Guide to Immigrating Successfully as a Doctor to Canada

2022 isn’t yet over, so we’re still waiting for the statistic, but in 2021, about 405,000 people migrated to Canada from several parts of the world. And it gets better, In 2023, Canada will increase their capacity to welcome 465,000 people. In 2025, Canada plans to welcome about 500,000.

Now, if you’re still in Medical school or have just completed your studies and plan to migrate to Canada, this is just the prime time to start working on those plans! Get ready to practice Medicine in Canada. It’s a big step, but it’s totally worth it in the end. For now, we’ll assume you know why it’s worth it, so let’s get into how to go about it. Don’t worry: we have provided the resources to help make sure everything goes smoothly for you.

When you’re in the process of immigrating to Canada, there are several steps you’ll take before you’re allowed to begin practicing medicine in the country.

It starts with getting your educational credentials assessed.

Verifying your credentials

The Credentials Assessment process is a process that ensures your education is equivalent to what’s offered in Canada.

The results of this assessment will determine whether or not you have met all requirements necessary for licensure and registration as a physician/physician assistant (PA). If not, then additional training may be required before being able to practice medicine here.

You will need to provide proof of your credentials and a letter of good standing from your medical school. If you’re not sure if your credentials are recognized, please contact the Medical Council of Canada directly.

You need to prove that your education is equivalent to what’s offered in Canada. If your degree isn’t from Canada, the US, Ireland, or the UK, you will have to provide proof of language ability through IELTS testing. This can be done by taking an exam as part of your application process or by submitting additional documents from previous educational institutions.

What happens if your education is from outside North America?

If your education is from outside of North America, you will likely have to complete a qualifying program before you can go on to practice medicine in Canada. This is similar to medical school but shorter, and it’s designed to prepare you for residency training.

It isn’t necessary if your education was obtained through the Canadian Medical School Admissions Test (CMSAT), which is administered once per year at various locations around Canada through partner organizations like the Medical Council of Canada (MCC).

Obtaining proof of English proficiency

You may also need to provide proof of language ability through IELTS testing if your degree isn’t from Canada, the US, Ireland, or the UK.

IELTS is a standardized test that assesses the English language ability of non-native speakers. If you’re applying for an occupation that requires proficiency in English (such as medicine), you’ll need a minimum score of 7 out of 9 on each module: listening comprehension; reading comprehension; writing skills, and speaking.

Obtaining a license from your state of choice

To practice medicine anywhere in Canada, you must obtain a license from the province where you plan to practice. In some provinces, this process may require the completion of an internship or residency program after completing training overseas. In other provinces, it may only require post-residency licensing exams (as opposed to passing all exams).

In some provinces, that licensing process will require a year-long internship or residency after residency training overseas.

You will have to complete a year-long residency after training overseas, in some provinces. In other provinces, you only need to pass the licensing exams. Some provinces also allow you to do both at once!

In other provinces, that process may only require post-residency licensing exams.

Once you’ve completed your residency training, you can get a post-residency license in the province where you were trained. This is different from the initial licensing exam that all doctors must take upon graduation.

The requirements for residency training in Canada vary by province and sometimes by medical specialty. For example, some provinces require only that physicians have completed certain years of formal education (such as two years of pre-clinical sciences), while others may require four years of full-time post-graduate training before applying for provincial licensure exams.

Obtaining your permanent residency

To obtain permanent residency status in Canada after completing one year of work experience within the country’s borders—known as “humanitarian and compassionate” applicants—you must also pass an English language test before immigrating here; those who pass this test are eligible for permanent residency status once they’ve lived here for three continuous years.

If you’re an immigrant doctor trying to start practicing again in Canada, talk to an immigration lawyer about how best to get started and make sure you have all your ducks in a row before applying for any licensing exams or residency programs.

First things first: If you’ve been working as a physician outside of Canada and want to continue working there after immigrating, most provinces require that your credentials be assessed by their office of regulatory affairs (ORA). The ORA will assess whether or not they believe that your education meets the standards set out by each province’s Medical Council of Canada (MCC). You can find out what these standards from HealthCanada’s website.

If this is successful, then next comes getting language skills assessed so that doctors know how well they speak English or French depending on which province they plan on practicing in—and possibly even getting medical knowledge assessed as well!

Important exams doctors need to take when immigrating to Canada

To get started, here are some medical exams that Canada requires of its citizens:

Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE Part I)

The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE Part I) is an examination that allows doctors to become eligible to work in Canada. It tests basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology; it also covers other areas that are important for practicing medicine in Canada, such as microbiology, immunology, and pharmacology.

The MCCQE is administered by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). There are three parts:

Part 1 – Basic Sciences

Part 2 – Clinical Sciences

Part 3 – Professional Skills.

Each part consists of multiple sections which must be passed within a specific time frame before you can write your final exam on the subject area being tested.

To prepare yourself for this exam, you should review your notes from medical school classes or lectures on these topics, which may no longer apply now that you’re living outside of North America, where there are very different approaches taken towards healthcare than what we’re used to here at home!

National Assessment Collaboration (NAC)

NAC is a computer-based test that you need to pass to become a doctor in Canada. It’s offered twice a year, and it lasts 4 hours long. The exam consists of 15 multiple-choice questions, and each question will ask you about one topic from four different fields:

Medical History

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Hematology/Oncology (Hematology is the study of blood diseases, and Oncology is the study of cancer.)

The topics are selected based on clinical practice and research, showing they are important today or soon will be important in modern medicine.

To prepare for your exams, we have combined a seriesof questions to help you practice whenever you want and help you master all the key details vital to helping you pass your exams.


In closing, I would like to leave you with this thought: as an immigrant doctor, there are many paths you can take in life. You can start your career in Canada or abroad. You can specialize at a university or complete an internal medicine residency. You can become a physician assistant and practice by yourself or work as a hospital staff physician. The possibilities are endless…and so is the journey!