Canada is one of the most popular destinations for foreign nurses who want to work and live in a developed country with a high quality of life, a multicultural society, and a universal health care system. Canada has a growing demand for nurses due to its aging population, its diverse health needs, and its shortage of qualified nursing professionals. According to the Canadian Nurses Association, Canada will need 60,000 more nurses by 2024 to meet the healthcare needs of Canadians.
If you are a foreign nurse who is interested in working in Canada, you may be wondering how to apply, what are the requirements, and what are the benefits of working as a nurse in Canada. In this article, we will answer these questions and provide you with some useful tips and resources to help you achieve your dream of becoming a nurse in Canada.
How to Apply for Nursing Jobs in Canada for Foreign Nurses
There are a few different programs available to foreign national nurses looking to work in Canada, including the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, International Experience Canada, and the Federal Skilled Worker Program or Provincial Nominee Program. Each program has its own eligibility criteria, application process, and benefits. Here is a brief overview of each program:
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): This program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers for temporary positions that cannot be filled by Canadian citizens or permanent residents. To apply for this program, you need to have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the government, which proves that there is a need for a foreign worker and that no Canadian worker is available for the job. You also need to meet the requirements of the job, such as education, experience, language skills, and licensing. The duration of the work permit depends on the job offer and the LMIA, but it can be up to four years. This program does not lead to permanent residency, but it can be a stepping stone to other immigration programs that do.
International Experience Canada (IEC): This program allows young people aged 18 to 35 from eligible countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. To apply for this program, you need to have a valid passport from one of the participating countries, have enough money to support yourself during your stay, have health insurance, and meet the health and criminality requirements. You do not need to have a job offer before applying, but you need to find a job once you arrive in Canada. You can apply for an open work permit, which allows you to work for any employer in Canada, or a restricted work permit, which limits you to work for one employer or in one location. This program does not lead to permanent residency, but it can help you gain Canadian work experience and network with potential employers.
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): These programs are part of the Express Entry system, which is the main way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. To apply for these programs, you need to create an online profile and enter your personal information, such as education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. You will then receive a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which ranks you against other candidates in the pool. You also need to have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent part-time work experience in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B) in the last 10 years, meet the minimum language requirements in English or French, have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer or a nomination from a Canadian province or territory (for PNP only), and have enough money to settle in Canada. If you receive an invitation to apply (ITA) from the government, you can submit your application for permanent residency within 60 days. The processing time for these programs is usually six months or less.
What are the Requirements for Nursing Jobs in Canada for Foreign Nurses
Regardless of which program you choose to apply for, you need to meet some specific requirements to work as a nurse in Canada. These include:
Education: You need to have a nursing degree or diploma that is equivalent to a Canadian nursing program. You can use the World Education Services (WES) tool to compare your credentials with Canadian standards. You may also need to complete a bridging program or additional courses to upgrade your skills and knowledge to meet Canadian standards.
Licensing: You need to obtain a license to practice as a nurse in Canada from the regulatory body of the province or territory where you intend to work. Each province or territory has its licensing process and requirements, but they generally involve the following steps:
1. Submit your application and supporting documents, such as proof of identity, education, work experience, language proficiency, and criminal record check, to the regulatory body.
2. Have your credentials assessed by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), which is a centralized service that evaluates the education and experience of internationally educated nurses and compares them with Canadian standards.
3. Pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses (RNs), which are standardized exams that test your knowledge, skills, and judgment in nursing practice.
4. Complete any additional requirements, such as orientation, mentorship, or competency assessment, as determined by the regulatory body.
Language: You need to demonstrate your proficiency in English or French, depending on the official language of the province or territory where you want to work. You can take one of the following language tests and achieve the minimum scores required by the regulatory body:
1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic
2. Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN)
3. Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)Test de connaissance du français pour le Canada (TCF Canada)
What are the Benefits of Working as a Nurse in Canada
Working as a nurse in Canada can offer you many benefits, such as:
Salary: Nurses in Canada earn an average annual salary of $78,546, according to the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. The salary may vary depending on the province or territory, the type and level of nursing, the experience and qualifications, and the employer and sector. Nurses in Canada also enjoy benefits such as health insurance, pension plans, vacation pay, sick leave, and overtime pay.
Opportunity: Nurses in Canada have many opportunities to advance their careers and specialize in different areas of nursing, such as critical care, emergency, gerontology, oncology, pediatrics, mental health, and more. Nurses in Canada can also pursue further education and training to become nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse educators, nurse researchers, or nurse administrators.
