Applying for Nursing Positions in Canada With Visa Sponsorship

By | March 8, 2024

Nursing Positions in Canada: As a nurse seeking new opportunities in Canada, you likely have questions about the process of applying for nursing positions with visa sponsorship.

With a high demand for skilled nurses and a straightforward immigration system, Canada presents an excellent chance to advance your career while immigrating to a new country. This article provides key information you need to know, from understanding provincial nomination and Express Entry programs to navigating licensure requirements. You’ll learn tips for finding employers willing to support visa applications and building a strong application. Whether you’re an experienced nurse or a new graduate, you can gain insight into successfully getting a nursing job in Canada as an immigrant. With the right preparation and persistence, your goals of living and working as a nurse in Canada are within reach.

Applying for Nursing Positions in Canada With Visa Sponsorship


Nursing Shortages in Canada Open Doors for Immigrant Nurses

Growing Demand for Nurses

Canada’s population is aging, and the demand for health care services is increasing. According to the Canadian Nurses Association, Canada will need 60,000 more nurses over the next 10 years to meet the growing demand. This shortage of nurses has opened up many opportunities for immigrant nurses looking to practice in Canada.

Streamlined Immigration Process for Nurses

Recognizing the shortage, the Canadian government has made it easier for immigrant nurses to get work visas and permanent residence. Nurses are eligible for many federal and provincial immigration programs that offer a path to Canadian citizenship. The Express Entry system offers candidates permanent residence and most provinces have Provincial Nominee Programs that provide a fast-track to permanent residence for nurses.

Requirements to Practice as a Nurse in Canada

To practice as a registered nurse in Canada, you must meet the requirements of the nursing regulatory body in the province or territory you wish to practice. This typically involves having an equivalent nursing degree or diploma, passing a nursing exam such as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), and demonstrating competence in either English or French. Some provinces may have additional requirements.


Finding Nursing Jobs in Canada

There are many resources to help immigrant nurses find jobs in Canada. You can search hospital websites, government job banks, nursing recruitment agencies, and general job sites. Networking is also an excellent way to find nursing positions in Canada. You can connect with other nurses, join nursing associations, and attend industry events. Some provinces hire nurses on a temporary basis to fill short-term vacancies, which can lead to permanent jobs.
With a shortage of nurses, streamlined immigration process, and many resources to help find jobs, Canada is an excellent choice for immigrant nurses looking for new opportunities. Meeting the licensing requirements and preparing well for your job search can help you land a nursing position in Canada.

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Requirements to Get a Nursing Job in Canada as a Foreign Nurse

To obtain a nursing position in Canada as an immigrant, there are several requirements you must meet. As a regulated profession, nursing has strict standards for education, experience, and licensing.

1. Proper Education and Credentials

You must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or an equivalent from an accredited nursing program. Your nursing education and degree must be approved by the regulatory body in the province where you intend to work. In most cases, this means having your international nursing credentials assessed and approved.

2. Relevant Work Experience

Most provinces require immigrant nurses to have a minimum of one to two years of work experience as a registered nurse in their field of practice within the last five years. The specific requirements vary slightly by province, so you’ll need to check with the regulatory body where you plan to work. Experience in acute care, community health or long-term care settings may be preferred.

3. Language Proficiency

Strong English or French language skills are essential for nurses in Canada. You will need to pass an approved language proficiency test, such as the IELTS or CELBAN, at the level required by the province. The minimum scores range from 6.0 to 7.0 on the IELTS for the four test sections.

4. Licensing and Registration

To practice as a nurse in Canada, you must be registered with the regulatory body in the province or territory where you intend to work. This typically involves submitting an application, having your education and experience assessed, and passing a licensure exam such as the NCLEX-RN. The specific requirements and process differ in each jurisdiction, so you should check with the regulatory body directly.

Meeting these key requirements and going through the proper licensure process will prepare you well for finding and securing a nursing position in Canada as an immigrant nurse. With demand for nurses continuing to grow, Canada remains an attractive destination for foreign nurses looking to advance their careers.

Finding an Employer Willing to Sponsor Your Work Visa

1. Research Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

Conduct thorough research on hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare organizations across Canada that regularly hire foreign nurses. Focus on locations you would like to work in and check their websites for information on their immigration and recruitment processes. Some may openly state that they assist foreign nurses in obtaining necessary work permits and visas.

