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General Requirement on how to register as a Nurse in Canada

General Requirement on how to register as a Nurse in Canada

Employers in Canada who want lasting solution to their human resource issues are given room to get in contact with their provincial or territorial governments to get information on programs planned to bring foreign workers as permanent residents.

The government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program permits qualified foreign workers to work in Canada for a certified period of time if employers can show that they could not hire appropriate Canadians or permanent residents to take up the jobs and that bringing in these workers into Canada will not impact negatively on the Canadian labour market.

Employers from every form of businesses can employ foreign workers with a broad range of skills to meet short-term labour shortages.

Three Canadian Departments: The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada (the service delivery arm of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) and the Canada Border Services Agency all function together to supervise and provide the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Points of Contact

Service Canada Centres

Service Canada is the organization that processes applications from employers for LMOs and sees to it that every essential requirement is fulfilled.

An LMO is an opinion supplied by Service Canada to CIC which estimates the possible impact hiring a requested foreign worker(s) may have on the Canadian labour market. Service Canada Centres process foreign worker requests (LMO applications) in each province.

Temporary Foreign Worker Units

The Temporary Foreign Worker Units in Montreal and Toronto, provide guidance to employers who wants to employ foreign workers who may be free from from obtaining a Work Permit or from the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process by making available an opinion to make easy the entry of workers into Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

CIC and its visa offices at Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates outside Canada process applications for work permits to establish who may be eligible to work in Canada. In a number of situations, CIC is the first point of contact for a lot of foreign workers who want to work in Canada, even though under specific situations, you may be allowed to apply for a work permit at a port of entry.

Canada Border Services Agency

Border Services officers screen foreign workers at Canadian border crossings and airports to make sure that they fulfill admissibility requirements before they issue the immigrants work permits and allow them to enter into Canada.

A Border Services officer makes the final decision on whether you are allowed to enter Canada or not. Officers can refuse entry to you if they think you do not meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Things to Know Before Starting the Process

  • To be hired by any employer in Canada, the employer must normally obtain a positive LMO as well referred to as an employment confirmation from Service Canada, except the work category is exempt from the LMO  To establish if you are exempt from the LMO process, your employer must contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • If an LMO is required, your employer must obtain the employment confirmation before you can apply for a work permit as a foreign worker.
  • When applying for anLMO, your employer must be able to show:
    • the efforts he or she has made to recruit and/or train Canadians or permanent residents who are keen about the job and available to take it;
    • that the wages he or she is offering are equivalent to the standard of the established wage rate paid to Canadians in the same occupation in the locality;
    • that the working conditions for the occupation meet up with the current provincial labour market standards; and
    • any possible benefits that the hiring you may have on the Canadian labour market like creation of fresh jobs, transfer of skills and knowledge, and so on.)
  • In a number of instances, you may be allowed to apply for a work permit at a Canadian visa office abroad.
  • Depending on their country of citizenship, foreign workers may need a temporary resident visa (TRV) to be admitted into Canada.
  • Depending on the type of work you will take up in Canada and where you have lived in the previous year, you may as well be required to go through a medical examination before you are allowed to enter Canada.
  • You may be refused a work permit and entry into Canada by a Border Services officer (irrespective of whether your prospective employer has provided evidence to show employment confirmation if you are found inadmissible for some reasons, which may be on criminal, security or medical grounds.

4 steps involved in being hired as a foreign worker in Canada

In a number of instances, there are four steps involved in hiring you as a temporary foreign worker to work in Canada.

The necessity of fulfilling every one of the steps will depend on the specifics of the job proposal and your country of citizenship or country where you last lived as a permanent resident.

Your employers and you must make sure that you make available precise and comprehensive information or the application process may be delayed.

The four steps are:

  1. Determine if you need anLMO
  2. Apply for anLMO from Service Canada (if needed)
  3. Your employer advises you to apply to the CIC for work permit if required.
  4. A Border Services Officer at a port of entry issues you with the work permit

Step 1: Determine if you require an LMO

As stated above, a few categories of work do not need LMOs depending on international agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement or the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and government policy.

If You think your Job Offer is Exempt From an LMO

It may be essential for your employer to obtain verification of the LMO exemption from CIC. The employer may decide to e-mail or fax “opinion requests” straight to the CIC Temporary Foreign Worker Unit situated in Montreal or Toronto.

