November 2, 2023

The Brief History of Filipino Nurses in Canada.

The history of Filipino nurses in Canada is a testament to the power of resilience and determination. For decades, these skilled healthcare professionals have played a vital role in staffing medical facilities across the country, leaving an indelible mark on the Canadian healthcare system. From their early recruitment in the 1950s to their present-day contributions amidst challenging circumstances, the story of Filipino nurses in Canada is a fascinating tapestry of struggle, triumph, and a shared commitment to providing quality healthcare.


The Quest for Stability: From Philippines to Canada

In the Philippines, nursing has long been considered a strategic opportunity to seek employment abroad and provide financial stability for families back home. The prospect of a well-paying job with benefits has drawn many Filipinos to explore nursing as a career path, making it a popular choice among aspiring healthcare professionals.

Conversely, Canada has faced a consistent shortage of qualified medical professionals over the years, especially during critical periods like the COVID-19 pandemic. This shortage prompted Canadian authorities to look beyond their borders for skilled workers, leading to the recruitment of Filipino nurses, doctors, and technicians to fill the gaps in the healthcare system.


The Empire of Care: The Role of the United States

The United States played a significant role in shaping the journey of Filipino healthcare professionals. Several nursing colleges were established in the Philippines by the U.S., aimed at improving healthcare in the tropical colony while also nurturing a pool of well-trained healthcare professionals for the American medical industry. The American Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) allowed Filipino nurses and doctors to gain valuable training and work experience in U.S. hospitals, with the intention that they would return to the Philippines after their tenure.

However, the allure of permanent residency in the U.S. led many of these professionals to leverage their healthcare expertise to become permanent residents, challenging the original intent of the program.


The Shift to Canada: An Imperative Solution

In the 1960s, policy changes within the U.S. aimed to limit the number of Filipino healthcare professionals immigrating to the country. This requirement mandated that Filipinos leave the U.S. for two years before applying for landing status, ostensibly to ensure they would return to the Philippines.

Amid these restrictions, Canada emerged as a beacon of hope for Filipino healthcare workers. The country was experiencing its own healthcare crisis, and the need for skilled professionals was paramount. Canadian medical schools could not produce enough nurses to meet the growing demand as the healthcare system transitioned from a reactionary model to a preventative one. The shortage of healthcare workers presented an opportunity for Filipino professionals to secure jobs in Canadian hospitals.


Confronting Racism: Overcoming Immigration Barriers

The journey of Filipino nurses to Canada was not without challenges. Canada's immigration policy was overtly racist during this period, imposing restrictive measures to ensure only racially preferred immigrants were permitted into the country on a permanent basis.

However, the acute demand for nurses and doctors in Canadian hospitals led to the creation of an ad hoc system that granted Filipino nurses permanent residency upon securing employment offers from hospitals. While racial biases persisted, the practical necessity of skilled healthcare professionals influenced officials to make exceptions for Filipino applicants.


The Impact on Immigration Policy: A Shift Towards Inclusion

The influx of Filipino nurses and healthcare workers in Canada brought about a realization that immigration played a pivotal role in the country's economic growth and prosperity. The pressure applied by the Philippine government concerning reciprocity in immigration further underscored the importance of inclusive policies.

In 1967, Canada introduced a points-based immigration system that awarded applicants points based on various factors, such as education, work experience, and language proficiency. This system made it considerably easier for Filipinos and other skilled immigrants to migrate to Canada, further solidifying their place in the Canadian mosaic.


The Filipino Community in Canada: A Proud Legacy

The influx of Filipino nurses and healthcare professionals led to the formation of vibrant Filipino communities across Canada. These communities provided essential support and camaraderie for newcomers, enriching the cultural fabric of the nation.

The success of Filipino nurses in Canada is a testament to the power of networking and word-of-mouth communication. Their experiences in Canada were shared with friends and colleagues, inspiring others in the Philippines to consider Canada as their new home for pursuing their nursing careers.


Continuing the Journey: Opportunities in Canada Today

As Canada remains committed to recognizing and appreciating the contributions of skilled immigrants, Filipino nurses are presented with abundant opportunities to flourish in the country's healthcare system. With a proactive approach to immigration, the path to Canada has become more accessible than ever before, offering aspiring healthcare professionals a chance to embrace a rewarding and fulfilling career in this welcoming nation.


  • Express Entry: Your Gateway to Canada

For Filipino nurses seeking a fast and streamlined route to Canada, the Express Entry system is the perfect geteway. This points-based immigration system evaluates candidates based on factors such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency in English or French. With a strong demand for skilled healthcare professionals, Filipino nurses stand an excellent chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry.


  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): Tailored Pathways

Canada's provinces and territories have specific needs for healthcare workers, which is where the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) come into play. PNPs allow provinces to nominate individuals with the right skills and experience to fill the gaps in their labor market. For Filipino nurses, this means having the opportunity to be selected by a province or territory based on their nursing qualifications and expertise.


  • A Welcoming Environment: Embracing Diversity

One of Canada's greatest strengths lies in its welcoming and inclusive society. Filipino nurses and their families will find themselves embraced by a diverse community, where cultural celebrations and traditions are celebrated and shared. Canada's commitment to multiculturalism ensures that everyone feels at home, creating a nurturing environment for personal and professional growth.


  • Excelling in Healthcare: A Trusted Profession

In Canada, nursing is a highly respected profession, and Filipino nurses are valued for their expertise, compassion, and dedication to patient care. Their skills are in high demand across various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community health centers.


  • Building a Bright Future: Settling with Confidence

Once settled in Canada, Filipino nurses and their families can look forward to an array of benefits, including access to world-class healthcare, quality education for children, and a high standard of living. Canada's commitment to social welfare ensures that residents have access to essential services and support.


Pelican Migration Consultants: Your Gateway to Canada

Considering a move to Canada or have questions about immigration? Pelican Migration Consultants is here to help. Based in Dubai, our experienced consultants specialize in Canada PR visa, study visa, and Express Entry applications. We'll guide you through the entire process, ensuring a smooth journey to your dream destination in Canada. With personalized attention and professional expertise, we cater to your unique needs and maximize your chances of success. Stay confident in navigating the complex Canadian immigration landscape as we keep up-to-date with the latest policies. Let us be your trusted partner in building a prosperous future in Canada. Contact us today to take the first step towards turning your Canadian dream into reality.