General Immigration Information for International Physicians
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada are given priority on all vacancies in the Province of British Columbia. As there is a great need for qualified specialist physicians in British Columbia, international physicians may be considered for available positions.
There are several steps involved in moving to British Columbia to work as a health professional:
- After you accept an offer for a placement in Northern BC, Northern Health will initiate the immigration process. Formal approval of BC licensure eligibility from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC as well as a Labour Market Opinion from Service Canada will be requested.
- You may then apply for a temporary work permit. A temporary work permit allows you to work in Canada for a specific employer in a specified community for up to three years. It is renewable and a spouse may apply for an “open” work permit
- You will need to have a medical examination completed by a designated medical practitioner. This may also be required for your spouse and children.
You can expect the process - from the time you accept a position to the time you arrive in British Columbia - to take approximately six months.
Temporary Work Permit
To get a temporary work permit, you need to:
- Download an instruction guide and application forms from the nearest Citizenship and Immigration Canada Visa Office.
- Complete all of the forms and include the documents from your prospective employer.
- Submit the application and required fees to the nearest Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate, or visa office.
Download the Guide for Physicians requiring a Work Permit
(from Health Match BC)
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC strongly encourages potential applicants to take advantage of the services offered by Health Match BC. This government funded recruitment agency will assist potential applicants with a review of credentials and advice regarding licensure requirements of the College. Health Match BC offers its services at no cost to the physician and may also provide guidance with respect to the immigration process, the identification of a position in an under-serviced area, and the final recruitment.
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
After nine months of practice in BC, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC may sponsor you to apply for permanent resident status through the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The BC PNP is available to assist eligible international physicians to obtain permanent resident status in an expedited manner. This program is administered by the Ministry of Economic Development in collaboration with Health Match BC.
Download the Provincial Nominee Program Application Guide
- Applicants to the BC PNP are required to have been working in British Columbia under a Temporary Work Permit for a period of 9 months or more.
- Applicant must be given a positive assessment of their performance by their supervising physician.
Newcomers’ Guide to BC
You may want to read through the British Columbia Newcomers' Guide to Resources and Services to help you understand about life in British Columbia. The guide covers many issues, including money (currency), cars and transportation, health and much more.