Nurses who wish to work in Canada can expect to earn competitive wages and enjoy a comfortable living standard. However, landing a nursing job in Canada may require navigating a more complex recruitment process than what you are used to.
The country also offers a vibrant culture and accepts different cultural influences while remaining committed to multilingualism.
Understanding Canadian Nursing Licensing Requirements
The process of becoming a nurse in Canada varies by province and nursing category. Generally, nursing registration in Canada begins with an assessment of your nursing qualifications and education done by the National Nursing Assessment Service or NNAS.
NNAS is a not-for-profit organization that works in partnership with the provincial regulators of nursing to evaluate your credentials. It will review your identity documents, international work experience, language proficiency and more. After the evaluation, NNAS will prepare a report which is then sent to the nursing regulator in your desired province and nursing category.
The next step in the licensing process is submitting your application for registration with the provincial regulatory body. Each province has its own specific requirements and procedures, so consult with them to get the latest information.
Generally, the application includes providing your nursing qualification evaluation from NNAS, transcripts of your nursing education and additional supporting documentation, a criminal background check and proof of English language proficiency. The provincial regulatory body will then review your application and decide whether to register you as a nurse.
Visa and Immigration Options for International Nursing Job in Canada
Those seeking to work in the United States on a permanent basis can apply for an immigrant visa/permanent residence (green card). To qualify, they must first be sponsored by a US employer willing to offer them a full-time, permanent nursing position. EB2 and EB3 visas are available for nurses, both of which require that the nurse have a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with at least five years of professional experience.
Because the demand for nursing is high and wages higher, the US immigration process typically moves faster for international nurses than it does for other occupations. However, as of June 1 of this year, the EB-3 nurse subcategory hit its annual quota for green cards, and nurses who petitioned this fiscal year are unlikely to receive their visas before 2025, according to Chris Musillo, an attorney with the firm Musillo Unkenholt Immigration Law.
The quickest route for permanent residency is the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSW). Nurses who are approved by the Quebec government receive a Certificat de sélection du Québec, which allows them to move to Canada as a landed immigrant.
Job Search Strategies for Landing a Nursing Job in Canada
If you’re interested in pursuing your nursing career in Canada, it is important to do your research. This process may take a while, as the procedures for licensing nurses differ from one province to another. Moreover, you will want to consider which parts of the country appeal to you and your family.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local job market and the types of skills and qualifications employers require. This will give you a clearer picture of your employment options when it comes time to weigh offers and choose a location.
It is also worth noting that a primary disincentive for many nurses to return to their home countries was the perception that there are not enough full-time jobs available. This points to the need for greater attention to long-term human resource planning and to reaffirming that nurses are welcomed and valued. Ideally, this would be done through direct communication with nursing associations in each province or territory. It would be easier to do this from your own country than from abroad, where you’d have to deal with language barriers and international calling rates.
Adapting to the Canadian Healthcare System
Canada has one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. Providing free medical and dental care for its citizens and permanent residents. This is a major reason why nurses are highly-sought after in Canada. Moreover, nurses are also well-compensated in the country.
The Canadian government plays a number of roles in the health system. But the majority of the health-care delivery is done by provinces and territories. The federal government sets national principles for the health-care system under the Canada Health Act. And provides financial support to the provinces and territories.
Most nursing jobs in Canada require the completion of a registered nursing (RN). Or licensed practical nurse (LPN) program at a university or college. However, some nursing roles may require a master’s or doctoral degree for advanced practice. Such as a clinical nurse specialist or nursing researcher. Furthermore, nursing in Canada requires a license from the relevant provincial regulator. Generally, the regulatory body will conduct a background check and reference checks to ensure your eligibility. The process takes anywhere from six to nine months.
Real-Life Experiences of International Nurses in Canada
The country of Canada offers a diverse lifestyle and has one of the most comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. The working conditions are also highly competitive and offer a great living wage for nurses. However, there are a few issues that international nurses may face when they first move to the country.
One of the biggest challenges is navigating the language barrier. Some nurses have reported that they experienced a lack of adequate orientation before their arrival in the country. And felt misunderstood by their coworkers due to their lack of understanding of English.
On the other hand, many international nurses have reported positive experiences with their transition into the Canadian healthcare system. They have described how their fluency in their mother tongues allowed them to explain procedures. And plans of care to patients and their families.
Additionally, their ability to understand and translate unique cultural behaviors of some patients has enabled them to provide culturally competent care. They have also cited the positive impact of having an inclusive workplace where all employees are valued and respected.