How to Move to Canada as a Nurse: 4 Ways

Dreaming of pursuing a nursing career in Canada?

Have you been thinking of How to Move to Canada as a Nurse? Discover the exciting possibilities and pathways to make your dream a reality. From provincial nominee programs to skilled worker streams, explore the various options available to nurses looking to move to Canada and embark on a fulfilling professional journey.

  1. Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)

How to Move to Canada as a Nurse

The Quebec Skilled Worker Program is specifically designed for individuals who intend to settle in the province of Quebec. It is a points-based immigration system that assesses applicants based on factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency, age, adaptability, and others.

To go through the QSWP, here are the steps to follow

Step 1: Determine Eligibility Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for the program. Factors that may affect eligibility include education, work experience, language proficiency (French is particularly important for Quebec), age, and adaptability. The Quebec government uses a points system to evaluate candidates, and a minimum score is required to qualify.

Step 2: Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) Create an online profile with the Quebec government’s immigration portal, known as Arrima. Fill in the necessary information about your education, work experience, language skills, and other relevant details. Submitting an EOI does not guarantee an invitation to apply, but it allows the Quebec government to assess your eligibility.

Step 3: Receive an Invitation to Apply If you meet the eligibility criteria and your profile aligns with Quebec’s labor market needs, you may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ). The CSQ is an official document issued by the Quebec government, which demonstrates your eligibility for permanent residency in Quebec.

Step 4: Submit Application for Permanent Residency Once you receive the ITA, you have a limited time to submit a complete application for permanent residency to the Quebec government. This application includes various forms, supporting documents, and fees. It is essential to provide accurate and complete information and ensure that all documents are properly translated and certified.

Step 5: Medical and Security Clearances After submitting your application, you will need to undergo medical examinations to demonstrate that you are in good health. Additionally, you must pass security checks conducted by the Canadian government to ensure you do not pose a security risk.

Step 6: Decision on Permanent Residency The Quebec government will review your application, including all supporting documents and information provided. If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document, which allows you to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident.

Step 7: Landing in Quebec Upon receiving the COPR, you can make arrangements to travel to Canada and land in Quebec. At the port of entry, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will verify your documents and ask you a few questions before officially granting you permanent resident status.

2. Temporary Work Permits

A Temporary Work Permit allows foreign workers to work in Canada for a specific period. As a nurse, there are a few avenues through which you can obtain a Temporary Work Permit:

a. Job Offer from a Canadian Employer: If you receive a job offer from a Canadian employer, they may need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA assesses whether hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labor market. Once the employer receives a positive LMIA, you can apply for a Temporary Work Permit.

b. International Mobility Program (IMP): Under the IMP, some occupations, including certain healthcare professions, may be exempt from the LMIA requirement. This allows employers to hire foreign workers without going through the LMIA process. However, it’s important to note that eligibility requirements and specific exemptions can vary depending on the occupation and the specific circumstances.

c. NAFTA/USMCA Professionals: If you are a citizen of the United States or Mexico, you may be eligible for a Temporary Work Permit under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Certain healthcare professionals, including nurses, are included in the list of eligible occupations under this agreement.

d. International Agreements and Programs: Canada has bilateral agreements with some countries that facilitate temporary work arrangements. For example, the Working Holiday Program allows young adults from specific countries to work and travel in Canada for a limited period. Additionally, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) allows workers from participating countries to work in the agricultural sector.

To apply for a Temporary Work Permit, you will generally need to follow these steps:

How to Move to Canada as a Nurse

Step 1: Obtain a Job Offer: Secure a job offer from a Canadian employer. Ensure that the job offer meets the requirements set by the Canadian government and, if necessary, that the employer has obtained an LMIA.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents: Collect the necessary documents for your application, which may include your passport, job offer letter, educational credentials, proof of work experience, and any other documents required by the specific program or agreement you are applying under.

Step 3: Complete the Application: Fill out the appropriate application forms for a Temporary Work Permit. Submit the application along with the required supporting documents and pay the application fee.

Step 4: Medical Examination and Biometrics: In some cases, you may need to undergo a medical examination to ensure you meet the health requirements for working in Canada. Additionally, you may need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) as part of the application process.

