Canada’s healthcare sector is currently dealing with a ‘endemic’ shortage of healthcare professionals across the country. Burnout and staff shortages are widespread in the industry. According to Statistics Canada, the number of job openings increased by nearly 92 percent from September to December 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic period.
In a recent interview, Paul-Émile Cloutier, CEO of HealthCareCAN, stated that “the situation is concerning, and the system is bleeding people at all levels.”
In light of the situation, the federal government of Canada has promised $1.5 million in funding to remove barriers for immigrants wishing to work in the healthcare sector in Canada. Sean Fraser, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s immigration Minister, announced that “the $1.5 million funding will help newcomers to work in the Canadian health sector faster.” The funds are intended to promote collaboration and information sharing in the sector. It will also help foreign-educated healthcare professionals get their credentials recognised faster.
This new initiative is based solely on the success of the National Newcomer Navigation Network, an online platform for international healthcare workers interested in working in Canada.
Canada Desperately Needs Nurses
The pandemic has undoubtedly increased the demand for nurses and other healthcare professionals in Canada. Prior to the pandemic, Canada was dealing with a nurse shortage and had established several immigration pathways for healthcare professionals.
Nurses are classified as one of two occupations in the federal government’s National Occupation Classification (NOC). Regulated nurses and psychiatric nurses are classified as NOC 3012, skill level A, while licenced applied nurses are classified as NOC 3222, skill level B. These skill levels are critical because they determine which immigration programmes nurses are eligible for.
Nurse Express Entry Programs
Nursing professionals may be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The Express Entry system manages these two federal immigration pathways.
It is the federal government’s online immigration application system. In order to receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, interested Canadian immigrants submit their profiles to the pool. Express Entry applicants are assessed based on factors such as their skilled work experience, age, education, and language proficiency, among others. In the biweekly draws, the applicants with the highest scores will be invited to apply for permanent resident status.
Because of the pandemic, CEC and FSWP candidate draws have been halted. However, IRCC intends to resume draws on July 6. In addition, the processing time for the new application would be reduced to the standard 6 months.
Eligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program
This programme requires applicants to have a minimum of one year of continuous work experience in a skilled occupation within the last ten years. Work experience can be gained in another country. An FSWP candidate must have a CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) score of at least 7 in either English or French on all language abilities: writing, speaking, reading, and listening. In addition, applicants must score at least 67 out of 100 on a six-factor test that assesses their education level, language skills, and employment in Canada.
Eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class
A year of skilled work experience within the last three years is required by the CEC. The work experience in this programme must have been completed in Canada. Applicants must have a CLB 7 and work experience at the NOC 0 or A skill level when applying (Registered Nurses). Applicants with NOC skill level B must have a CLB 5. It is not necessary to have a job offer to participate in this programme; however, having one may increase the likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
Nursing Provincial Nominee Program
While the federal government has the final say on who can immigrate to Canada, provinces can nominate a few applicants through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Some PNPs are committed to encouraging qualified nurses to apply for provincial nominations. PNPs frequently hold immigration nomination draws for nurses.
Several provinces have multiple nurse recruitment programmes. If these candidates are nominated, 600 CRS points are added to their Express Entry Score. Here is a list of some of the Provincial Nominee Program nursing pathways.
- Nurses are encouraged to apply through Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream.
- Under its Skills Immigration and Express Entry pathways, British Columbia has a Healthcare Professional category.
- Saskatchewan has recently established an International Health Worker EOI pool for nurses.
- The Labour Market Priorities Stream in Nova Scotia occasionally holds draws in which nurses are invited to apply for a provincial nomination.
- The Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) programme in New Brunswick is a route for foreign nurses who speak English or French.
Province of Canada Quebec has its own system of immigration. While the federal government has the final say on immigration applications from Quebec. The Quebec Experience Program and the Regular Skilled Worker Program are both available in the province. Nurses are eligible to apply to either programme. Workers must be fluent in French in order to pursue either path.