Immigrate to Canada as a Doctor

Medical professionals are in high demand all across the globe - including the Great White North. Due to the country's major skills shortages, there are an abundance of vacancies in the country's health sector, so if you're a doctor looking for opportunities, the door is wide open for you to immigrate to Canada.

The country has many pathways available to medical professionals who wish to take their skills to the land of the maple leaf. In a statement released in September 2022, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Sean Fraser acknowledged the role foreign doctors played in the nation's well-being. As a result, he announced revisions to simplify the process for foreign-born physicians to stay in Canada.

According to Fraser, the IRCC accepted more than 8,600 temporary and permanent residency applications from foreign nationals entering the medical fraternity in Canada this year alone. He added that over the last seven years, more than 22,400 medical practitioners, including more than 3,600 physicians and 8,600 nurses, gained Canadian permanent residency via the Express Entry System and the Provincial Nominee Program. He also reported that work permit and work permit extension applications were granted to more than 2,500 specialized physicians, 620 nurses, and 550 nurses' aides and orderlies.

If you're determined to immigrate to Canada, we'll take a look at the pathways to get there in a bit. But first, let's take a look at the demand for doctors in the country.

Is There a Demand for Doctors in Canada?

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Doctors will always be in demand as long as there are people to treat. Statistics Canada reports that employers in the health sector and social assistance had over 150,000 vacant positions, constituting a 6.4% vacancy rate for August 2022.

Here are Job Bank’s projections for job prospects for medical professionals over the next three years:

  • British Columbia: Very good
  • Manitoba: Very good
  • New Brunswick: Very good
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Very good
  • Nova Scotia: Very good
  • Ontario: Very good
  • Prince Edward Island: Very good
  • Quebec: Very good
  • Saskatchewan: Very good
  • Yukon: Good
  • Alberta: Good
  • Northwest Territories: No data available
  • Nunavut: No data available

Below are the Top Jobs For Doctors/Medical Professionals in Canada With Salary.

Top Jobs For Doctors in Canada

How to Apply for Canadian Immigration as a Foreign Doctor

Now that you are aware of the vacancies for medical professionals, as well as the salary you can expect to earn once you start your journey as a doctor in Canada, let's take a look at how you can get your Canadian immigration process going. Applying for a job as well as your visa can, however, be an overwhelming task. We've, therefore, highlighted 5 simple steps that are essential when starting the application process.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you apply for any immigration or work permit in Canada, you first have to check whether you are eligible. Doing this first will save you time, and possible disappointment, should you not qualify. Every Canadian immigration program has its application criteria, so take the time to do one of CanadianVisa.org's eligibility assessments before you do anything else. Eligibility criteria are mainly based on factors like your:

  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Language ability
  • Family members
  • Education
  • Work experience ,etc.

Step 2: Choose Your Destination

Deciding where you would like to live and work in Canada is important because this may help narrow down your visa or immigration program choices. You may also find that although there may be job opportunities in a particular province or territory, the cost of living may be too high, or the lifestyle may not meet your preferences or needs. So before you start applying for a job as a doctor in Canada, research your province of choice and ensure that it is the right fit for you and your family.

To get an idea of Canada's cost of living, look at this article.

Step 3: Take Care of the Paperwork

To live and work in Canada as a doctor, you will need to do a little bit more paperwork than in other professions. If you have a foreign qualification, you must first check whether your qualification is recognized in Canada. You can check this on the World Directory of Medical Schools. If it is recognized, you may need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). An ECA verifies that your degree, diploma or certificate is valid and equal to Canadian standards. Below is a list of designated organizations that are permitted to do your assessment:

  • Comparative Education Service - University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
  • World Education Services;
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS); and
  • International Credential Evaluation Service.

You will also need to take two tests via the Medical Council of Canada known as the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examinations (MCCQEs) - Part I and Part II. Part I assesses your medical knowledge and clinical decision-making ability, while Part II tests your ability to apply that knowledge and show your clinical skills, as well as your professional mannerisms. You must pass Part I before you can take Part II.

Once you have completed both tests and show that you have at least 12 months of postgraduate clinical medical training, you will receive a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC), which is required to apply for a medical license to practice in Canada. You will receive a Certificate of Registration with your LMCC and a certificate to display in your new medical offices in Canada.

Once you arrive in Canada, you must complete further medical training under the relative medical regulatory authority in your chosen province or territory. It is important to confirm this beforehand with the medical authority in your chosen province or territory to know exactly what will be expected of you when you move to Canada. Below is a list of medical authorities in each province and territory.

Medical Regulatory Authorities in Canada
Province/Territory Medical Regulatory Authority
Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia
Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba
New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland & Labrador
Northwest Territory Government of the Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia
Nunavut Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee
Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Prince Edward Island College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island
Québec Collège des médecins du Québec
Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan
Yukon Yukon Medical Council

Step 4: Apply for a Job in Canada

It’s a good idea to find employment before you immigrate to Canada. This will improve your chance of earning an invitation to apply for permanent residency. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing that when you arrive, you won't have to carry the added stress of finding a job, along with all other arrangements that you will need make.