Step 5: Decision on the Application: Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the Canadian immigration authorities. If approved, you will receive a letter of introduction, which you can present to the border officer when you arrive in Canada.

Step 6: Entry into Canada and Work Permit Issuance: Upon arrival in Canada, you will need to show your letter of introduction to the border officer. They will verify your documents and may ask you a few questions before granting you entry and issuing your Temporary Work Permit.

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3. Refugee and Asylum Seekers

Canada has a commitment to providing protection and resettlement opportunities to individuals who are fleeing persecution, war, or other dangerous situations in their home countries. Refugees and asylum seekers can seek protection in Canada through the following processes:

a. Refugee Status: If you are already outside of Canada and in need of protection, you can apply for refugee status through the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program. This program is administered by the Government of Canada and aims to provide protection to individuals who meet the criteria of a refugee as defined by international conventions.

b. Inland Refugee Claim: If you are already in Canada and fear persecution or danger if you return to your home country, you can make an inland refugee claim. This involves submitting an application for refugee status within Canada.

The general process for refugee and asylum seekers in Canada includes the following steps:

Step 1: Initial Screening: Upon arrival in Canada or when applying from outside the country, you will undergo an initial screening process. This process is conducted by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer. They will assess your eligibility to make a refugee claim or apply for asylum.

Step 2: Completing the Application: If you are found eligible to proceed with a refugee claim or asylum application, you will be required to complete the necessary application forms. These forms will require you to provide personal information, details about your background, reasons for seeking protection, and any supporting evidence.

Step 3: Refugee Protection Division (RPD) Hearing: Once your application is submitted, you will have a hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case, provide evidence, and explain why you believe you qualify for refugee status or asylum.

Step 4: Decision on the Claim: After the RPD hearing, the decision-maker will review your case and consider the evidence presented. They will make a decision on whether to grant you refugee status or asylum protection based on the merits of your case.

Step 5: Appeal Process: If your claim is denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) within a specified timeframe. The RAD will review the decision and determine if it should be overturned or upheld.

Step 6: Settlement and Integration: If your claim is accepted, you will be granted refugee status or asylum protection. This status allows you to remain in Canada and access various settlement services, such as housing support, language training, healthcare, and assistance with finding employment. Over time, you will have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency and eventually Canadian citizenship.

4. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program (RNIP)

How to Move to Canada as a Nurse

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program is designed to address the labor market needs of smaller communities in rural and northern regions of Canada. This program aims to attract foreign workers who are interested in living and working in these communities, thereby supporting their economic growth and development.

The RNIP is a community-driven program, meaning that individual communities, rather than the federal government, participate in the program and have the authority to recommend eligible candidates for permanent residency. Each participating community has its own set of eligibility criteria and requirements.

Here are some key points to consider when applying through the RNIP:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility: Review the specific eligibility requirements and criteria set by the community where you wish to apply. Each participating community has its own set of eligibility criteria, which may include factors such as work experience, language proficiency, education, and job offer from a local employer.

Step 2: Find a Job Offer: Secure a job offer from an employer in one of the participating communities. The job offer must meet the requirements set by the specific community, such as the type of job, wage level, and other conditions.

Step 3: Community Recommendation: Submit an application to the participating community where you intend to live and work. The community will assess your application and determine if you meet their eligibility criteria. If approved, the community will issue a recommendation letter to support your application for permanent residency.

Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residency: Once you have received a recommendation letter from the community, you can proceed to apply for permanent residency through the regular immigration process. This involves submitting an application to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and paying the required fees. You will also need to provide supporting documents, such as medical and security clearances.

Step 5: Processing and Decision: The IRCC will review your application for permanent residency, including all supporting documents and information provided. If your application is approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document, which allows you to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident.

Step 6: Settlement and Integration: Once you arrive in Canada as a permanent resident, you can start your new life in the participating community where you received the recommendation. Take advantage of settlement services available to newcomers, such as language training, housing support, and employment assistance, to help you integrate into the community and find success in your new life in Canada.


With a range of immigration programs tailored for nurses, Canada presents an enticing destination for those seeking new horizons. Whether you choose to apply through express entry, provincial programs, or study and work opportunities, Canada welcomes skilled nurses with open arms, offering a vibrant and inclusive environment to thrive both personally and professionally.