Diversity: Nurses in Canada work in a diverse and multicultural environment, where they can interact with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and languages. Nurses in Canada also respect and value the diversity of their patients and colleagues, and provide culturally sensitive and competent care.
Satisfaction: Nurses in Canada find their work rewarding and meaningful, as they make a positive difference in the lives of their patients and communities. Nurses in Canada also enjoy a high level of autonomy, responsibility, and collaboration in their practice, and have a strong voice and influence in the health care system.
Tips and Resources for Foreign Nurses Who Want to Work in Canada
If you are a foreign nurse who wants to work in Canada, here are some tips and resources to help you achieve your goal:
Do your research
Before you apply for any program or job, make sure you do your research and understand the requirements, the process, and the costs involved. You can use the following websites to find more information and guidance:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): This is the official website of the Canadian government that provides information and services on immigration and citizenship, such as how to apply, what programs are available, and what documents are needed.
Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC): This is a website that provides information and resources on the recognition and assessment of academic and professional credentials in Canada, such as how to compare your credentials with Canadian standards, how to find a credential assessment agency, and how to contact the regulatory body for your profession.
Canadian Nurses Association (CNA): This is the national professional association of nurses in Canada that represents and advocates for the interests of nurses and the public, such as setting standards and competencies, providing education and certification, and promoting nursing excellence and innovation.
Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR): This is a website that provides information and links to the regulatory bodies of nurses in each province and territory, such as how to apply for a license, what exams are required, and what resources are available.
National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS): This is a website that provides information and services on the credential assessment of internationally educated nurses who want to work in Canada, such as how to create an account, what documents are needed, how to pay the fees, and how to track the status of your application.
Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE): This is a website that provides information and resources on the exam that is required for licensed practical nurses who want to work in Canada, such as how to register, what to expect, how to prepare, and how to get the results.
National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN): This is a website that provides information and resources on the exam that is required for registered nurses who want to work in Canada, such as how to register, what to expect, how to prepare, and how to get the results.
Network and connect
One of the best ways to find a nursing job in Canada is to network and connect with other nurses, employers, and organizations that can help you with your job search and career development. You can use the following websites to find networking and mentoring opportunities, job postings, career fairs, and events:
Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF): This is a website that provides information and services on scholarships, awards, grants, and programs that support the education and research of nurses in Canada, such as how to apply, what are the criteria, and what are the benefits.
Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN): This is a website that provides information and services on the accreditation, education, and research of nursing schools and programs in Canada, such as how to find a school, what are the standards, and what are the opportunities.
Canadian Nurses Protective Society (CNPS): This is a website that provides information and services on the legal protection and advice of nurses in Canada, such as how to become a member, what are the benefits, and what are the resources.
Canadian Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA): This is a website that provides information and services on the representation, advocacy, and support of nursing students in Canada, such as how to join, what are activities, and what are the resources.
Canadian Nursing Informatics Association (CNIA): This is a website that provides information and services on the integration, innovation, and education of nursing informatics in Canada, such as how to join, what are events, and what are resources.
Be flexible and adaptable
Working as a nurse in Canada may be different from working as a nurse in your home country, in terms of the culture, the practice, the system, and the expectations. You may face some challenges and difficulties in adjusting to the new environment, such as language barriers, cultural differences, communication issues, or discrimination. To overcome these challenges and succeed as a nurse in Canada, you need to be flexible and adaptable, and willing to learn and improve. You can use the following websites to find tips and tools to help you adapt and cope with the transition:
Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI): This is a website that provides information and services on the promotion and inclusion of diversity and equity in the workplace and society, such as how to access training, webinars, events, and resources.
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA): This is a website that provides information and services on the prevention and promotion of mental health and well-being, such as how to find help, support, programs, and resources.
Canadian Red Cross (CRC): This is a website that provides information and services on the humanitarian and emergency assistance of people in need, such as how to volunteer, donate, or access programs and resources.
To conclude, working as a nurse in Canada is an excellent opportunity for foreign nurses who want to pursue their career in a country that values and respects their profession. Canada offers a variety of nursing jobs in different settings, specialties, and regions, as well as attractive salaries, benefits, and working conditions. To apply for a nursing job in Canada, foreign nurses need to complete an application with the NNAS, pass a nursing licensure exam in Canada, and obtain a license to practice in the province of their choice. Working as a nurse in Canada can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice that can help you make a difference in the lives of others. If you are interested in the massive recruitment of nurses in Canada, you can start by visiting the NNAS website and exploring the various nursing opportunities and resources available in Canada.