Between February and April 2020, Canada lost around three million jobs and average unemployment rate soared from around 5.6 percent to 13 percent. However, this doesn’t mean your dream of finding a job and settling in Canada is over.

Canada has recovered more a third of the lost jobs and has added more than 1.2 million jobs between May and June 2020. So, it’s time to think big and to try and understand the sectors that will rebound faster as economic recovery gains more steam.

Nursing—the Next Sunshine Sector

Health is Wealth, this cliched adage does not seem so boring anymore. The virus’ impact has made countries realize the importance of having adequate public health facilities. With more focus on healthcare, it’s obvious that there will be a surge in demand for medical professionals, including nurses, across the globe.

Canada was staring at a shortage of nurses even before the Covid-19 pandemic occurred. This may prove to be a blessing in disguise because Canada has the necessary immigration programs and policies to attract qualified nurses from foreign countries.

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Canada Staring at Acute Shortage of Nurses—a Fantastic Opportunity for Foreign Nursing Professionals

Wide Definition of a Nursing Aide

The National Occupational Classification matrix defines the occupation to include nurses trained to be employed in hospitals and medical institutions as well as hospices and other setups.

Of course, you cannot expect to be hired in a medical institution in Canada without complying with applicable regulations imposed by the provincial authority. However, there are numerous opportunities, beyond hospitals, where nurses can explore jobs as caregivers and other less-formal jobs as well.

Existing Immigration Options

Nursing is a skilled occupation, which means foreign nurses can apply through the Express Entry application system. You must qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker program to enter the EE pool. While not mandatory, a job offer from an eligible employer will boost your score and increase your chances of getting an ITA.  

Provincial nomination programs of British Columbia, Yukon, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia seek to attract nurses through one of these options.

  • An in-demand occupation—Nova Scotia and Yukon
  • Through separate PNP stream—Manitoba (outside the Capital Region) and British Columbia
  • Through a nursing resource strategy for EE FSW applicants— New Brunswick

The Path Ahead

Since the pandemic, one province—Nova Scotia—has already conducted Labour Market Priority Occupations draws targeting foreign nurses.

Despite being in the news for reducing its immigration targets, the province of Quebec too has made it easier for nurses to immigrate to Canada. The province has announced a pilot project specifically targeting foreign nurses and nursing attendants.

This pilot has an annual target of 550 nursing aides, which is a fairly good number. Further, considering how the Atlantic pilot program is now set to be a permanent immigration program, there is the possibility that Quebec may end up with a nurse-centric immigration program for many years ahead.

To end with another cliché, every dark cloud has a silver lining—this is definitely true for foreign nurses exploring options to immigrate to Canada.

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