Internationally Educated RNs

Canadian or Internationally Educated RNs


What should I do first: Apply for immigration? Or apply to get my licence to practise nursing in BC before applying for immigration status?

You should start with applying for your licence to practice as an registered nurse (RN) or registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) from the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) or the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (CRPNBC). Once you have your licence, we will assist you in finding the right employer for you based on where you want to live in BC. Once you are hired, your employer will take care of your immigration status or work permit to enter Canada.

What about applying through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for landed immigration status as a nurse?

You can apply to the CIC under their Skilled Worker Program to enter Canada as a landed immigrant. However, it does not guarantee that you will be able to work as a nurse in BC unless you get a licence from the CRNBC or the CRPNBC to practise as an RN or RPN.

Where do I go to get a licence to practice nursing in BC?

Please read all of the licensing requirements on crnbc.ca or crpnbc.ca. You can also download the required application forms for obtaining a licence to practice as an RN or RPN in BC.

Will I be able to work part-time as an internationally-educated nurse (IEN)?

All IENs need to take full-time, permanent positions in order to get working permits to immigrate to Canada. Once you have worked in BC as a nurse for one year, you can apply for landed permanent status. You can then apply for a part-time position if you want to reduce your working hours. There are many flexible shifts aside from full-time hours. You can work half time, which is .50, or quarter-time .25, or even a third. There are many options. You will have to apply and compete for those positions once you are a member of the nursing union in British Columbia.

Can you give more information on financial benefits and assistance that may be offered? How can I take advantage of them? Is there a minimum term of employment to be worked if these benefits are taken?

When you receive a job offer, then you can negotiate with the employer for the relocation allowance. Depending on the location of the job, it can be anywhere from $5,000 to much more. We can’t quote the exact amount, however it can be quite good. It is up to the situation, the manager’s budget, and the position you were offered.

All of your health benefits are paid for, starting on the day that you start to work. Benefits include health care premiums, and extended care benefits which include dental care for you and your spouse. Employers also contribute to your retirement fund. Wages are negotiable, depending on your years of experience. However, this is also negotiable at the start, with an automatic annual increase every year. Nurses in BC are among the highest paid in Canada, therefore you’ll do quite well here.

Should I invest in getting my licence to practise nursing in BC at this time? I looked at the various health employers’ job postings and there seems to be very few opportunities for internationally-educated nurses.

It can take an IEN anywhere from three to 12 months to get a licence to practice nursing in BC.  Therefore, the current vacancy postings are not relevant to you at this time. By applying for a licence now, you will be able to consider jobs in the next one to two years.

What if I have obtained my licence to practice nursing in BC and there are no nursing jobs available?

This may happen, so you will need to keep applying and watch out for opportunities for new postings. Health Match BC will also be able to assist you, depending on your nursing specialty.

Can interviews for jobs in BC take place in the UK?

It depends on when you apply for a position. If we are coming to the UK with a hiring manager, then the interview can be set up ahead of time. However, most interviews are now done over the phone. Our managers are quite used to this kind of interview. We can help to coach you on this process when we are in the UK.

What assistance can you give to my spouse or partner to find a job?

We have an organization in BC called Skills Connect. Their role is to provide support and direction on how to access employment services and how to apply for positions in various industries.

What assistance can you provide to help us find a new home? Are there any short-term rentals that can be used for the first few months while we search for the ideal home?

We can assist by sending you information about the different websites for you to do your research. We can advise you on where to look to find temporary or short-term rentals and housing once you have a job offer.

Renting for a short period of time gives you a chance to get to know the community and your job site before consider buying. That way you will have a feel for where you really want to live before you invest in a property.

Once I am licensed as a registered nurse (RN) in one province in Canada, will I be able to work in all provinces or territories?

If you have obtained full registration as a registered nurse in one province, you can apply to the regulatory organization in another province for recognition of your full licensure.