Canadian Immigration for Qualified Healthcare Professionals
Author: ASIF ANWAR
There are opportunities for qualified healthcare professionals who graduated outside Canada, to immigrate in one of the thirteen provinces or territories of Canada. International healthcare graduates can apply in the Federal Skilled Worker Program of the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) programs.
To complete the Express Entry profile, foreign qualified doctors require an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report. The foreign qualified doctors, however, must get their final medical degree/diploma source verified by the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) and then request for an ECA report before applying for immigration.
There are better chances to get a provincial nomination from a province or a territory through an express entry stream pool. The provinces and territories have direct access to the express entry portal, allowing them to view and nominate applicants from the pool. On confirmation of nomination by any province or territory, applicants are awarded up to 600 additional points which are added to the Comprehensive Raking System (CRS) score. The additional points are enough to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) in the next round of invitations.
Applicant’s Express entry profile is the official source of information for Canadian and Immigration Canada. It is important to follow the guidelines to complete the profile. In most cases, guidelines are country specific. Building an effective express entry profile involves various required steps and demands high standards of accuracy. The CRS score is determined based on information in your profile, including age, education, language (proficiency in one of the official languages of Canada), and skills and experience. One needs to have the highest-ranking scores to get an Invitation to Apply. You can get more score if:
You are between the age of 20-30
You have two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees
You have a master’s degree or professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession or Doctoral level university degree
You have 3+ years of Work Experience
You have scored 7+ (preferably 8) in IELTS
You have a good score in French (as, 1st or 2nd language)
You get Provincial Nomination
You have Siblings or relative(s) in Canada
You studied in Canada
You have a Job offer in Canada
You have Canadian work experience
There are also spousal factors for a higher score like:
Level of education like the principal applicant
7+ (preferably 8) in IELTS
3+ years of Work Experience
Siblings or relative in Canada
Qualification recognition for Doctors
(General Practitioners/Family Physicians/Specialist Physicians)
Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is an organization to assess all medical school graduates and IMG who intend to practice in Canada. If you are applying for an immigration program as an International Medicine Graduate (IMG), it is important to first carry out the source verification of your final degree by MCC to ensure it is authentic. You may also need to get your medical degree assessed by Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to complete your Express Entry profile. ECA is important to determine that your degree is comparable to the Canadian medical school degree. Pertinent to note here that ECA report does not give you a license to practice medicine in Canada. There are, still, other requirements like appearing in medical exams, postgraduate training and further requirements from the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities, before licensure.
You may initiate the verification and credential recognition process by:
Checking your medical school degree from the World Directory of Medical School to verify that your medical school is listed;
Applying for source verification of degree by the Medical Council of Canada (MCC); and
Getting your medical degree assessed by Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
To establish that IMG has the medical degree and clinical skill at par with Canadian medical graduates, IMG must have to take additional steps and pass Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Part II. Once IMG passes MCCQE and other requirements, it is not a license to practice medicine in Canada but is a pre-requisite for eligibility for residency training programs for full licensure by the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities.
Each year provinces and territories have a varying number of residency training program positions for IMGs. In addition, there are also relating specific requirements each IMG must meet. IMG who passed MCCQE and satisfactorily completed at least 12 months of postgraduate clinical training (or an acceptable equivalent) are eligible to get a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and a Certificate of Registration is issued. The Certificate serves as a proof of qualification and registration, for licensure practice application, to provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities, and membership(s) of organizations like:
Some provinces such as British Columbia and Nova Scotia also have their provincial healthcare professional streams to attract qualified healthcare professionals. British Columbia Healthcare Professional targets health professionals like physician, specialist, registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, nurse practitioner, allied health professional such as: diagnostic medical sonographer, clinical pharmacist, medical laboratory technologist, medical radiation technologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, Midwife (only if a letter of confirmation issued by an established practice group in B.C.). Likewise, Nova Scotia has a Physician Stream, whereby, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre (IWK) hire family and specialist physicians, and general practitioners to work in Nova Scotia.
