Canadian Immigration News

Why the Nursing Shortage in Canada Provides Opportunities for Immigrants

2.5 minute read
"Canada is facing such an acute shortage of nurses that there simply isn’t enough time to train new workers fast enough to meet the demand. This has proven to be a golden opportunity for highly-skilled foreign workers looking to immigrate to Canada."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Aug 4, 2021
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Canada is facing such an acute shortage of nurses that there simply isn’t enough time to train new workers fast enough to meet the demand. This has proven to be a golden opportunity for highly-skilled foreign workers looking to immigrate to Canada

It has been especially good news for many applicants in nursing programs. The University on West Coast recorded a 31% increase in enrollments to its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The interest in graduate nursing programs has almost doubled in the last year. 

In Ontario, students are increasingly changing their study programs to nursing. Enrollment applications to the nursing schools have increased by 17.5% in the last year. 

Why Is Canada Facing a Shortage of Nurses in the Healthcare Sector?

The official government website for employment,, predicted a shortage of 36,500 nurses in Canada by the end of 2028 before the pandemic even began. The website stated in 2019 that job openings for registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses are expected to be at 191,100 by 2028 with only 154,600 new job seekers available to fill them. So while the healthcare industry is expecting more workers, there simply aren’t enough to fill the shortage of nurses.

Where Are the Opportunities for Foreign Workers with Nursing Backgrounds?

In Canada, the average registered nurse annual salary is $71,877 or $36.86 per hour. Junior positions start at $57,803 per year and senior roles make up to $81,670 per year. Since there is a shortage of nurses in Canada, there simply aren’t enough people to fill that many jobs. Therefore, it is an excellent opportunity for temporary foreign workers in Canada and abroad with nursing credentials to immigrate to Canada.

According to a report by Statistics Canada, immigrants in the Canadian healthcare workforce are over-represented and under-employed. In 2015-16, foreign workers occupied 22% of all healthcare positions, however, only 16% were employed. 

What Are the Major Source Countries for Foreign Nurses?

In 2015-16, 5% of all employed immigrants in Canada worked in nursing or healthcare positions. Most of these immigrants came from the Caribbean and Bermuda, West Africa and Central Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southeast Asia.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently launched 4 new permanent residence (PR) pathways:

These new pathways intend to invite temporary workers in the healthcare sector and increase the Francophone community outside Quebec. 

Does Quebec Immigration Offer Any Opportunities for Foreign Nurses?

Quebec also introduced a new immigration pathway known as the Orderlies Pilot Program for nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates. This new immigration pathway is for foreign workers in the following occupations:

NOC 3011- Nursing Co-ordinators and Supervisors

NOC 3012- Registered Nurses and Registered Psychiatric Nurses

NOC 3124- Allied Primary Health Practitioners

NOC 3233- Licensed Practical Nurses

NOC 4412- Home Support Workers, Housekeepers, and Related Occupations

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