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Medical Tourism Work Visas: Healthcare Opportunities for Doctors and Nurses


Over the past decade, medical tourism has emerged as a significant global industry. This industry also plays a crucial role in enhancing the delivery of medical care in Canada. Therefore, a myriad of immigration programs, including the Provincial Nominee Program and the Express Entry program, are specifically designed to target skilled medical professionals. 

Between 2017 and 2022, Canada received more than 21,000 healthcare professionals, averaging over 4,000 medical workers annually. According to the current Canada Immigration Levels Plans 2024-2026, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is all set to double this number, aiming to bring in around 8,000 workers in the coming years. In such circumstances, medical tourism work visas emerge as a vital element enabling individuals to travel to another country for medical treatment. This blog aims to discuss medical tourism work visas and also shed light on the various immigration policies designed for healthcare professionals. 

Understanding Medical Tourism in Canada 

Renowned for its exceptional healthcare services, Canada operates through a provincial and territorial system of publicly funded healthcare, informally called Medicare. Under this system, all Canadian residents have access to the necessary hospital and physician services, effectively eliminating out-of-pocket expenses. With the increasing healthcare needs, Canada is experiencing a shortage of healthcare professionals in various specialties and introducing new changes to recruit healthcare workers.

Canada’s Accommodating Immigration Policies for Healthcare Workers

To retain more healthcare workers, Canada has introduced various immigration programs ranging from the Express Entry Program to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), making it easier for professionals worldwide to move to Canada and contribute to its healthcare system.

1. Express Entry Program 

Express Entry is a category-based system designed by the federal government to attract immigration candidates with specific recent work experience and skill proficiencies for permanent residence in Canada. Express Entry hinges upon a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), a point-based system that determines the eligibility of the candidates by assessing their age, education, language skills, work experience and more. 

Remember, Express Entry is a broader term developed to manage applications encompassing various subcategories, including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Notably, Canada is taking measures to streamline the immigration process to recruit more and more foreign-trained healthcare workers. This includes eliminating some of the barriers for physicians who are already residing in Canada on a temporary resident visa.

2. Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program is a significant program managed by individual provinces and territories of Canada. The Provincial Nominee Program is particularly designed for doctors and nurses and is run through a partnership between the federal and provincial governments.

Each province in Canada establishes its unique eligibility criteria and application process and often favours applicants with relevant work experiences and connections to the local community. It’s crucial to note that provinces, including Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, possess specific standards for healthcare professionals. A healthcare worker who wishes to apply for the Provincial Nominee Program must carefully understand the eligibility requirements to ensure a streamlined application process.

A challenge that often arises with this stream is that you cannot apply without receiving an invitation from the province. However, on multiple occasions, this stream has encouraged healthcare professionals to apply for nomination.


Canada is renowned for its exceptional healthcare services, integrating new initiatives aimed at enhancing medical care for its citizens. To tackle the workforce deficit in the healthcare sector, the country has designed a myriad of programs, including the Express Entry Program and Provincial Nominee Program, and is planning to retain medical professionals globally. However, each program establishes its distinctive eligibility criteria; thus, it becomes essential for the candidates to understand such requirements that lead to a successful application process.

It’s important to note that the Canadian immigration landscape is dynamic, and the eligibility criteria for these programs may evolve over time. It becomes imperative to seek guidance from experts, such as Visa Immigration, who can assist you in determining the most suitable pathway tailored to your specific needs and qualifications. This guidance can make your journey to Canada smoother and more successful, ensuring that you have a positive impact on the Canadian healthcare sector.