Nova Scotia To Step-Up Immigration of Healthcare Professions

Nova Scotia To Step-Up Immigration of Healthcare Professions

Peter Seeder Published:
October 14, 2023

In a late September announcement, it was revealed that the province intends to welcome foreign nationals who work primarily in the healthcare sector. This prospect arises from the expansion of a particular pathway within Nova Scotia’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

This development opens the doors to international students aspiring to pursue careers as paramedics and pharmacy technicians inside the province. The expansion initiative, disclosed jointly by Nova Scotia’s Minister of Health, Michelle Thompson, and the Minister of Advanced Education, Brian Wong, is a response to the province's plan to enhance the "International Graduates in Demand" (IGD) stream within its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This change is aimed at facilitating immigration for individuals in these healthcare professions, providing them with an opportunity to contribute to the local community and workforce.

Nova Scotia's Provincial Nominee Program (NS-PNP): International Graduates In-Demand Stream

Provincial Nominee Program (PNPs) allow local governments across Canada, except Quebec and Nunavut, to nominate specific candidates for permanent residence (PR) in their regions, targeting individuals who could help address the local labor market gaps. Under this new change in Nova Scotia’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), international graduates are eligible for immigration to Nova Scotia if they are seeking employment in occupations such as nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates (National Occupation Classification 2021: 33102), as well as early childhood educators and assistants (NOC 2021: 42202). The recent announcement broadened the eligibility criteria to include paramedics (NOC 2021, “Paramedical Occupations”: 32102) and pharmacy technicians (NOC 2021: 32124).

To qualify under this stream of Nova Scotia's PNP, interested candidates must meet specific requirements:  

  • Possess a full-time permanent job offer from a Nova Scotia employer in an eligible occupation,

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 55,

  • Have completed at least a high school education,

  • Have finished a course of study that is at least 30 weeks long within the last three years. (At least half of the qualifying educational program must have been completed in Nova Scotia),

  • Possess the necessary certifications required for the job,

  • Demonstrate official language proficiency at a level 5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB), and

  • Have sufficient financial resources to settle permanently in Nova Scotia.

This expansion signifies a more inclusive approach, inviting individuals in paramedical and pharmacy technician occupations to contribute to Nova Scotia's workforce and community.


Nova Scotia requires paramedics and pharmacy technicians

Nova Scotia is currently facing a demand for approximately 200 pharmacy technicians, as stated by the chief executive of Nova Scotia’s Pharmacy Association. Additionally, there is a potential for 150 to 200 paramedic positions for international students, as highlighted by Charbel Daniel, the director of operations for ambulance services provider Emergency Medical Care Inc.

Apart from paramedics and pharmacy technicians, there is a substantial need for skilled individuals in various healthcare occupations across Canada, indicating a broader demand for employable professionals.  


Other healthcare workers are also in demand

As per Randstad, a prominent employment agency and consulting firm, the most sought-after healthcare professions in Canada for 2023 include:  

  • Registered Nurses (155,400)

  • Personal Support Workers (34,500)

  • Healthcare Aides (191,000)

The Government of Canada predicts substantial job opportunities in these occupations from 2022 to 2031. These statistics underscore the urgent demand for additional healthcare professionals in both Canada and Nova Scotia.


Immigrating to Canada as a healthcare professional

To attract more healthcare professionals, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) has initiated Express Entry draws based on specific categories. The inaugural draw occurred on June 28, 2023. These draws aim to engage candidates for Canadian immigration who can assist in mitigating key labor market issues in the country. These draws are called ‘Categories-specific Express Entry draws’.

In 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is issuing Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through these category-based draws to qualified candidates with recent work experience in five distinct occupational categories. One of these categories for the current year is reserved for foreign nationals with recent work experience in healthcare fields.  


Healthcare category-based draw history

In the current year, Canada has held two category-based Express Entry draws for healthcare professionals. The initial draw occurred on June 28, wherein 500 candidates were invited to apply for Canadian PR with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 476. The second draw within this category happened on July 6, inviting 1,500 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 463.

Contact us to know if you qualify to migrate to Canada. Check out Owlspriority Immigration’s Canada Settlement Resources to learn about finding employment in Canada, making your initial days stress-free, etc.

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