Qualification recognition of Nurses
The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) provides initial assessment services for internationally education nurses (IENs) to practice in Canada. To become a licensed nurse, as a pre-requisite to registration and licensure, Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec having different procedures) require you to write NCLEX-RN exam (Canada’s entry-to-practice exam) from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
Qualification recognition of Midwifery
Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) is the national association representing midwives and profession of Midwifery. Although Midwifery is a regulated profession, it is a recognized profession only in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Internationally educated and trained Midwives may direct all queries relating to assessment, bridging programs or prior learning and experience to CAM or the provincial regulatory authority, association, organization or college, where they want to work.
Qualification recognition of Dentists
Graduate from an Accredited Dental Program
The accreditation of Dentists, Dental Hygienist and assisting education
is the responsibility of the Commission of Dental Accreditation of
Canada (CDAC). The Certificate of Licensure is issued and only following
are accredited programs:
American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA);
General dentistry programs accredited by CDAC or the Australian Dental Council (ADC);
General dentistry programs accredited by CDAC or the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ); and
General dentistry programs accredited by CDAC or the Irish Dental Council.
Although graduates of the above dental programs are accredited to become a licensed dentist in Canada, the applicants must successfully have to complete the National Dental Examining Board of Canada’s (NDEB) certification process. The applicants may also be required to appear in jurisprudence tests, provide additional documents and proof of language proficiency to Dental Regulatory Authorities (DRAs). There is another advantage that this certification or component is also accepted in Colorado, Minnesota, and Washington (USA).
Graduate from a Non-accredited Dental Program
The internationally educated dentist (BDS/DDS/DMD) from Non-accredited Dental Programs must complete the NDEB Equivalency Process, which includes three assessments i.e., Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK), Assessment of Clinical Judgment (ACJ) and Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS). To start the equivalency process, the applicants have to apply to the NDEB Equivalency Process and Documents Verification. Depending on the equivalency process, either three assessments or Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK) and qualifying/Degree Completion Program, the applicants are equivalent to the Graduates from an accredited dental program and then must in the same way complete the NDEB’s certification process.
The Royal College of Dentists in Canada (RCDC) recognizes properly trained dental specialist. Applicants can accomplish the Dental Speciality by appearing specifically created specialty examinations and after sucessful completion of residency training.
Qualification recognition Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting
Dental Hygiene is also a regulated profession in Canada. In order to work as a dental hygienist in a province or territory, the applicant must meet all the licensing or registration requirements in order to register with the respective regulatory authority.
In Canada National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) is responsible for the assessment of credentials and qualifications. For applicants who graduated from an accredited Canadian or American dental hygiene program may apply to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination (NDHCE).
In case the applicant is graduated from a Non-Accredited Canadian or American, or International dental hygiene program, must have to apply at NDHCB for eligibility evaluation/assessment. On a positive assessment result, an applicant can appear and pass NDHCE. Otherwise, in case the education and qualification are not equivalent to Canadian Dental hygiene education, as a pre-requisite applicant must apply for admission into an accredited Canadian dental hygiene institution, to address and fulfil deficiencies highlighted in the evaluation letter. Upon successful completion of an accredited dental hygiene program, applicant must apply for a new eligibility evaluation and complete the regulatory authority’s other requirements and apply for licensing/registration.
The registration and licensure of dental assistants are conducted by the Canadian Dental Assisting Regulatory Authorities (CDARA). National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) is responsible to make sure that intra-oral dental assistants have the knowledge and skills required by the Canadian provincial or territorial regulatory authorities. The ‘Certificate’ issued by NDAEB is a pre-requisite for registration and licensure of CDARA.
For all queries relating to requirements of NDAEB Certificate may be referred to CDARA before registering for NDAEB written examination or Clinical Practice Evaluation (CPE). International applicants are required to provide proof of education substantially equivalent to the NDAEB standard. On successful completion of requirements, NDAEB issues certificates to dental assistants seeking registration/licensure of provincial "regulatory college", "board", "council" or "association" in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The contents of this paper are intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter.
Please refer to the designated authority, organization, board, ministry etc., for information on assessment, licensure, residency, permission to practice, settlement in Canada, and post-licensure/certification opportunities in the healthcare professions.
Depending on immigration program and individual circumstances, for all queries and legal advice please contact Asif Anwar