Beautiful British Columbia
Immigrating to Canada
Obtaining an Employment Authorization (Work Permit)

Initial Work Permit: To work in British Columbia, Canada as a Registered Nurse you will require an employment authorization (work permit/ work visa). An Immigration Officer issues the employment authorization after a Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) approves your job offer. The full process to receive a work visa, which enables a Registered Nurse to work in health care in Canada, typically takes 4 to 6 months.  Please note that proof of CRNBC or CRPNBC registration is required prior to final issuance of work permit.

To access the International Nurse Checklist for obtaining a Work Permit, please click here.

Applications forms and instructions on how to obtain a valid work permit can be obtained at:

Please pay special attention to the "Document Checklist" and include all requested information and documentation.

Read carefully before submitting. A brief example but not a complete list of requirements may include:

  • Completed application form and two recent passport size photographs
  • Your present and previous passport or travel documents and those of any family members accompanying you
  • Copies of your birth certificate
  • Payment of processing fee ($150 CND per person)
  • Your educational certificates
  • Letters of reference from present and past employers
  • An offer of employment
  • Employment Validation (Labor Market Opinion) from Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) 1
  • Registration with College of Registered Nurses of BC or College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (Provisional Registration will also be sufficient)
  • A medical examination by a designated medical practitioner on Canada's designated medical practitioner's list. A list of Practitioners can be obtained from Citizen and Immigration Services Web site:
  • Note: Medical instructions will normally be sent to you after you submit your application to the Canadian Consulate/Embassy; however it is recommended that the medical be conducted as soon as possible after the date that the application for a work permit is submitted to the Canadian Consulate/Embassy. 2


Required by Canadian Employer

  • Foreign Hire Sheet
  • Verification of Relevant Previous Experience

Required by Employee

  • “Application for a work permit” (IMM 1295)
  • “Document Checklist” (IMM 5488)
  • “Original receipt form” (IMM 5401) or payment receipt for fees paid online

Work Permit Extension: Work Permits can be extended for a maximum of 5 years (inclusive of the period granted on the initial work permit). The process of obtaining an extension to a work visa is similar to that of obtaining an initial work permit. A new HRSDC labour market opinion must be obtained. Once a positive labour market opinion is obtained, an application to extend a work permit can be submitted. For information and application forms please see:

All work permit renewal applications (including the applications for professionals who obtained the original permit under NAFTA) ‑ are processed in Vegreville, Alberta. Mail to Case Processing Centre, Vegreville, Alberta Canada T9C 1W1

The border and other ports of entry only issue initial employment authorizations. They do not process renewals.

Under NAFTA, U.S. citizens do not require HRSDC Employment Validation or Union support.

Provincial Nominee Program. After having successfully passing a 3-month probationary period, the option is available for full time employees currently working under a work permit to apply for employer sponsored permanent residency. The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is an “Employer Sponsored” fast tract version of the Skilled Worker Permanent Residency application process. Information on the PNP program – fees, process, and requirements – can be obtained from:

The full process takes anywhere between 8 and 16 months to complete.

**Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is accepting applications at this time for Full-Time Nursing opportunities in Acute Perinatal and the Neonatal Program at BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre (BCW), Operating Room at BC Children's Hospital (BCCH), the Child Psychiatry Unit (BCCH) at BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services – Vancouver, British Columbia and the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services – Coquitlam, British Columbia.

**Fraser Health is accepting applications at this time only for Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Emergency, Cardiac Surgery ICU, Post Anesthetic Care Unit and Operating Rooms

**Vancouver Coastal Health is accepting applications at this time only for Mental Health Nurses

**Providence Health is accepting applications at this time only for Registered Psychiatric Nurses or Registered Nurses in the Older Adult Behaviour Stabilization Unit and Registered Nurses in Operating Rooms (Perioperative), Post Anaesthetic Recovery-PACU/Emergency Department & Intensive Care Units.

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