Immigration Corner | A nurse considers prospects in Canada
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a nurse in Jamaica with over five years' work experience. A friend told me that Canada needs nurses and that the pay is good. How do I apply to work as a nurse in Canada? I have a half-sister who lives in Montreal who would be willing to help me, but I do not speak French. I also have an aunt in Ontario, but I would really prefer to live with my sister. What is the average pay for nurses in Ontario versus nurses in Quebec? How long would it take to process my application?
The Canadian Nurses' Associations predicted that approximately 60,000 nurses will be needed by 2022 to fill the labour shortage. Registered nurses who become permanent residents can work in a wide array of jobs such as nurse practitioners, nurse researchers, specialised nurses (burn patient, dialysis, cardiology, nephrology), nurse instructors, psychiatric nurses, nurse technicians, to name a few.
Nurses are generally paid based on education and years of experience. Generally, they are paid from a low of CAD$21.75 per hour a to high CAD$40 per hour. In acute care, new graduates are paid approximately CAD$30.17 hourly or an annual salary of CAD$58,831.50. The full-time registered nurse base rate range runs from first-year pay of CAD$28.08 an hour (CAD$53,040 a year) to 25-year pay of CAD$40 an hour (CAD$78,000 a year), according to the Ontario Nurses' Association. Acute-care nurses with five-years' experience are paid CAD$36.12 hourly for an annual salary of CAD$70,434.
Compensation to nurses who choose to live in remote areas can find that their compensation can double. Nunavut nurses' base salary is between CAD$81,081 and CAD$120,900, plus, there is a northern allowance of up to CAD$34,555, an annual special allowance of CAD$19,500, and signing and monthly retention bonuses.
The rules are slightly different if you wish to immigrate to Canada as a Quebec-selected skilled worker. The application must be done in two stages. First, you must apply directly to the Quebec government for a certificate of selection (CertificatÈ de sÈlection du Quebec). Quebec will evaluate your credentials, and once selected and granted a certificate, you may apply to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence.
Nurses in Quebec receive an average salary ranging from CAD$50,000 - CAD$60,000 annually. Due to nursing shortages throughout the province of Quebec, there are many opportunities to earn even more, especially if you speak French.
It should be noted that Quebec is a French-speaking province and a significant number of points are awarded to candidates who are proficient in both French and English, although it is possible to be selected if you are able to maximise your points for English language. I recommend that you get a minimum of 8.5 in each category in the English training exam to maximise the points for language.
Many nurses with a degree from Jamaica have been successful in receiving permanent residence under the express entry programme for all provinces and territories except Quebec. Remember, Quebec has its own rules that must be followed.
The key is to ensure that you are able to meet the minimum requirements in order to be accepted into the express entry pool. Some of the requirements to qualify are:
1. Must complete a minimum of a three-year degree in nursing;
2. Full-time work experience within the past five years;
3. English language and/or French language proficiency;
4. If married, spouse's age and education will add bonus points;
5. Be self-sufficient and have settlement funds based on the number of people in your immediate family.
Nursing is an excellent field, and there are a number of opportunities available to you here in Canada. You appear to be an excellent candidate for express entry and could garner the required comprehensive ranking scores to receive an invitation to apply quite quickly. In fact, it is expected that by June 2017, an additional 15 points will be awarded to individuals that are permanent residents or citizens of Canada who have adult siblings.
Once you have submitted your completed application, you could receive permanent residence in less than six months.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777.