Quebec to train 1,000 foreign nurses amid shortage

The province’s labour immigration minister Jean Boulet announced the $65m investment will take place over two years to properly “recruit and integrate” the international candidates.

“This is a winning formula for Quebec and for qualified immigrants who wish to enrich our network to the extent of their skills,” said Boulet at a conference announcing the initiatives.

Candidates who are successful will attend a CEGEP nine to 12 month refresher course courtesy of the government, and receive a $500 weekly stipend during their training.

Seven regions are being touted as the most in-need of these nurses, which is where they will be sending the first cohort in the autumn of 2022.

Those in the first phase are Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Baie James and the Outaouais.

Boulet stressed that the nurses trained will be “encouraged but not forced” to stay in these regions.

“Especially in these regions, a few personnel can make a big, big difference,” said health minister Christian Dubé, also at the news conference.

The main countries being targeted in the first phase of recruitment include Algeria, Cameroon, Mauritius, Morocco and Tunisia.

“It’s win-win, both for Quebec and the people who want to immigrate”

The news comes after tumultuous issues with recruiting abroad amid an enduring shortage, after reports about “long, complicated” processes for foreign nurses to allow them to practise in Quebec.

CTV news in Montreal interviewed a Colombian nurse in January who encouraged other foreign nurses to join her as a practising nurse in the province.

“It’s win-win, both for Quebec and the people who want to immigrate,” Botero said.

Candidates will also be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week as nurses’ aides during their training and school breaks.

Spouses of nurses will even be offered an “open work permit”, and assistance will be offered to nurses and their families at “every step” of the immigration process.

However, one uncertainty that befalls the candidates is the federal step: the federal government will be the decision makers on whether they will be granted permanent residency.

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