My experience as a nurse immigrating to Canada

Immigrating to Canada as a nurse

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The journey so far has been nothing short of challenging. I was the first child of my house, a whole lot of people looking up to me, and even less looking out for me. The struggle and hustle were mine alone. I was going to be a Doctor or rather was told to be a Doctor.

I mean with the loads of people I had to cater to, I either had to be a Doctor or perform nothing short of a miracle. Mind you, I was not to just become any kind of Doctor, I was only permitted to be the kind that would earn all the big money and travel to fine fine places and move everyone related to me from the village to the city.

The Challenge

The only thing my parents did was remind me, constantly, that I had a whole lot of responsibilities and I could not afford to disappoint everyone. Knowing that all I had to not disappoint everyone was just myself, I put in all the work I knew was needed. Unfortunately for me, destiny, like I would like to believe, had other plans for me as I soon found myself studying to be a nurse and not a Doctor.

I knew my parents would have a fit, so I left out that piece of information. At least, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would still get to work in a hospital, very close to a Doctor for that matter.

The singularly taken journey was not an easy one, but lo and behold I did o good for myself. But I knew that if I wanted to do better for my family, I had to explore my options. Canada seems like a good option especially since I found out some very interesting facts.

You should be aware that it is quite easy for a registered Nigerian nurse to migrate to Canada to relocate from Nigeria when you have knowledge of the necessary procedures. 

It dawned on me, after all my research, that Canada had a massive need for nurses than ever. The recent hike in the investment of Canadian Immigration Ministry and the increasing invitation in Permanent residents throw light into the increase in demand for nurses in Canada.

The entire Canada immigration program is based around what is called a CRS point. Once you are able to achieve a pretty high CRS point, 80% of your job is done. The CRS cut off point for each month is announced each month. So, there is no constant figure for it.

Nursing options available

Nursing options available in Canada

I then realized there were various nursing options in Canada as well. Nursing falls under the 3012 NOC Code & Classified as a Skilled Level A. I could apply for a license in any province of your choice to be a Mental Health Nurse registered psychiatric nurse (R.P.N.), nursing consultant, intensive care nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, nurse researcher, clinical nurse, A&E nurse, Community Nurse or public health nurse, Registered nurse, critical care nurse, or as a Nurse practitioner. 

I was amazed at the various options but excited as well as each various category came with their own specific pay, all I had to do was decide on which one would be a perfect fit for me. That took a lot of thinking and planning I must confess as different provinces in Canada have their own mandatory qualifications, regulations & requirements that must be met before one can work as a nurse in Canada.

The first thing I had to do was get my credentials accessed by National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) what that meant was that I had to covert my qualifications into a North American standard.

Then NNAS will go-ahead to verify your credentials, compare & evaluate credentials to the Canadian standards, store credentials. I was eligible for NNAS evaluation because I graduated from a college or university nursing program outside Canada, have never worked as a Nurse in Canada, want to work as a RN, LPN, or RPN in Canada.

NNAS Application

National Nursing Assessment Service Form

After the evaluation, the next thing I had to do was submit a NNAS Application. First, I had to visit here to create a NNAS Application here, then I had to submit two Proof of Identity documents to NNAS.

I realized later that the documents I was required to submit must be notarized by a government-approved official, signed with a seal indicating that they have seen the original documents, made the copies, can certify that they are true copies. I had to do a lot of walking, talking and negotiating but I eventually got all I needed.

For my proof of Identification, I needed either an International Passport, Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, Legal change name Affidavit, or a Marriage certificate

Nursing education form

Next, I needed to submit a Nursing Education Form. this particular form can be accessed once you’ve registered online on NNAS website. The form must be sent directly by your school to NNAS either by mail or courier. An individual is never required to send their form to NNAS themselves. The school must send it. 

To submit the form, I downloaded and printed from NNAS online account and sent it by the nursing licensing authorities where I was licensed and registered outside of Canada. Next, I was required to submit my Nursing Practice Employment Form, do note that the form must be completed and sent directly by your employer by mail or courier to NNAS.

Then I had to submit my IELTS Language Testing results. However, if your first language is English/French get an exemption letter from your school. After submitting the documents to NNAS, I still had to submit my application and choose what province and the nursing group I was applying to. The NNAS Main application fee is $650 USD. 

NNAS will then send an advisory report to the provincial regulatory body you initially selected upon registration. Once the regulatory body receives the report from NNAS, I was requested to start the process with them. 

Provinces, Qualification Available and Regulatory Body Involved include:

  • British Columbia – RN & PN: British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals. 
  • Ontario – RN: College of Nurses of Ontario 
  • Saskatchewan – RN: Saskatchewan Registered Nurse Association. 
  • Manitoba – RN & PN College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba Practical Nurses College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba 
  • Alberta – PN & RN College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta College & Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta For a complete list of regulated bodies

Once NNAS has been completed, I had to complete registration with any of the Nursing provincial regulatory bodies that I decided on for the NNAS application form. 

Identification of immigration bodies

Immigration bodies available to nurses in Canada

After the registration with the Nursing provincial regulatory body, I had to Identify the Immigration Program that suits me. The various options include: 

(a.) Express Entry (EE):  Fees breakdown: – EE Application fee- CAD1040. – WES – CAD230. – IELTS – Dependent on Country (DOC). – International Passport – DOC. – Medicals – DOC. – Biometrics – DOC Proof of Funds amount needed: No. of Family – Funds Needed 1 – $12,960 2- $16,135 3- $19,836 4- $24,083 $3,492 for any additional member. 

(b.) Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW)

(c.) Provincial Nomination Program (PNP): – British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) BC PNP is created specifically for physicians, nurses, psychiatric nurses & RN practitioners. British Columbia needs more health care professionals. 

The Skills Immigration (SI) – Healthcare Professional category of the BC PNP helps physicians, specialists, nurses and allied health professionals work in B.C. and gain permanent residence.

Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) This is a great program for nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. 

Privileges accrued as a Canadian immigrant nurse

As a Canadian immigrant nurse rights and privileges afforded me as the main visa holder are passed onto partners and children automatically. In fact, if you have a partner as at the time you apply, your partners’ skills, education and qualifications may even make your overall application even stronger.

You should also note that when you Immigrate to Canada as a Nurse on Permanent Residency, you and members of your family get to live and work in Canada, Enter and leave without restriction, Study in Canada, Access Canadian Healthcare, Access social benefits, Apply for Citizenship and Dual Nationality after four years, Enjoy protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Best of all, Canadian Permanent Residency for those immigrating to Canada as a Nurse converts into Citizenship and full Canadian citizenship after four years.

While you enjoyed the story, make sure you remember these important details:

– Do the NNAS evaluation/registration. 

– Then proceed to do the Province regulatory body registration/assessment. 

– Select the immigration method that suits you. 

– Process and submit your application.

If you would have rather stayed in Nigeria to practice as a nurse, then let me know in the comment section. Ensure you share your experiences so far as well, I will be looking forward to reading them.

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