2. Make Contact and Express Your Interest

Once you have identified some potential employers, reach out to them via email or their online contact form. Politely express your strong interest in an opportunity with their organization and your desire to immigrate to Canada as a nurse. Highlight your qualifications, experience, credentials, and work authorization status. Ask if they would be willing to sponsor your work visa if they were interested in hiring you.

3. Be Prepared to Provide Additional Documentation

Organizations that sponsor foreign workers typically have more stringent hiring processes. Be ready to provide documentation like:

  • Your nursing license and education transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation from previous employers
  • Proof of English or French language proficiency depending on the province
  • A well-crafted cover letter and resume highlighting your experience

They will likely conduct phone or video interviews before making a final hiring decision. The organization must then submit an offer of employment and obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment to hire a foreign worker.

4. Consider Using a Nursing Recruitment Agency

Nursing recruitment agencies that specialize in placing foreign nurses can be very helpful. They have close relationships with healthcare facilities across Canada and can match you to sponsors willing to assist with immigration. They are familiar with the steps to obtain proper work authorization and may even help prepare your paperwork.

Using an agency can save you time and increase your chances of finding an employer to sponsor your work visa.
With persistence and patience, you can find an employer in Canada willing to sponsor your work visa as a nurse. Do not get discouraged if it takes contacting multiple organizations. The healthcare sector has a shortage of nurses, so there are opportunities if you are well-qualified and flexible in the locations or positions you will consider. Keep an open and positive mindset, and the right role for you is out there!

Applying for a Temporary Work Permit and Permanent Residence

To work as a nurse in Canada, you will first need to obtain a temporary work permit. This permit will allow you to gain Canadian work experience that can strengthen your application for permanent residence.

Submitting a Job Offer

To apply for a work permit, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer. The employer will need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to show that no Canadian citizens or permanent residents are available for the position. With an LMIA and job offer in hand, you can apply for a work permit.

Applying for a Work Permit

You will need to submit an application for the work permit along with the LMIA and job offer. The application fee is $155 CAD. You will need to provide proof of identity, language test results, evidence of funds, and a medical exam. Processing times vary but often take 3 to 4 months.

Gaining Permanent Residence

After working in Canada for at least a year, you can apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. As a nurse, you are well positioned to gain admission through Express Entry, a points-based system. You will receive points for your job offer, work experience, language skills, age, and education.
Those with the highest scores in the Express Entry pool are issued an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. You will need to submit an electronic application and if approved, the permanent residence application fee is $550 CAD. The CEC program aims to process most applications within 6 months.

By following the proper steps to obtain the necessary work permit and gaining valuable Canadian work experience, you will be on track to achieve the goal of permanent residence and career success as a nurse in Canada. With hard work and persistence, you can build a new life in this welcoming country.


What are the requirements to apply for nursing positions in Canada?

To apply for nursing positions in Canada, you will need to meet several requirements. First, you must hold an accredited nursing degree or diploma. The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing accredits nursing programs in Canada. Second, you will need a license to practice as a registered nurse in the province or territory you wish to work in. Each province and territory has its own regulatory body that oversees nursing licensure. Finally, as an immigrant, you will need a work permit to legally work as a nurse in Canada. Some employers may sponsor qualified immigrant nurses for work permits.

What is the process for obtaining a work permit and visa sponsorship?

The process for obtaining a work permit and visa sponsorship as an immigrant nurse in Canada involves several steps:

  • Find an employer in Canada willing to sponsor you. Employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove no qualified Canadians are available for the job.
  • The employer submits an LMIA application on your behalf to Employment and Social Development
  • Canada (ESDC). If approved, they will receive an LMIA confirmation letter.
  • The employer provides you the LMIA confirmation letter to apply for a work permit. You must submit the application with the letter to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • If your work permit application is approved, you can apply for a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada. You must bring your work permit approval letter, job offer letter, and other required documents to the Canadian port of entry.
    Once you arrive in Canada, you must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and provincial health insurance to begin working. Your employer can then formally hire and onboard you as a new nurse.

After working in Canada for some time, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through programs like the Express Entry system or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

In summary, obtaining a nursing position in Canada with visa sponsorship involves diligent preparation, finding an employer to sponsor your work permit, going through the proper immigration application processes, and ultimately gaining valuable Canadian work experience that can lead to permanent residence.

With hard work and persistence, immigrant nurses have pathways available to build a successful career in Canada.

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