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The Nova Scotia Physicians stream enables internationally trained doctors to immigrate permanently to the province of Nova Scotia. Eligible physicians may apply with the assistance of either the Nova Scotia Health Authority or the IWK Health Centre.

Internationally-trained doctors can have the first-stage of their applications to live and work in Nova Scotia processed within a few days under the Nova Scotia Physicians stream.

Notably, physicians who are eligible for Canada’s Express Entry immigration system may want to consider Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities for Physicians stream. The only difference between these two streams is that the Labour Market Priorities stream is aligned with Express Entry, thus giving applicants access to much faster processing times.

Who is eligible?

This stream is open to general practitioners and family physicians (NOC 31102) and specialist physicians (NOC 31100 and NOC 31101). In order to be considered for the program, the physician must have an employment opportunity arranged at one of Nova Scotia’s two health bodies, the NSHA or the IWK Health Centre.

The approved opportunity must be on official NSHA or IWK letterhead and must:

  • Be signed and dated by a person authorized to hire physicians at the NSHA or IWK
  • Be signed and dated by the applicant who is accepting the opportunity
  • Indicate eligibility for licensure with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NS
  • Indicate that the applicant is eligible to apply for privileges and credentials with NSHA and the IWK

How does the application process work?

In order to be approved and begin practicing in Nova Scotia, applicants must first apply to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) through the Physician stream. Approved nominees, along with their spouse or common-law partner and dependents, may then apply to the government of Canada for permanent resident status.

The application process for this stream is high specialized as the occupations in question are also specialized. Interested candidates will have to contact the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration for detailed information about the various stages of processing.

Why create a stream for physicians?

Nova Scotia’s Minister of Immigration, Lena Diab, announced that the Nova Scotia Physician stream “targets family doctors and specialists from countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and Ireland.”

Diab added that “it will be easier and faster because this stream targets family doctors from countries with recognized training equivalencies with the College of Family Physicians of Canada.”

Applicants are already deemed to have been assessed for education, language ability, certification, and credential recognition, allowing the province to eliminate the duplication of having applicants prove these skills and credentials all over again.

“It cuts red tape and paperwork and has a significantly reduced processing time,” stated Diab. “We can process an application under this new stream in just five to ten days.”

Processing times for the second stage are not yet known; however, Minister Diab pointed out during the news conference that the province processed its very first application through this stream last week. Dr. Jamie Tribo, who currently lives in Virginia, plans to practise family medicine in Cape Breton starting this spring. This quick landing points toward a smooth and relatively quick application process at the federal stage.

Dr. Lynne Harrigan, vice-president of medicine with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, which helped develop the stream, has lauded its potential.

“That’s differentiating from weeks and years, which it has been in the past,” she said. “For a lot of people it has discouraged them from moving forward. So this really has pulled all the red tape away.”

The health authority is setting an initial target to recruit 12 international doctors through the stream annually. Overall, the health authority says it needs to hire 110 physicians a year.

  • For the latest Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) updates, visit our PNP Live Tracker.
  • To learn more about the Nova Scotia Physician stream, see the Application Guide.
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