To be able to get a well-timed and correct response to the inquiry, immigration officers at the CIC Temporary Foreign Worker Units will need the information provided below.

If an officer does not think that an LMO exemption applies to your case, your employer would be asked to complete an Application for a Labour Market Opinion and post it to the Service Canada Centre serving your area of business.

LMO Exemptions

Information needed by an Immigration Officer regarding the details of the job offer includes:

  • Copy of job offer and employment contract
  • Description of the duties, wages and working conditions
  • A declaration of essential qualifications
  • Registrations or licenses that you the applicant may require
  • Language requirements, if pertinent
  • Starting and ending dates of the position

Employment details

  • Name and address of your employer
  • The location of the company where you will be employed as foreign worker
  • Location of any parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the company
  • Proof that there is no ongoing labour disagreement at the location where this worker will be employed

Employee’s details

  • Your Name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your citizenship
  • Address in country of residence
  • Your work experience
  • Educational qualifications
  • Professional or trade licenses

For LMO exempt jobs

  • The airport or border crossing at which you will enter Canada
  • An explanation as to why the job offer should be exempt from theLMO process

Step 2: Applying for an LMO

Service Canada makes available an LMO to your employer and CIC. The LMO is an assessment of the possible impact that the hiring you as a foreign worker may have on the Canadian labour market.

Categories of Occupations Generally Requiring LMOs

High-Skilled Occupations: Requests to hire skilled foreign workers in high-skilled occupations commonly need an LMO, but as stated earlier, some forms of work don’t need an LMO.

Lower-Skilled Occupations: Applications to employ foreign workers in occupations that typically require at most a high school diploma or job-specific training will probably need an LMO.

Seasonal Agricultural Workers: Applications to employ seasonal agricultural workers from any foreign country will need an LMO.

Live-in Caregivers: Applications to employ live-in caregivers under the Live-in Caregiver Program will need an LMO.

If the Job Offer needs an LMO

Your prospective employer will need to complete an Application for a Labour Market Opinion and submit it to the suitable Service Canada Centre in your locality.

Service Canada examines the following factors when an LMO application is submitted:

  • The job where the foreign worker will be employed
  • The wages and working conditions provided to the foreign worker
  • The employer’s ad and recruitment efforts to hire Canadians/permanent residents
  • The related labour market benefits that may occur from hiring the foreign worker (e.g., transfer of new skills/knowledge, creation/retention of jobs,and so on.)
  • Consultations with structured labour organization if the position the foreign worker will occupy is part of a bargaining unit
  • Resolving if the entry of the foreign worker is expected to affect the settlement of an ongoing labour dispute.

Please note that for specific occupations, your employer may as well be required to submit an employment contract which will be taken as part of the LMO assessment.

If the LMO is Positive

Service Canada will issue an employment verification and your employer will obtain a response in writing which he or she ought to forward to you alongside a copy of a signed job offer and employment contract (if required.).

It is only then; you can proceed to apply for a work permit either at a visa office abroad, a port of entry, or from within Canada if officially permitted to do so.

Note that a positive LMO does not certify that a work permit will be issued to you as the foreign worker. Visa and Border Services officers can refuse your work permit applications and deny you entry into Canada if they resolve you do not meet the qualifications needed by the LMO or is otherwise inadmissible to Canada.

If the LMO is Negative

Service Canada will inform your employer in writing of a negative decision. If he or she disagrees with the Service Canada decision, and have fresh information that may affect the decision, he or she may submit the information to the Service Canada Centre shown on the refusal letter.

The application will then be re-assessed taking into consideration the new information you have submitted.

Step 3: Work Permit Application

In the majority of instances, foreign workers need to apply for and get a permit to work short term in Canada. Below are job categories that are exempt from a work permit requirement.

Individuals who may apply for a work permit at a port of entry:

  • All nationals or permanent residents of theS., and residents of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon
  • Individuals whose work does not need anLMO
  • Individuals who need anLMO, in so far as the positive opinion has been granted before entering Canada

Individuals who must apply for a work permit outside Canada:

  • All individuals who need aTRV
  • All individuals who need a medical examination
  • International youth exchange program participants that are notS. citizens and permanent residents of USA
  • Seasonal agricultural workers
  • Live-in caregivers

Information Needed to Apply for Work Permit

Every visa office abroad may have variable processes which will be listed on their individual websites.