Here’s a handy guide to help you with your Canadian job application.

Step 5: Apply for a Work Permit if You Plan on Working in Canada Temporarily

Recent reports show that the IRCC is committed to prioritizing temporary resident work permit applications for healthcare workers, including doctors. Suppose you are offered a temporary or permanent position in this sector. In that case, you must obtain a Canadian work permit to live and work in Canada for the duration of your contract. It is also a step in the right direction, should you wish to make your status in Canada more permanent.

Here’s our breakdown of how to get a work permit.

There are two types of work permits, namely, the employer-specific work permit and the open work permit.

  • With an Employer-specific work permit, you will have to work in Canada according to the conditions in your work permit, specifically the name of your employer, the length of your contract and the location in which you'll be allowed to work. The employer will have to provide you with a copy of the labour market impact assessment (LMIA).
  • An open work permit, on the other hand, will allow you to be employed by any employer in Canada as long as they're not listed as ineligible on the IRCC's list of employers who don't comply with its conditions.

Step 6: Choose Your Canadian Immigration Program

There are various ways to immigrate to Canada as a doctor, but we've listed the top 2 ways that will give you the highest chances of success:

  1. Express Entry System
  2. Provincial Nominee Program

IRCC reports that more than 22,400 people, including just over 3,600 doctors and 8,600 nurses, obtained Canadian permanent residency via the Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programs.

Which Immigration Programs Cater for Medical Professionals?

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Express Entry

The economic programs available to doctors under the Express Entry System include the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Your EE application will be entered into draws, which usually take place every two weeks, and ranked against other applicants according to the Comprehensive Ranking System.

In recognition of Canada's significant shortage of doctors, IRCC has implemented changes exempting doctors already working in the country as temporary residents from a few of the permanent residency requirements via Express Entry programs. Doctors with temporary residency status, who are already practicing in Canada, often don't qualify for the Express Entry System as they are often considered self-employed.

If you are a self-employed person in Canada, you will not qualify for most economic immigration pathways, like the ones that fall within Express Entry. However, if you've got a minimum of one year's work experience in another country or Canada, you could qualify for the Express Entry program. According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, this particular barrier will keep foreign doctors already in the country.

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program allows you to live and work in Canada if you have a valid job offer in Canada that meets the labour demands of that particular province or territory. Each province/territory has its own PNPwith specific in-demand occupations. If you receive a provincial nomination, which is worth 600 extra points, you are guaranteed an ITA for Canadian permanent residence.

As mentioned previously, almost every PNP has a stream linked to the Express Entry system, which will speed up your application process from approximately 18 months if you apply directly to the province to six months when you apply through Express Entry.

Below is a list of PNP streams or categories, in each province or territory, for medical professionals who want to immigrate to Canada.

Canadian Immigration for Doctors
Province/TerritoryImmigration Stream/Category
AlbertaAlberta Opportunity Stream
British ColumbiaHealthcare Professional Category
Express Entry Skilled Worker Category
ManitobaSkilled Workers Overseas Stream
New BrunswickExpress Entry Skilled Worker Stream
Newfoundland and LabradorSkilled Worker Stream
Northwest TerritoriesSkilled Worker Stream
Nova ScotiaPhysicians Stream
Labour Market Priorities for Physicians Stream
OntarioExpress Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream
Express Entry French-speaking Skilled Worker Stream
Prince Edward IslandExpress Entry Stream
SaskatchewanInternational Skilled Worker Category
YukonSkilled Worker Stream

Let us Help You Immigrate to Canada as a Doctor

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Applying for a visa can be time-consuming and confusing. With strict deadlines, procedures and requirements to adhere to, it can be easy to make a mistake that could cost you your chance to immigrate to Canada. But with the guidance and assistance of one of our knowledgeable Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), the process will be stress-free.

When you choose to use our expertise and government-trusted services, you will receive:

  • An in-depth eligibility assessment
  • Guidance on which of the over 100 immigration programs and visas to choose from;
  • An immigration plan tailored to your individual needs;
  • A review and submission of all application forms and documentation;
  • Support through every step of the application process.

FAQS

What benefits will I qualify for as a doctor in Canada?

As a doctor in Canada, you'll have an increased chance of obtaining Canadian permanent residency. You'll also have access to premium healthcare, which will likely include life insurance, a pension plan, full family benefits and semi-private hospitalization.

How many hours per week do doctors work in Canada?

The amount of hours you'll work depends on your area of expertise. For example, ER doctors are likely to work on a rotation set by the hospital they work at. A general practitioner, on the other hand, may work for around 35 and 40 hours per week.

Which Canadian province has the most vacancies for medical professionals?

The province of Manitoba is reported to have the highest vacancy rate, at 6.7%.