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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Manitoba College of Registered Nurses

drops status requirement

by Michael Scott

There is a great need for nurses in post-COVID Canada. In Western Canada roughly 24.3 per cent of nursing positions are vacant. Closer to home, the shortage is just as acute. I have experienced firsthand the pressure put on good friends and my two nieces who work as RNs in Winnipeg. All have experienced being overworked and understaffed in the workplace. Vacant nursing positions in Winnipeg have exceeded 1,300 for the past eight months. The government and the licensing body are united in their efforts to address the shortage. The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba recently announced changes in their regulations to modernize and expedite the registration process for internally educated nurses (IEN).

The registration process, which included a requirement for applicants to have permanent Canadian residence or citizenship, limited the number of internationally trained nurses who could be registered in the province.

The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba announced in a press release on November 7, 2022, that it had changed some regulations regarding the admission of nurses trained overseas, to increase the number of possible applicants by removing the permanent resident status requirement. The college has recognized that the status of nursing applicant does not determine their professional competency. Applicants should be measured by their training, work experience and competency in nursing, not if they are permanent or temporary residents of Canada. Previously, visitors, foreign students, and overseas foreign workers were all denied registration to the college.

“The college recognizes the significant need for qualified nurses in Manitoba, and the changes announced today represent a significant step forward in streamlining the process for internationally educated applicants to become registered nurses,” said Deb Elias CEO/Registrar. The college has instituted changes to “balance the need for public protection with a renewed focus on applicant’s experiences throughout the process.”

The following changes to the registration process for IEN applicants were instituted immediately:

  • Proof of landed status has been dropped from the application process to the college;
  • Supporting documents for verification of registration do not require validation until the applicant is accepted to write the NCLEX-RN examination. This is a refinement that should speed up the process;
  • Applicants must still meet the English language proficiency requirements but only as part of requirements to write the NCLEX-RN examination or for RN registration. Students who attended the Nurse Re-Entry Program (NREP) at RRC Polytech, are now deemed proficient for two years after the date of completion of their studies;
  • The college is working to give applicants the option to complete a second clinical competence assessment (CCA) in the event that their first attempt did not make the grade.

The college has also partnered with other stakeholders to expand unregulated job classification to internationally educated nurse applicants and former registered nurses, who are completing remedial education to become registered. At this time, only third- or fourth-year nursing students are eligible to work in this category.

Elias assured that the priority of the college is to put patient safety first, saying, “these are exceptional times and innovative solutions are required.”

The move to remove the status requirement is a step in right direction. We need qualified nurses to fill the vacancies regardless of whether they are permanent or temporary residents of Canada.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: