Nursing in Canada: How to japa to Canada as a Registered Nurse


Nursing in Canada is among the most in-demand jobs in the world, and it is predicted to remain so for a while. It is common knowledge that Canada is in need of nurses. She needed nurses before the pandemic, and she needs nurses even more now. Canada is an excellent destination for nurses looking to relocate, and I’ll be showing you how to take advantage of this opportunity.

Why should you consider nursing in Canada?

If you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons why Canada is a dream work destination for nurses around the world;

High Pay: Registered nurses are paid $75,660 per year and $48.50 per hour. Do the numbers in your head and I trust that dollar signs will appear in your eyes. Canada is one of the top three highest paying countries for nurses in the world.

Free healthcare and education: There is health security in Canada and education for your children is free until after grade 12. Could there be a bigger steal than that?

Tolerance: Canadians are welcoming and kind. They are also very accepting of beliefs, cultures and religions. In addition to being part of Canadian culture, the freedom of religion is also protected by both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Nurses’ Average Annual Salary in Canada.

Average Salary by Occupation (CAD)

  • Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors $86,609-$59,963
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses $75,712-$75,680
  • Allied primary care practitioners $80,950
  • Dental hygienists and therapists (dental nurse) $39,975 
  • Practical nurses who are licensed $49,837
  • Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates $24,375

The minimum requirements necessary to migrate to Canada as a nurse.

In order to work as a nurse in Canada, there are a few minimum qualifications you would need to have. These qualifications are dependent on the different types of nurses in Canada (this will be discussed soon). 

You will first need to be qualified as a nurse in Nigeria and possess a working license. You will also need to demonstrate that you’re as qualified as someone working at your level as a nurse in Canada.

Experience is also important. It would be easier to migrate with two to five years of experience within the nursing profession.

It is important to note that there is no national registering body for nurses in Canada. Each province has its own regulatory body and assessment process. So, saying you would like to migrate to Canada as a nurse is too broad. You will have to pay attention to exactly where.

Different types of nurses in Canada 

RN Nurses: Registered Nurses 

A registered nurse usually completes four years of university training in both clinical and theoretical medical instruction. This prepares the registered nurse to either give direct care or coordinate care for a group of people in a healthcare setting. If you’re a certified RN in Nigeria, you just have to qualify as one in Canada and you’re well on your way.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

They usually complete a two-year post-secondary nursing program. Their education is generally based on nursing theory. An LPN performs professional administrative and clinical duties under the instruction of a RN (Registered Nurse).

Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPNs)

They go through a two-and-a-half to four-year training period. They are trained in theory and clinical instruction in psychiatric and general nursing. They also provide care for patients with complex psychosocial, mental health, and physical needs. If you’re a registered psychiatric nurse, you should do thorough research. Search for guidelines that will help you determine if your education meets the entry level requirements of a registered psychiatric nurse in Canada.

Three ways to move to Canada as a nurse.

Express Entry

This is focused on skilled workers who want to move to Canada. Express entry works on a point-based system or CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System). This system ranks your profile according to age, skills, and education, work experience, language levels, and adaptability.
You participate by creating an online Express Entry profile. It might be necessary to learn how to create an express entry profile first. You would then be entered into a draw pool, which takes place every 2 weeks. The highest-scoring candidates will be selected to receive an ITA (Invitation to Apply) for permanent residence in Canada.

The Provincial Nominee Program

You can take advantage of this if you’re a skilled worker with a valid job offer that is in demand in a particular province or territory.
Remember when I said that you had to pay attention to where exactly you’d be relocating to? Each province/territory has its own program with in-demand occupation lists designed to meet the individual needs of its labour market.
When you choose a region, you will need to send an Expression of Interest to relocate. If you’re successful, you will receive a provincial nomination. This is worth 600 points added to your CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System). This automatically guarantees that you will receive an Invitation to Apply for Canadian Permanent Residence.