A visa officer has the right to request for specific information from foreign workers. Some of the pieces of information that may be required are:

  • Proof of identity
  • A valid passport or travel document that certifies re-entry to the country that issued it
  • Two photos of the foreign worker and two photos of all the family accompanying family members
  • A copy of the job offer or signed employment contract
  • A copy of the positiveLMO issued by Service Canada (even if a visa officer can access the LMO online, it is recommended that you have your own copy
  • Proof of your current immigration status in the country where you are applying from. This applies to you if you are applying from outside Nigeria.

Other Requirements for Work Permit Applications

  • The processing fee for a work permit application is $155.
  • The fee for processing aTRV is $100.
  • If you require aTRV and a work permit, the total processing fee is $155.
  • The fee for accompanying family members that require aTRV is $100 each.
  • You may be required to go for an interview if the visa office requires additional information to establish whether you are eligible to get a work permit.

Medical Examinations

You are commonly not required to go for a medical examination if your employment terms are for six months or less. Nonetheless, you will require a medical examination under the following situations.

  • You will be employed in an occupation in which the protection of public health is necessary. Follow the link to go to the list of occupations that need a medical examination.
  • If you will be employed for a term above six months or have lived for six or more consecutive months in a country whose citizens need to go for a medical exam in the year prior to the year you are submitting your applications.

The visa office will issue you with the essential medical documents, which includes a list of local medical practitioners approved by CIC to carry out the medical examinations.

You must pay the examination fee straight to the medical practitioner.

If you are eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry and you need a medical certificate, you must illustrate that you have passed immigration medical requirements prior to your arrival in Canada. A Border Services officer will not permit you to enter Canada without affirming that you have been given a valid medical certificate.

Processing Times

The duration of time required for processing work permit applications may differ depending on the location where the application is submitted.

A visa officer can refuse your work permit application if you are found to be inadmissible for any of the reasons below. If you:

  • have failed a medical examination;
  • Have a criminal record
  • Are considered to constitute a security risk
  • have not fulfilled the criteria and standards depicted in the job offer given to you by the employer
  • have not satisfied the visa officer that you will leave Canada at the end of the period of employment.

The visa office will notify you of its decision in writing.

During the time your work permit is being processed abroad, your employer ought to maintain constant contact with you to get up to date information on the status of their applications.

If your overseas application for a work permit is approved in theory, you will receive a letter that explains you are eligible for a work permit. It is significant to know that this letter is not a work permit.

You are required as a foreign worker to provide the letter to a Border Services Officer at a port of entry when you arrive in the airport about to enter Canada.

Step 4: Port of Entry

To enter Canada, you as a foreign worker must have the following documents to show to a Border Services officer:

  • a passport or travel document that is legally binding for the period of the authorized stay, except the citizens of the United States, or residents of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon
  • a signed job offer and/or employment contract
  • an approval letter for your work permit application issued by CIC (if required)
  • a copy of Service Canada’s positive LMO (if necessary)
  • a copy of the confirmation by a CIC Temporary Foreign Worker Unit that the job offer is exempt from a work permit or LMO (if relevant)
  • evidence of credentials: education, professional and work experience (if pertinent)
  • a temporary resident visa (if relevant)

You may be refused a work permit or entry into Canada at the port of entry if the Border Services officer thinks that you do not fulfill the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

This guide is to give you a better idea of the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program and determine if you would be eligible to relocate to Canada and if immigrating to Canada is a better option for you.

Canadian government welcomes internationally educated nurses. This part of this guide talks about different ways you can immigrate into Canada to work and live and the basic requirements. The demand for nurses in Canada has led to the government of Canada opening its door to nurse immigrants from other countries under both temporary and permanent immigration categories.

If you were trained as a nurse in Nigeria and have worked as a nurse in Nigeria, you already probably have a good deal of the basic requirements to work in Canada.

The nursing association in each province and territory of Canada determines the requirements for foreign educated nurses who want to be registered in Canada. The programs available to make the process easy for nurses will make the move easy and enlighten you the more about the Canadian health-care system, assist you with language barriers, and make sure that you have the knowledge and skills needed to work as a nurse in Canada.

As soon as you meet the requirements for the province or territory where you want to work, the next thing you must do is to apply for a license and write a licensing exam.

A registered nurse or licensed practical nurse looking for permanent residency in Canada has different immigration options to pursue. You can explore the benefits of the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) immigration program.

