Internationally-trained doctors and specialists with the necessary skills to fill healthcare positions in Nova Scotia may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Nova Scotia under the Physician Stream.

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) launched the Physician Stream to support Nova Scotia's public authorities — the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Health Centre— to employ general practitioners, family physicians, and specialist physicians to work in the province and help alleviate healthcare labour shortages.

Nova Scotia's physician stream is open to internationally-trained doctors.

The Physician Stream allows the NSHA and the IWK Health Centre to recruit foreign physicians to fill positions that they have been unable to fill with a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. 

Eligibility Requirements for the Nova Scotia Physician Stream

Criteria Eligibility Requirement
Legal status in their country residence 

If you are living in Canada, you must provide proof of your legal status as a temporary worker or visitor.

If you apply from outside Canada, you must provide proof that you have legal status in your country of residence.

If you have lost your status, you are not eligible to apply until your status has been restored.

Approved offer with the NSHA or the IKW Health Centre

The approved offer is for an opportunity as a General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112) or specialist physicians (NOC 3111).

The approved offer letter must be on official NSHA or IWK letterhead and must:

  • be signed and dated by a person authorized to hire physicians at the NSHA or IWK;
  • be signed and dated by the applicant who is accepting the opportunity;
  • indicate eligibility for licensure with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NS; and
  • indicate that the applicant is eligible to apply for privileges and credentials with NSHA and the IWK.
Education and training 

Provide a copy of an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) or show proof of education and medical training required for licensure in Nova Scotia.

Language ability

The ability to perform the job in one of Canada’s official languages as evidenced by an employment offer from the NSHA or the IWK.


Application and Assessment Process

  1. The first step in applying for the Nova Scotia Physician Stream is to gather and prepare all the application materials. It is important to review the Forms and Supporting Documents Checklist prior to submitting an application.
  2. Prepare and submit an application online by creating an account on Nova Scotia's online service or via email to the NSOI.
  3. Once an application is submitted to the NSOI, the NSNP conducts a complete evaluation beginning with an eligibility and completion check.
  4. Next, the NSOI issues a decision on the application. If approved, the applicant will receive a letter form the NSOI to confirm that a nomination has been issued and the NSOI will be send proof of nomination directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If the NSOI intends to issue a refusal, the applicant will have 10 business days to provide additional information before being re-assessed. Once a final decision is made, the NSOI does not perform an appeal process. 
  5. If nominated, the applicant may request a letter of support from the NSOI to apply for a temporary work permit or the renewal of an existing work permit. The letter of support replaces a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) when applying for the new work permit. The work permit allows an applicant to continue working in Nova Scotia while a Canadian permanent residence application is being processed by IRCC.
  6. During the permanent resident visa application assessment, IRCC may invite the applicant for an interview and (if applicable) a spouse or dependents must demonstrate that they meet statutory requirements for medical, security and criminal admissibility. If approved for a Canadian permanent resident visa, the applicant, the applicant's spouse and dependents will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. The nominee must contact the NSOI within 30 days of arrival to the province. 

Who is not eligible to apply for the Physician Stream

Individuals should not apply to the stream if they are:

  • a candidate who has received a nomination under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program dated within the last 12 months; 
  • an applicant under humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a refugee claimant or a failed refugee claimant;
  • not legally present in your current country of residence; 
  • in Canada illegally, under a removal order, or are prohibited from entering or being in Canada;
  • an individual who does not have status. You are not eligible to apply until your status has been restored;
  • an international student who is currently studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution; 
  • an international graduate who has studied in Canada, whose studies have been sponsored by an agency or government and who is contractually obligated to return to their country of origin; or
  • an individual with unresolved custody or child support disputes affecting any dependent.

Complete a free assessment form to discover your options for Canadian immigration.

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