The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) announced a new pilot registration process for International Educated Nurses aimed at reducing the waiting period to work in the province from 3 years to approximately 4-9 months.
Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) are foreign-trained nurses who have immigrated to Canada for better career opportunities. IENs in British Columbia will continue to have their nursing skills measured against the competencies required for three professions – registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, and healthcare assistant.
The new registration process is for applicants who submit an application after January 31, 2023. Currently, foreign nurses face many challenges while finding employment in British Columbia’s healthcare system, including a lengthy and costly process to register as a nurse.
The new pathway pilot from BCCNM aims to remove such barriers with support from the provincial government for –
- Reducing up-front out-of-pocket costs of application and assessment fees
- Assessing for both registered nurse and licensed practical nurse registration through a single application
- Providing new financial support and free support for any additional educational attainment required for returning to practice after a period of absence
- Demonstrating competency level in English through alternative forms of evidence like demonstrated experience working in an English-speaking healthcare setting or attaining education in English.
- Introducing multiple options for credential assessments in addition to the current National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)
Approximately 700 internationally educated nurses (IENs) and return-to-practice healthcare workers have been referred annually to NNAS for assessment. British Columbia expects to welcome more immigrants as part of its broader Health Human Resources Strategy which was announced earlier on September 29, 2022.
Nursing Professions in British Columbia
BCCNM regulates all nursing professions in the province including Registered nurses (RN), Licensed practical nurses (LPN), Registered psychiatric nurses (RPN), and Nurse practitioners (NP). However, a prior application to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) is a must before you could register under BCCNM to immigrate to Canada as a nurse.
NNAS assesses immigration applications for registration as a nurse based on the following self-explanatory criteria:
- Nursing Education
- Good character
- Fitness to practice nursing
- English language proficiency
The new registration process will simplify competency to test English language proficiency and further introduce multiple assessment agencies to minimize application time delays.
Further, interested aspirants need to qualify for Skills Immigration or Express Entry pathways under British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). A provincial nomination received under BC PNP gives them a chance to live and work in the province and eventually qualify for Canadian permanent residency.
Take this free assessment online to explore your chances of qualifying for Canadian immigration as a foreign-trained nurse.
Plan your Immigration to Canada as a Nurse
The announcement of BCCNM’s new registration process will help beneficiaries like Jennie Arceno, Monique Wee, and their entire community of International Educated Nurses.
“My journey to becoming a registered nurse in B.C. after practicing for five years in the Philippines was long, exhausting, and expensive. I was inspired to advocate for changes to the system so other IENs wouldn’t have to face the same challenges. The start of this new pathway will surely help more IENs and goes to show how the government is committed to addressing the long waits to get registered,” said Jennie Arceno, registered nurse and IEN.
Monique Wee, another registered nurse, and IEN narrated, “I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get my nursing license in B.C. and get a nursing job. The changes announced today will make the whole process so much easier and more affordable, which will inspire more IENs to practice in B.C. I am glad the B.C. government values us.”
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