Canada has a strong and ever-growing healthcare system that continues to have high demand for qualified nurses. As such, Canadian immigration programs regularly target nurses from abroad to help fill healthcare staffing needs across the country’s provinces.
In 2024, there continues to be multiple immigration pathways for nurses looking to immigrate to Canada with their families.
This article will provide an overview of some of the easiest and fastest options that enable nurses to gain permanent residence while also sponsoring their family members.
Express Entry – Skilled Worker Program
One of the most popular immigration pathways is the Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker Program. This program utilizes a comprehensive ranking system that awards points for factors like education, work experience, language ability, and more.Nurses can potentially qualify for Express Entry if they have:
- A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in nursing
- Recent nursing work experience (at least 1 year of full-time or equivalent part-time)
- Proof of language proficiency in English and/or French
In 2024, the minimum points required for Express Entry continues to be around 470 points. Nurses that meet the above criteria can easily meet and exceed that score.A key benefit of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry is that applicants can include a spouse and dependent children under 22 years of age on their application.
This allows nurses to bring their immediate family members and get them permanent residence in Canada at the same time.In recent draws, Express Entry applicants who were issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence saw processing times as short as 6 months from submission of a complete application. This makes Express Entry a fast option for nurses looking to immigrate with their family.
Provincial Nominee Programs
In addition to the Express Entry system at the federal level, Canada’s provinces and territories also have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) to nominate immigrants to meet local labor market needs.Many provinces have dedicated healthcare streams within their PNPs to attract nurses from overseas.
Provinces like Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba all have pathways for nurses under their PNPs.The key benefit of immigrating through a PNP is that applicants receive additional points/priority for their Express Entry ranking score and also gain a faster pathway to permanent residence.Like Express Entry, PNPs also allow nurses to include dependents like a spouse and children in their application.
This gives nurses an opportunity to easily bring immediate family members.Processing times for permanent residence following nomination from a province tends to range between 6 to 9 months in most cases. For nurses looking for a quicker immigration journey, the PNP route is very appealing.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is an employer-driven program focused on addressing skill shortages and demographic needs of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces.
Under this program, nurses can get a designated job offer from a healthcare employer in Atlantic Canada. With an approved job offer, they can then apply to immigrate with their family to provinces like New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island.A key advantage of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot is that it allows nurses the ability to bring not only their spouse and children, but also extended family members like parents or grandparents.
This provides nurses an easy pathway to reunite their entire family.Permanent residence processing under this program tends to be very fast, often within 6 months or less. The program also provides several settlement supports like language classes, job search assistance, credential recognition guidance and more.
Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
Similar to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, Canada also has the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot that allows nurses to immigrate with family support to remote communities across the country.Eligible communities are located in provinces like Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Nurses can get a job offer from a healthcare employer in one of these communities and apply for permanent residence through this program.A key feature of this program is the community support it provides to assist with settlement and finding employment for accompanying spouses and dependents. This makes it easier for nurses to establish their entire family in smaller rural/northern communities.
Immigrating abroad, especially with a family, can be daunting. However, Canada offers very straightforward and fast immigration pathways for nurses that also allow them to be reunited with loved ones.Programs like Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot all provide dedicated streams that enable nurses to gain permanent residence while also sponsoring their family.
Processing times for permanent residence tend to range from 4 to 9 months through these immigration programs. Additionally, they offer support like language training, job search assistance and credential recognition that helps nurses and their families successfully settle in Canada long-term.
Nurses interested in immigrating to Canada, even those looking to move in 2024, should evaluate which of these programs best suits their occupation, work experience and settlement goals. Utilizing these family-friendly nursing immigration options can make for a much easier and faster pathway to establish a new life in Canada.