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot

This is an employer-specific pilot. It is aimed at helping Canada’s Atlantic provinces and territories develop economically. You can move to Canada if you have a valid job offer in one of the participating communities, which are in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador.
There are some requirements for this. You will have to show that you intend to live in the community and have a qualifying job offer. You would also get a recommendation from your designated community organization. You will need to meet other requirements, such as having at least 1 year of full-time, non-seasonal work experience, meeting the minimum language and educational requirements, and having enough settlement money.

Note: It is important to determine your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. This code differs according to your occupation description. You can start your search here.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Migrating to Canada as a Nurse

Step one : Assessment of Academic Credentials.

Your credentials would have to be assessed to see if they meet the required standard for practising as a nurse. It is a mandatory step in which your credentials would be assessed by World Educational Services, an organization authorized by the Canadian Government to carry out education checks and verification.

Step two: Getting your credentials recognized in Canada.

This is handled by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), and you would need to create an online account. Here your credentials will be converted to a North American standard and then evaluated to see if they meet the Canadian standard.

The assessment process by NNAS costs $650 and is the first mandatory stage in securing both your Canadian Visa and your Nursing Registration in Canada.

Step three: Submission of Documents.

When the assessment is completed, you’d have to create an NNAS application on the application page. You will be required to submit some documents at this stage, and some of them are:

  • Notarized Photo ID with signature (passport/driver’s license or others).
  • Educational documents.
  • Mark sheets.
  • Degree certificates.
  • Transcript.
  • Course curriculum.
  • Other academic records.
  • Registration in the nursing council within the country where you are currently practicing, the registration documents must be sent by the licensing authorities.
  • Employers form with whom you have worked within the last 5 years should complete this form and send it to NNAS.
  • IELTS/CELBAN test reports: The CELBAN – Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses or the IELTS – International English Testing System are two common tests that provide an honest score to help you prove your English proficiency. The score needed for IELTS is: Academic format – speaking 7, listening 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 7, overall 7. The test scores needed for CELBAN are: speaking 8, listening 10, reading 10, writing 7. 
  • Any document that’s not in English or French has got to be translated into English before sending it.
  • All copies of certificates must be notarized. Provide the telephone number and address of the notary.

Step four: Choosing a Canadian province.

As soon as all documents have been received by NNAS, you would submit your application and choose the provincial association and nursing group you’d be applying to. You would need to choose a province where your skills, qualifications, and experience as an internationally qualified nurse match the province’s specific requirements. It doesn’t have to be the best province to work as a nurse in Canada, as long as it works for you. Make this decision after searching the list and the requirements.

Step 5: Application 

Here you’d be applying to the nursing medical board in your chosen province or territory. NNAS will send completed files to the provincial regulatory bodies so that they can make the final decision about your eligibility to practice nursing in Canada.
The provinces will use the report to judge your international nursing skills, experience, and qualifications against those laid down by their respective Nursing Boards.
One of two outcomes usually occurs at this point. Either way, an application will progress with an applicant being invited to sit a provincial final nursing exam leading to full licensing and registration, or a candidate will be invited to undertake a bridging course of study.

Step six: Choosing one of the major immigration options 

Remember the three major ways to move to Canada? Here you’d be choosing between Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. This depends on the one that suits you best.

Step seven: invitation to apply

The last step involves receiving your Invitation to Apply via the Express Entry program, via Provincial Nomination or selected based on your securing a formal job offer in Canada.

Final notes

When you relocate to Canada on a permanent residency, you’d not only be allowed to live and work in Canada. You can also enter and leave without restriction, study and have your children study in Canada. You’d have access to Canadian healthcare and social benefits. Best of all, after four years, Canadian Permanent Residency for nurses immigrating to Canada converts to citizenship and Canadian Nationality!

Practicing nursing in Canada is a dream come true. This dream can be your reality if you want it to be. This is your cue to start on your migration plans today!

Best wishes on your relocation journey.

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  1. This post is packed with too much information @Isabella . Look at me wishing I were science inclined. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Well, well, well, for you looking to move to Canada as a nurse, stop procrastinating and follow these steps highlighted above.

  2. Thank God my baby sister will be rounding up her nursing school soon…. She has been ranting about Canada this and that for a while, she will be excited to read this… Thank you for this Ella