Nurse aides and orderlies from around the world can now immigrate to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program of the Express Entry system.

The change to the FSW which made that possible came on Nov. 16 when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) added 16 new jobs to its list of eligible occupations under that worker immigration program.

That increased the number of eligible occupations under the FSW on the same day the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 came into effect at the IRCC to 370. 

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The 16 new occupations are all deemed to be jobs for which the worker must get a college diploma, an apprenticeship training of fewer than two years, or more than six months of on-the-job training.

The full list of newly-added jobs on the list of eligible occupations under the FSW includes:

  • NOC 13102 Payroll administrators
  • NOC 33100 Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants
  • NOC 33102 Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • NOC 33103 Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
  • NOC 43100 Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants
  • NOC 43200 Sheriffs and bailiffs
  • NOC 43201 Correctional service officers
  • NOC 43202 By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers
  • NOC 63211 Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations
  • NOC 73200 Residential and commercial installers and servicers
  • NOC 73202 Pest controllers and fumigators
  • NOC 73209 Other repairers and servicers
  • NOC 73300 Transport truck drivers
  • NOC 73301 Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators
  • NOC 73400 Heavy equipment operators
  • NOC 93200 Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors

Nurse aides and orderlies are the lifeblood of any hospital or nursing home as they are the people who help nurses, physicians and other hospital staff in the basic care of patients. 

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They answer call signals, supply empty bedpans, dress and groom patients, serve up the meals and assist in feeding patients. They also take the patient’s blood pressure, temperature, and record and report fluid intake and output, and provide first aid. They transport patients, carry messages and reports between departments, and maintain inventories of medical supplies 

Jobbank, the federal government’s job board, gives a ranking of good to very good for the employment prospects of nurse aides and orderlies across Canada. The Indeed job website listed more than 1,100 jobs for these healthcare workers in late November.

Ottawa’s move to include nurse aides and orderlies in the list of eligible occupations under the FSW comes in the wake of a call by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) to prioritize human resources in the healthcare sector and help address nursing shortages across the country.

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“We are seeing patients in Canada facing longer and longer wait times for medical and surgical procedures, while also facing increasing challenges to access the care they need,” said Sylvain Brousseau, president of CAN, in July. 

“Just over these past few weeks, we have witnessed many stories of emergency departments shutting down or reducing their hours of operation in many parts of the country. The reason for this crisis is very clear: Canada is facing a severe health workforce crisis and nursing shortages.”

The nurses’ association went so far as to state the sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system could not be maintained without further investment in the healthcare workforce.

By making these occupations eligible under the FSW, Ottawa is hoping to plug that hole into the country’s healthcare system. 

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“We are using all of the tools at our disposal to tackle labour shortages, particularly in key sectors like healthcare, construction, and transportation,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“These changes will support Canadians in need of these services and they will support employers by providing them with a more robust workforce who we can depend on to drive our economy forward into a prosperous future. I’m thrilled to announce expanded pathways to permanent residence in Canada for these in-demand workers.”

Foreign nationals hoping to apply for permanent residence through the FSW must have one year of paid work experience within the last decade in jobs categorized as TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 of the NOC 2021 system.

Applicants under this program must also take a language test to prove that they possess sufficient language skills to successfully establish themselves in Canada. Language tests evaluate an applicant’s abilities with regard to:

  • listening
  • speaking
  • reading
  • writing

In order to be eligible for the FSW, an applicant needs to obtain at least the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7 in all categories and show that he or she has enough money to support him or herself and any relatives upon arrival in Canada.

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