Express Entry Programs for Nurses


The pandemic has exacerbated Canada's nursing shortage. To fill the job vacancies in this industry, we offer paths to permanent residence for foreign nurses.

Even before the pandemic, Canada was already experiencing a shortage of nurses. The federal and provincial governments have added programs to encourage more nurses into the workforce since March 2020 when COVID-19 struck the world.

For example, Ontario plans to invest $342 million over the next five years in order to hire more than 13,000 health care workers to the province. BC promises to pay up to $16,000 for approximately 1,500 nurses who are internationally educated to pay application fees, English language testing, and education upgrading. Quebec has also committed $65 million to train and recruit nearly 1,000 nurses from francophone nations.

You might be curious about how to move your career to Canada with all the incentives available for nurses. You might also want to find out about immigration programs available for those already in Canada.

We will not be listing all the immigration routes for nurses. Canada is home to more than 100 programs for economic immigration. Nursing is frequently considered "skilled" work, so nurses might be eligible for any program that requires "skilled" work.

Eligibility is determined by the NOC code and the skill level.

Nursing is one of the two categories included in the National Occupation Classification by Canada. The code for registered nurses and psychiatric nurses is NOC 3012. NoC 3233 licenses licensed practical nurses. They fall under skill level A.

These codes and skills are crucial in determining whether you are eligible to apply for certain immigration programs, which other criteria you need to meet, and whether or not you were invited for a provincial draw. These are important to remember when you read about Canadian immigration programs.

Express Entry Programs for Nurses

Nursing professionals may be eligible to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class. The Express Entry system manages these federal immigration programs.

Express Entry is an online system for processing federal immigration applications. Canadian hopefuls can submit their profiles and receive a score based on the Comprehensive Rating System (CRS).

Express Entry candidates are awarded points based on their skills, education, and official language proficiency, among other factors. Bi-weekly Express Entry draws invite the highest-scoring candidates to apply for permanent residence.

Although CEC and FSWP applicants were unable to be drawn during the pandemics, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that they would resume their positions in July. The processing time for new applicants will be extended to six months.

FSWP eligibility

FSWP applicants must have at least one year of continuous work experience in a skilled occupation within the last 10 years. You can have work experience abroad. FSWP applicants must also score a Canadian Language Benchmark 7 in English and French on each of the four language skills: speaking, reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They must also score at least 67/100 on the six-factor test, which assesses their education, language skills, and whether or not they have a job here.

CEC eligibility

CEC requires that the applicant has one year of work experience in the past three years. Work experience must have taken place in Canada. A CLB 7 is required for those applying with NOC skill level 0 or A experience (such as registered nurses). A CLB is required for those applying with NOC skill level C experience.

While neither program requires that a person have a job offer in order to be eligible, having one can increase your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Program

While the federal government has the final say in who can immigrate to Canada from other countries, certain candidates can be nominated by the Provincial Name Program (PNP). Some PNPs can be dedicated to nurses while others require work experience. PNPs may hold special immigration nomination draws for nurses.

There are many programs that welcome nurses in different provinces. Sometimes, PNPs draw from Express Entry and invite candidates to apply for a provincial nomination. These candidates receive 600 CRS points in addition to their Express Entry score if they are nominated. This award is sufficient to invite the candidate to apply for permanent residence.

Here's a list of PNP pathways available to nurses.

  • Ontario welcomes nurses to apply through the Human Capital Priorities stream.
  • British Columbia has a category for Healthcare Professionals under its Skill Immigration or Express Entry paths.
  • Saskatchewan recently launched an International Health Worker EEOI pool, specifically for nurses.
  • Nova Scotia's Labour Market Priorities Stream sometimes holds draws inviting nursing professionals to submit for a nomination.
  • New Brunswick's Internationally Educated Nursing program provides a pathway for foreign nurses with fluency in English and French.


Quebec has its own immigration system. Canada retains the final decision on Quebec immigration applications. However, Express Entry and the PNP are not available in Quebec.

Quebec instead offers the Regular Skilled Workers Program as well as the Quebec Experience Program. These programs may be available to nurses. Both programs require workers to have a working knowledge of French.

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