Alberta Sees Exponential Rise In Applications From Internationally-Trained Nurses

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Alberta Sees Exponential Rise In Applications From Internationally-Trained Nurses
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Alberta has seen a surge in applications after the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta moved to overhaul its application process last month and make it easier for internationally-trained nurses to get the clearance they need to work in the province.

“The numbers have increased exponentially,” Andrew Douglas, an executive director at the college, reportedly told the CBC.

The changes to speed up the application process went into effect on Apr. 4.

Since then, the regulator’s call centre has reportedly received more than 7,000 inquiries, almost 1,200 people have started the application process, and the college has issued 672 permits.

By comparison, in the entire four years that ended last year, the CRNA received only 582 applications.


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According to Douglas, the most common source countries for nurses seeking to get their credentials recognized to work in Alberta in the past five years have been the Philippines and India.

“[It’s] allowing more registered nurses to come into the health system to provide patient care,” Douglas reportedly said. “And as we know, there are workforce challenges right now, so this is really helping to get nurses into Alberta.”

The streamlined process unveiled by the regulator comes as the province itself is further trying to open up its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to healthcare workers, refugees and entrepreneurs willing to operate businesses in rural areas.


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Under changes announced Apr. 3, foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) will now have to make a minimum investment of only $100,000, half of the previously-demanded $200,000 under the program’s Rural Renewal Stream.

But the need for communities to demonstrate proper settlement plans remains in place.

“Communities are still required to complete a settlement plan as part of the designation application process to demonstrate adequate supports are in place to effectively welcome newcomers,” notes Alberta immigration on its website.

Alberta Is Recruiting Healthcare Workers Through Its AAIP

The westernmost Prairie province, which has recently been given the green light by Ottawa to grow its provincial nominations by 67 over the coming three years, is also actively recruiting healthcare workers through the AAIP.

Last month, the province also announced it is going to use up to 30 per cent of its available Express Entry allocations this year to nominated healthcare workers under its Dedicated Healthcare Pathway.

“Physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, physician assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers are eligible,” notes Alberta immigration.


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“Eligible healthcare professionals must have an Alberta job offer with an employer in the healthcare sector in Alberta, and must have verifiable proof of meeting the minimal requirements prescribed by the applicable regulatory organization to be able to practice in Alberta.”

Foreign nationals with the qualifications to work in Canada as nurses can use their expertise to seek out jobs here and gain their permanent residency through the many economic immigration programs at the federal and provincial levels, including through the Express Entry system, one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or the Skilled Worker program in Quebec.

Through the Express Entry system, nurses can often qualify for the FSW, provided their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) profile scores highly enough.

Nurses can also qualify to come to Canada through the Skilled Worker program in Quebec if they score 50 points or more on the province’s selection grid.

Registered nurses who hold a university degree in nursing, registered psychiatric nurses who hold a bachelor’s or post-grad degree in psychiatric nursing, and licensed practical nurses, or registered practical nurses in Ontario, with post-secondary diplomas in nursing, are all welcome in Canada.

Internationally-Trained Nurses Must Have Their Credentials Recognized

The first step for a nurse eyeing Canada as a destination for immigration is to have his or her academic credentials evaluated to see if they are up to Canadians standards.

The Canadian government recognizes five organizations for the assessment of foreign educational credentials:

  • World Education Services (WES);
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS);
  • Comparative Education Service (CES);
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), and;
  • International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).

Once the educational and background checks have been completed, the next step is for the prospective immigrant to have those nursing credentials recognized in Canada by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), a step that costs US$650.

The second step in the process for the foreign national looking to immigrate to Canada as a nurse is to create a profile on the NNAS application page.

That requires:

  • the submission of two pieces of identity that must be notarized, copes of original documents that have been signed, dated and stamped;
  • a completed nursing education form that can be downloaded from the website filled out, and signed before being sent to the school where the nurse was educated for that school’s officials to complete and then send directly to NNAS along with academic records or transcripts, course curriculum and course descriptions and syllabi;
  • submission of the nursing registration form which is to be sent to the nursing licensing authority where the nurse is currently registered in his or her home country;
  • the nursing practice/employment form which must be signed and sent to all employers the nurse has had over the past five years for them to complete and send to NNAS, and;
  • the prospective applicant for immigration’s IELTS language testing results, which must be sent directly to NNAS from an approved language-testing organization or company.

Provincial Nursing Associations Receive Applications From Internationally-Trained Nurses

After that has been done and the documents have been received by NNAS, the nurse can submit his or her application and pick the nursing group and provincial association to which they wish to apply.

These include:

  • British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals and Midwives;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta;
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association;
  • Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Nurses of Ontario;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec;
  • Nurses Association of New Brunswick;
  • Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Nova Scotia College of Nursing;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Northwest Territories, Registrar, Professional Licensing, Health and Social Services;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Nunavut, Department of Health;
  • Yukon Registered Nurses Association, and;
  • Government of Yukon, Yukon Department of Community Services.
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Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.