Nurses with international credentials may as well apply for temporary residency in Canada if they get a legitimate job offer and subsequent work permit.

If you decide to explore this option, you may be eligible for permanent residency later through a different immigration category after you have immigrated to Canada.

Different immigration options for Nurses who want the get registered and work in Canada

  1. Applying for a permanent Residency Visa from the province of Quebec as a registered nurse

The Province of Quebec has an immigration policy that shows its high demand for nurse due to their fast evolving health care system. The nursing jobs available in Quebec pay high salaries. Quebec is in search of the best international nursing professionals who want to work in its cities and towns.

The Quebec Skilled worker program (QSW), the Quebec’s most popular program for permanent residency, has been organized in a manner that benefits qualified nurses.

The QSW program provides foreign trained nurses an opportunity to apply for permanent residency in Canada without any requirement to first obtain a job offer.

The QSW program is a points-based selection system and points are awarded for different factors which include age, education, field of training, work experience, language proficiency and so on.

If you scores sufficient points to reach the pass-mark, you will commonly qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate, which eventually results to a Canadian permanent resident visa, if you don’t have any health or security issues.

The QSW selection procedures give a significant number of points to those who can speak French well. Nevertheless, under QSW program a lot of nurses are able to get high enough points to qualify them without obtaining any points for French language proficiency.

This is due to fact that nurses are able to obtain lofty points for the “field of training” eligibility factor. They are as well given high points for their education.

To get additional information about the QSW program and its eligibility criteria, follow this link.

  • Temporary Residency: The Work Permit Option:

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) predicts a nonstop shortage of nurses in Canada in future. Thus, nursing jobs in the country are increasingly more abundant.

Foreign trained nurses may apply to work temporarily in Canada. Temporary residency for foreign trained nurses can be achieved if you have a legitimate valid job offer and afterward obtain a work permit.

To start the process, if you have a nursing degree from outside Canada, your educational credentials must be assessed to check if they meet with the Canadian nursing education standard.

Due to the fact that the educational credentials can be verified from both within and outside Canada, applicants are proffered the option to stay in their country of origin or residence during the period that the verification is going on.

After the verification of the educational credentials, applicants have to register as a nurse in Canada. When the process of registration is completed, you may start the process of securing a job offer and work permit in Canada.

To make the process securing job easy, a few individual provinces have services that assist to link foreign educated nurses to employment opportunities in Canadian healthcare communities.

As soon as you start to work in Canada on temporary basis, if you want to obtain a permanent residency certificate, you may explore other immigration options through immigration programs like the Canadian Experience Class or Provincial Nominee programs.

Permanent Residency

If you don’t want the Quebec option and think that the temporary residency is not your best bet, you may wish to explore the permanent residency immigration option.

Apart from the Quebec permanent residency option,  you can as well explore the Federal Skilled Worker program option that allow qualified Nurses to achieve permanent residency without the requirement of first obtaining a legitimate job offer.

Nevertheless, the Quebec permanent residency program and the federal permanent residency program are both highly competitive and only applicants with excellent skills and experience together with high English or French language proficiency will be eligible to apply under these programs.

If you have sent application to a particular province for registration, it may as well be helpful for you to check if the province has as special immigration procedure in place to assist foreign trained nurses to immigrate and work in the Canadian health institutions.

Like many countries all over the world, Canada has a demand for qualified nurses. With the suitable educational credentials, nurses can easily immigrate to Canada and work in the healthcare industry. Qualifying as registered nurse to work in Canada is not done on the federal level but on a province to province basis. However, you must first of all make the initial application to NNAS.

  • Attaining professional designations like LPN, RPN, RN, RN-SFA and

RNFS and explaining what the terms are and how to qualify for them

Although the government of Canada allows foreign trained nurses to immigrate into Canada to work in Canadian health sectors, there are specific steps that you must take achieve this and start work as soon as you arrive in Canada.

Nurses who want to work in Canada must obtain the professional designations like LPN, RPN or RN and have to fulfil the compulsory education requirements for a nurse in Canada. Any nurse that intends to work in Canada ought to be qualified to practice as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed/Registered Practical Nurse (LPN/RPN).

To be eligible, you must register with either the Canadian Nurses Association (CAN) or the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators (CCPNR).

The initial step is to have all your qualifications and work experience verified and converted into North American standards by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).

