Of course, if you are a Nigerian or non-Canadian on how to work as a nurse in Canada can indeed be a dream of yours. Your concerns on how to work as a nurse in Canada have been acknowledged, and in this article, we will do justice to that.
Generally, if you plan to work as a nurse in Canada, the immigration process is one part that has to be understood. You can figure this out on your own, but it is always best to consult those adept at this: the immigration consultants.

Read Also: how to work as a nurse in Ireland? A complete guide

So, before we get into things properly, you must understand the structure of this article. We will outline seven steps to work as a nurse in Canada from a foreigner’s point of view. Sit back and take a read-through.

Steps on How to work as a Nurse in Canada from Nigeria

Education History and Scope of Knowledge

It is almost cast in stone that you must have studied nursing in your home country before you think of relocating to work as a nurse in Canada. But simply studying nursing wouldn’t just do. Did you bag a nursing degree from an approved nursing school in your country? Furthermore, can you prove the validity of your registration within the nursing council with a license?

If you answered affirmatively to all those questions, that is excellent, but is that enough to work as a nurse in Canada? Not really. Work experience is also another thing. Countries don’t just fling open their doors to you because you went to school; their immigration authorities look out for those who can improve their country. Canada is no exception.

To boost your chances of working as a nurse in Canada, you should have at least two to five years of working experience as a nurse in your home country up your sleeve.

Evaluation of your credentials

It will be foolhardy if the Canadian government doesn’t evaluate the standard of your education from your home country before allowing you to work as a nurse in Canada. Thankfully, there is an approved body to take care of this. It is the National Nursing Assessment Service, or NNAS for short. At this stage, you decide which state you would love to work in as a nurse in Canada.

Why is this necessary, you may ask? Every state and province in Canada has its eligibility standards which mean different requirements. Your preferred choice of state to work as a nurse in Canada will determine your evaluation process and your eligibility status.

Presentation of Approved Documents to NNAS

Well, you aren’t done with NNAS just yet. Choosing the state where you want to work as a nurse in Canada is just the beginning. To kickstart the evaluation process, certain documents must be presented to the NNAS. Some of them are a Notarized Photo ID with a signature, educational documents (degree certificates, transcripts, course curriculum, mark sheets), proof of licensure sent in by the licensing authorities in your home country, employment form, and IELTS/CELBAN test.

Just a side note. All these documents must be notarized and be written in either English or French. Most important of all: the charge of $650 must be paid as the required documents are submitted.

English Requirements needed to work as a Nurse in Canada

  • Your English proficiency needs to be ascertained if you want to work as a nurse in Canada. This is only possible through the International English Testing System or IELTS, which you must have been familiar with, or the Canadian English Benchmark Assessment for Nurses, for short, CELBAN.
  • The minimum test score for IELTS is Academic format – speaking 7, listening 7.5, reading 6.5, writing 7, overall 7, and for the CELBAN, listening 10, writing 7, reading 8. These English proficiency tests must be forwarded to the Canadian Nursing board by the body conducting the tests.
  • Apply to the state regulatory authority Right after your documents have been evaluated by the NNAS. You will receive the go-ahead to apply to the state regulatory authority in Canada if their evaluation of your skill set matches the specific requirements of your preferred state.
  • It is at this juncture you will also know whether your current application is enough to begin work as a nurse in Canada or whether you might have to finish a course to bolster your application to meet up with the eligibility requirements in that state. All of these are recommendations the state regulatory authority will give.

However, if the coast is clear, you are ready to take your licensure examinations in Canada as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. These registrations are covered by the Canadian Nursing Association (CAN). The Canadian Council for Licensed Practical Nurse Regulators (CCPNR) also plays a role

Face and pass the NCLEX.

NCLEX is the National Council Licensure Examinations written by those who want to become registered nurses in Canada and ultimately work as a nurse in Canada. This requirement trumps all others because you can’t work as a nurse in Canada if you don’t pass these examinations.

Read: Ten Guide to Prepare For NCLEX EXAM

Yes, each state and province has its requirements for this NCLEX. Positive results in NCLEX are truly relative. Just so you know, NCLEX is conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

Would your visa be temporary or permanent?

Now, you have crossed what is considered the most challenging step in your journey to working as a nurse in Canada; you still have an all-important decision to make about your visa. There are two options for those who are from overseas: temporary and permanent visas.

Immigrating with a permanent visa is an entirely different process and can be much more difficult. But, with a temporary visa, all you need might be an employment letter, and from then on, you can work towards getting a permanent visa.

Start work

Once you arrive in Canada, let your employers know this, because you are far from being completed with the process of working as a nurse in Canada. There are all other formalities your employer would have to tidy up so that your working experience can be a smooth one.


If you noticed at all, we reeled out the steps to work a nurse in Canada from the perspective of someone who isn’t residing in Canada. This is because working as a nurse in Canada can be a lot more direct for those living there already; the complexities arise when you have different nursing experience from what you will find in Canada.


Abdullahi Suleiman a Certified Registered Nurse based in Nigeria, an Entrepreneur and Also a Blogger, passionate about Community Development and Cosmetic Nursing


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