This page has information for international applicants considering a career with Island Health.
U.S. Citizens & the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
In certain professional occupations identified by the agreement, U.S. citizens are permitted to enter and work in Canada. For more information, visit our U.S. Citizens and NAFTA web page.
The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
If you are interested in relocating to Canada to work on a permanent basis, you may wish to inquire about the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) with an Employment Advisor. BC PNP includes certain health professionals and skilled workers under designated occupations. The BC PNP allows a BC employer to nominate people for immigration (or permanent residency). Nominees must still meet Canadian medical and security requirements for immigration. For more information, visit the Ministry of Economic Development - BC Provincial Nominee Program website.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has information regarding temporary opportunities for foreign workers. Visit their website to learn more about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
For employment in British Columbia, you need to be registered with your respective registering body such as the College of Registered Nurses. Please start this process as soon as possible as it can take a long time and could affect when you can start working in Canada.
Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) provides information regarding work permits, applications and a document checklist. They will accept your temporary registration or full registration with the appropriate registering body for your particular occupational group. You will be required to write the Canadian examinations prior to full registration being granted.
Work Permit Applications
Foreign individuals seeking work temporarily in Canada require a Work Permit. A Work Permit is a document issued by Canadian immigration officials which allows a foreign individual to work in Canada, generally at a specific job for a limited time - usually one to two years. A work permit is not a contract. You or the employer can end a job at any time.
ALL U.S. and International citizens MUST have approved medical clearance by a designated Citizenship and Immigration Canada practitioner BEFORE a valid temporary work permit can be obtained. See Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Medical Examinations for more information.
Applications, document checklist and additional information is available from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Labour Market Opinions
A job offer from a Canadian employer is required to apply for a Work Permit. The job offer must be approved by the Government of Canada and is called a Labour Market Opinion or validation. the general rule is that Canadian immigration officials will not issue a Work Permit without a prior Labour Market Opinion.
A Labour Market Opinion ensures that work permits are only granted where their issuance will not have a negative impact on the Canadian job market. The Labour Market Opinion demonstrates that a "significant" effort has been made to hire a Canadian for the position. The procedure for obtaining a Labour Market Opinion is often demanding and time-consuming. See the Government of Canada website to learn more.
Work Permit Extensions
Permits can be extended for up to 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.
If your job duties change or the job is to be extended, you must contact a Canada Immigration Centre before the expiry date of the current authorization. A new Labour Market Opinion must be included with your application for a new work permit to extend your stay or change your job duties.
As an Island Health employee, you must contact an Employment Advisor at least three months before the expiry date of your current work permit so that the Advisor can apply for a new Labour Market Opinion on your behalf.
A medical examination with a designated medical practitioner must be completed for all persons applying for an initial Employment Authorization (permit). This examination is required to remove the default work permit restriction which says "Not eligible to work in health care."
When Your Arrive in Canada
At the port of entry to Canada, you will be required to produce the following documentation for the Immigration Officer. A Work Permit will be issued to you once your documents have been checked by Immigration.
- Confirmation of employment
- Canadian Employment Authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada
- Proof of eligibility for registration in BC in your profession
- Passport - must be valid for more than one year
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Immigration will provide you with the forms to complete to acquire a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which is required to work in Canada. Visit Service Canada for more information.
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