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Canada’s Immigration Strategies to Increase Healthcare Workers in Canada with a Spotlight on British Columbia and Saskatchewan 

Government of Canada Immigration Initiatives for Healthcare Workers

In Canada, immigrants account for approximately 1 in 4 healthcare workers. Immigrants make up 23% of registered nurses, 37% of pharmacists, 36% of physicians, and 39% of dentists. The healthcare sector across Canada is experiencing unprecedented worker shortages. With a total of 96,000 unfilled healthcare positions in Canada at the end of 2022, the Government of Canada has sought to increase immigration of healthcare workers. To do so, Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada has made changes to the Express Entry program, Canada’s major economic immigration program for permanent residency. The Government of Canada can now issue specific invitations to apply for permanent residency to health workers, including doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, and optometrists. Since the end of June 2023, two rounds of invitations have been issued, with a total of 2,000 healthcare workers being invited to apply for permanent residency.

Provincial Immigration Initiatives for Healthcare Workers

British Columbia 

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program enables the province to select and nominate foreign workers, international students, and entrepreneurs to help meet BC’s labour needs. If you are nominated by the Province, you and your family can apply to IRCC to become a permanent resident of Canada. Healthcare workers are a priority occupation in British Columbia for the Provincial Nominee Program. Priority occupations are specified occupations that have been identified by the Province of BC that may be invited to apply in periodic targeted draws. In August 2023, the Province nominated 127 healthcare workers for permanent residency through the BCPNP category draws.


In Saskatchewan, there are three different immigration categories that may allow foreign health care professionals to immigrate and obtain permanent residency. These categories are:

  • Saskatchewan Experience: Healthcare Professional
  • International Skilled Worker: Employment Offer
  • Hard-to-Fill Skills Pilots

A worker based in Saskatchewan with six months of full-time work experience in the province as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional can be nominated through the SINP Saskatchewan Experience Healthcare Professional category.

If you are an international healthcare worker looking to immigrate to Saskatchewan, you can create an expression of interest profile (EOI) to be contacted about job opportunities relevant to your skill set by the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) or Health employers. If you are selected and receive a job offer, you may be eligible to apply in the SINP International Skilled Worker: Employment Offer stream, or the Hard-to-fill Skills Pilot stream. This EOI profile provides the opportunity to link foreign trained healthcare professions with Saskatchewan healthcare employers. However, you are not required to use the EOI profile if you are able to independently get a valid job offer from a Saskatchewan employer. The International Healthcare Workers EOI system is open to many occupations including pharmacy technicians, dental assistants, therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nurses, public health professionals, chiropractors, midwives, psychologists, physiotherapists, nurse’s aids, and more.

Sierra Immigration Alliance Services

If you are a healthcare worker looking to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent residency, please do not hesitate to reach out to Sierra Immigration Alliance. Our immigration lawyers and consultants would be happy to assist you on your journey through the provincial nominee programs and Canada’s express entry program. Obtaining permanent residency in Canada is highly sought after and is a competitive process with many specific requirements to be met. If you are an international healthcare worker, you may be able to take advantage of the increase in immigration options for such workers during this Canada-wide industry shortage.


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