Alexandra Miekus - 09 May, 2022
British Columbia has introduced financial assistance and services for internationally educated nurses to address shortages in this field.
The province will provide up to $16,000 to about 1,500 internationally educated nurses to cover everything from application fees to English language tests and educational upgrading.
In an April 19 press release, government officials said the funding will remove financial and administrative barriers in what is currently a complicated, expensive, and often multi-year process.
As part of this process, the provincial government is also creating new "nurse navigator" positions to assist foreign nurses through the assessment and licensing process.
In total, these initiatives will account for an investment of $12 million.
Long before the coronavirus swept the globe, Canada was already facing a nursing shortage, and this situation has become even more acute over the past three years.
British Columbia's unemployment rate is 4.9%, one of the lowest in Canada, a level not seen since the pandemic began.
In addition, B.C. government data suggests that one million jobs will need to be filled over the next ten years and that the health care sector is the fastest-growing sector for employment in the province. The B.C. government also reported that the health care and social services sector currently employs 56,100 more people than it did before the pandemic.
How to immigrate to Canada as a nurse
Two of Canada’s leading existing federal economic immigration programs are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). To be eligible for these programs, it is important to have skilled work experience.
The FSWP requires that the applicant have at least one year of continuous work experience in an occupation with a NOC skill level of 0, A, or B. This experience can be obtained anywhere in the world, as long as it was gained within the last ten years.
The CEC, on the other hand, requires one year of NOC 0, A, or B experience in Canada, within the last three years.
Neither program requires a candidate to have a job offer, but having one can significantly increase the chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply for Canadian permanent residence.
IRCC manages the FSWP and CEC through Express Entry. It uses what it calls the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to score and rank applications in the pool of candidates. The CRS scores candidates based on various factors such as education, work experience, language skills (English or French), and age. Periodically, IRCC draws from the Express Entry pool, selects the highest-scoring EE profiles, and sends them ITAs.
There are also several Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) for which nurses are eligible.
The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is managed by the British Columbia provincial government in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to meet the labour market needs of the province.
On March 10, 2022, the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced new changes to the BC PNP to address the province's critical need for health care workers. As part of the changes to the BC PNP program, the scope of eligible health care workers has been expanded to include any occupation with a full-time, indeterminate job offer from a health authority.