursing regulatory bodies in Canada are vary from province to province. It is important to know which regulatory body is responsible for the province that you want to work in.

For more information about the regulatory bodies in Canada visit the official website. Registration with the various bodies follow the guidelines provided. For example

Step 5: Applying for and Obtaining Permanent Residency

After researching the PNP that best fits you it is time you apply and be approved. The application process may vary with the different PNP programs. Once approved, applicants receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and a Permanent Resident (PR) card upon arrival in Canada, granting them the status of permanent residents in the country. Seeking guidance from immigration consultants or lawyers can be beneficial throughout the application process.


In conclusion, for foreign nurses seeking to pursue their dream of working in Canada, the PNP (Provincial Nominee Program) pathway offers a clear and viable route to make this aspiration a reality. The journey to becoming a nurse in Canada may seem daunting, but the PNP pathway provides a structured and accessible process that ensures a smoother transition and integration into the Canadian healthcare system.

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