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B.C. to Ease Licensing Process for Internationally Educated Nurses

Published on: April 26th, 2022

British Columbia is investing $12 million to fund initiatives that will help internationally educated nurses become registered and licensed faster in hopes of addressing the province’s nurse shortage.

Find out how you can immigrate to Canada as a nurse

On April 19th, the government of British Columbia announced a series of measures aimed at easing the registration and licensing process for internationally educated nurses (IEN). As part of the initiative, B.C. will offer $9 million in bursaries for 1,5000 IENs to help pay for the various expenses related to the licensing process.

What changes will B.C. invest in?

Currently, the process of becoming a registered and licensed nurse in B.C. is lengthy and costly.  It involves multiple assessments and applications, which can cost over $4,000 CAD. If the IEN wants to be assessed for multiple streams (licensed-practical nurse, registered nurse, health-care assistant) the costs continue to grow.

To ease the financial burden of the licensing process, B.C. will provide bursaries for 1,500 IENs ranging from $1,500 CAD to $16,000 CAD.

The B.C. government is also consolidating the assessment process, so that IENs can be assessed for multiple designations at once, reducing the costs associated with multiple assessments.

To help navigate the complicated licensing process, B.C. is also investing in creating new nurse navigator positions. These individuals will help to guide IENs through the complex assessment and licensing process. Nurse navigators will also assist IENs by providing support through job placement and relocation information. IENs can access these resources on the government’s Health Match BC website.

Immigrating to B.C. as an IEN

The program is expected to remove barriers for IENs who want to practice as a nurse in B.C. The British Columbia Nominee Program (BCPNP) is also making it easier for IENs to immigrate to the province.

The province recently started holding targeted nominee draws for healthcare workers; the draws invite qualifying healthcare workers and require a lower score requirement than general BCPNP draws. Healthcare candidates must be eligible under one of BCPNP’s Skills Immigration streams.

As Canada faces a considerable labour shortage, provinces across the country are proposing changes to help internationally trained newcomers work in their fields. In October 2021, the Ontario government proposed legislation to remove barriers for internationally-trained immigrants, enabling them to work in their professions or trade. As Canada’s labour shortage grows, more provinces are expected to follow suit.

Provinces across Canada are increasingly reliant on immigration to fill labour market gaps. With an aging population and declining birth rates, immigration is more important than ever.


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