To start the process, you must as well have a clear idea about which province or provinces of Canada you intend to live and work in. It’s significant to note that registration requirements differ from province and territory, and that as aspiring nurses; you must be assessed by the nursing regulatory body of the province or territory you want to live in and work as a nursing professional.

As an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) you must set up an account with NNAS before your application will be looked into by any Canadian nursing regulatory body. All IEN’s must pay the application fees and submit compulsory education and work experience documents to be verified.

As soon as you have finished completing your file, NNAS will assess it and provide you with online access to an Advisory Report, which contains the results of the assessment. NNAS will as well send a copy of this report to the appropriate nursing regulatory body.

Once NNAS has sent the assessment report to the regulatory body in your chosen province, you must proceed to the regulatory body and your nursing registration application fee. You can do this from your NNAS online account.

The regulatory body has the responsibility of determining your eligibility for registration and not NNAS. The regulatory body will as well determine if you require extra verification or if you have to take up supplementary courses.

It is also the regulatory body that would make the final decision on your application for registration as a foreign trained nurse into Canadian health care system.

Nursing roles and status you must attain as a nurse to be eligible to apply for Canadian nursing license

It is nurses who have post-secondary education in nursing can apply for nursing registration and licensure in Canada.  Individuals with other training or education are not eligible, including nursing courses at a secondary or high school level.

The following information may assist you to decide which nursing profession is best suited to your interests, education and credentials gotten outside of Canada.

It is recommended that you go through this part of the guide before you start your application process.

In Canada, nursing profession is basically made up of four regulated nursing groups:

  • Registered Nurse (RN),
  • nurse practitioners (NPs),
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), also known as registered practical nurse in Ontario
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN)

The name “nurse” can only be used by those professionals who are licensed or registered by the nursing regulatory body, college or association in one of the Canadian provinces where they plan to work.

Every province and territory has its own regulations which help them to protect public health and safety.  It as well ensures that nurses meet up with the required standards.

There is no federal or national registration or licensure process for nurses in Canada. Every province has its own regulatory body and assessment procedure. 

Registered Nurse (RN)

RNs normally complete a four year university nursing program after their secondary school to become a generalist registered nurse.

The program is made up of theory and clinical instruction in medical and surgical nursing. RNs make up roughly three-quarters of the regulated nursing workforce and are the country’s largest single group of health-care providers as stated by Canadian Institute for Health Information.

It incorporates in-depth study of concepts, like the following:

  • humanities,
  • nursing theory,
  • physical and biological sciences,
  • primary health,
  • professional ethics,
  • social and behavioural sciences, and
  • Therapeutic relationships.

The program prepares the RN to provide direct care and to take on the role of coordinating care for individuals, families, groups, communities and populations in a variety of health care setting and with a range of health professionals. Clinical instruction equips the RN to take a leadership role when the care requirements turn into a more convoluted structure.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario

LPNs are nurses who complete a post-secondary nursing program at the college level that normally takes two years.

The program for general LPNs is made up of nursing theory and clinical instruction in both medical and surgical nursing. Their education is focused on nursing theory, and they study the following courses:

  • physical and biological sciences,
  • professional ethics
  • psychology, and
  • Therapeutic relationships.

LPNs offer and coordinate care for individuals, families, and groups in a lot of settings and with a selection of health professionals. They can work with clients of different complication, and able to realise when it is necessary for them to collaborate and consult with other health professionals.

Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) 

RPNs complete a 2 ½ to 4 year psychiatric nursing education program in a college or university. The program is made up of theory and clinical instruction in psychiatric and general nursing. It provides in-depth study in:

  • behavioural and social sciences
  • biological and physical sciences
  • general nursing
  • humanities
  • professional ethics
  • psychiatric nursing theory and interventions
  • theory and clinical hours*
  • therapeutic relationships

RPNs offer care for clients with multifaceted psycho-social, mental health and physical issues. They organise care for individuals, families, groups, communities and populations in a lot of health care settings, with a lot of health care professionals.

RPNs are regulated to practice only in four Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – and in the Yukon Territory. Follow this link to get additional information on registered psychiatry nursing in Canada and this link for Registered Psychiatric Nurse Entry-Level Competencies.


After going through these requirements for nursing careers in Canada, you may be eligible to apply for registration/licensure as an RN, LPN or RPN. For registration and licensure in any of the three nursing groups, you may need additional training and/or evaluation of your nursing knowledge. To apply for registration/licensure, click here.


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