How can you Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse in 2023?

Canada is an excellent destination for nurses who want to work and live in a country that values their skills and experience. Canada has a high demand for nurses, mainly due to the pandemic, and offers many immigration pathways for qualified healthcare professionals. This article will explain how to immigrate to Canada as a nurse in 2023.

Eligibility Requirements for Nurses

To immigrate to Canada as a nurse, you must meet some basic requirements:

  • You must have a nurse’s license in your home country and be able to prove your qualifications and competence at the same level as Canadian nurses.
  • You must have at least one year of continuous work experience in an occupation with a NOC skill level of 0, A, or B within the last ten years. Registered nurses and psychiatric nurses are NOC 3012, skill level A, while licensed practical nurses are NOC 3233, skill level B.
  • You must have a minimum language proficiency of CLB 7 in English or NCLC 7 in French on all four language competencies: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can take a recognized language test such as IELTS or TEF to prove your skills.
  • You must have enough funds to support yourself and your family members in Canada unless you are already working or have a valid job offer in Canada.

Immigration Pathways for Nurses

There are several immigration programs on how to immigrate to Canada as a nurse, depending on your situation and preferences. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Express Entry

Express Entry is the main system that manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

As a nurse, you can apply for either the FSWP or the CEC, depending on whether you have Canadian work experience.

To apply for Express Entry, you must create an online profile and enter your personal information, such as age, education, work experience, language skills, and adaptability factors. You will then receive a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which ranks candidates according to their human capital factors. Every two weeks, the IRCC conducts draws and invites the highest-ranking candidates to apply for permanent residence.

The CRS cut-off score varies depending on the number of candidates and invitations issued in each draw. In 2022, the lowest CRS score required was 445 points for the CEC candidates and 462 points for the FSWP candidates. However, these scores may change in 2023 depending on immigration targets and trends.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are another option for nurses who want to immigrate to Canada. PNPs allow provinces and territories to nominate candidates who meet their specific labor market needs and regional priorities. Each province has its own PNP streams and criteria, some of which are aligned with Express Entry and some of which are not.

As a nurse, you may be eligible for some PNP streams targeting healthcare professionals or skilled workers in high-demand occupations. For example, Ontario has a Health Care Worker stream that invites nurses with at least one year of work experience in Ontario and a valid job offer from an eligible employer. British Columbia has a Healthcare Professional stream that invites nurses with at least two years of work experience in BC or abroad and a valid job offer from a public health authority.

To apply for a PNP stream, you must follow the instructions of the province or territory you are interested in. Some provinces require you to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) first and wait for an invitation to apply, while others accept applications directly from eligible candidates. 

Suppose a province or territory nominates you. In that case, you will receive an additional 600 points on your CRS score if your stream is aligned with Express Entry, or you will apply for permanent residence separately if your stream is not aligned with Express Entry.

Temporary Pathways for Healthcare Workers

In April 2021, Canada announced six new temporary pathways for workers and students who are already in Canada and want to transition to permanent residence. Two of these pathways are dedicated to healthcare workers, such as nurses. One is specifically for French speakers.

These pathways are open from May 6 to November 5, 2021, or until the intake cap of 20,000 applications is reached for the English-speaking stream. The French-speaking stream has no cap limit.


To be eligible for these pathways, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must have at least one year of Canadian work experience in one of the 40 eligible healthcare professions within the last three years. This experience must be obtained through authorization to work in Canada.
  • You must be employed in any occupation in Canada at the time of your application.
  • You must have a CLB or NCLC of at least 4 in English or French on all four language competencies.
  • You must intend to reside in any province or territory other than Quebec.

If you meet these criteria, you can apply through the IRCC website and submit your supporting documents electronically.

How to Obtain a Nursing License in Canada

To work and immigrate to Canada as a nurse, you must obtain a license from the provincial or territorial regulatory body where you intend to practice. There is no national registration or licensure process for nurses in Canada.

Each regulatory body has its requirements and assessment process for internationally-educated nurses (IENs). However, some common steps that you may need to follow are:

  • Submit an application form and pay a fee to the regulatory body.
  • Provide proof of your identity, education, work experience, language skills, and good character.
  • Have your credentials evaluated by an authorized organization such as World Education Services (WES) or International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).
  • Take an exam such as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses or the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE) for licensed practical nurses.
  • Complete any additional courses or bridging programs that the regulatory body may require.
  • Receive your license and registration number from the regulatory body.

You can find more information about each province or territory’s licensing process and requirements on their respective websites.

Immigrate to Canada as a nurse can be a rewarding career move that offers many benefits and opportunities. Canada has several immigration programs that welcome nurses with different skills and experience levels. However, before applying for any program, you must ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and prepare all the necessary documents. You must also obtain a nursing license from the province or territory where you want to work.

We hope this article has given you some helpful information on how to immigrate to Canada as a nurse in 2023.