Express Entry to Canada for Doctors and healthcare professionals: Updated Guide to the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Immigrating to Canada as a medical professional has become a promising pathway for doctors seeking new opportunities and a higher quality of life. Canada's Express Entry system, tailored for skilled workers, offers a streamlined process for obtaining permanent residency (PR). For doctors, this involves meeting specific educational and professional criteria, demonstrating language proficiency, and navigating a series of procedural steps to ensure their credentials are recognized. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the Express Entry process for doctors, covering essential costs, required documents, and the likelihood of practicing medicine upon arrival in Canada. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a recent graduate, understanding these key elements will help you embark on your journey to Canada with confidence and clarity.

Preliminary Requirements

Before Receiving an Invitation:

1. IELTS (General Training):

• Cost: GHC 3,200-3,400 or equivalent in your local currency 

*You can attempt CELPIP or PTE core. Takers claim is it easier to get good scores as compared to IELTS.

2. Medical Council of Canada: Account: CAD $320

• Document Fee (Source Verification Request [SVR]): CAD $220 per certificate. You only need to send your medical school certificate/diploma. Do not send your transcript. You also need to certify a copy of your passport.

This stage takes 2 to 5 weeks for MCC to accept your certificate, forward it to ECFMG and for ECFMG to send it to your medical school, then another 1 day - 3 months depending on how fast your medical school responds.

• Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) Report Fee: CAD $128. This can only be done after the SVR is complete.

This stage takes 1-14 working days (averagely 7 days).

You should join the express entry pool as soon as you have your ECA and IELTS results. Your primary NOC must be 31102 - General practitioners and family physicians to qualify for the healthcare draw if you are a doctor.

Your potentional score: CRS Scores Based on IELTS and Work Experience

• Band 7 IELTS + 1 year work experience: CRS score of 390+

• Band 7 IELTS + 3 years work experience: CRS score of 420+

• Band 8-9 IELTS + 1 year work experience: CRS score of 440+

• Band 8-9 IELTS + 3 years work experience: CRS score of 470+

The latest federal healthcare draw, held on February 14, 2024, had a cut-off score of 422. Additionally, Ontario conducted a healthcare draw with a cut-off score of 352. The draws are done once every ~3 months.

Predictions for federal draw for healthcare category  for 2024: February, June, October.

*For non-doctors, you can use WES or any other ECA processing platform as indicated by IRCC to get to this stage.

Post-Invitation (Invitation to apply-ITA) Requirements

• Canadian Government Processing Fee: CAD $950

• Right of Permanent Residence Fee:  CAD $575

• Medical Exam(s): Costs vary

• Police Background Check(s): Costs vary

• Biometrics Fee(s): CAD $85 per person

Proof of Funds:

• Single applicant: CAD $14,690

• Family of two: CAD $18,288

• Family of three: CAD $22,483

• Family of four: CAD $27,297

• Family of five: CAD $30,690

• Family of six: CAD $34,917

• Family of seven: CAD $38,875

This is single-handedly the most important aspect of your application post ITA. It is advisable to start saving towards your proof of funds early. You need to show your 6 month bank statements when you get the ITA. Sudden, unexplained  huge deposits may be questioned and your visa might be rejected based on that. 

It takes an average of 6 months for the PR to be processed through the express entry route (Federal Skilled Worker Program)

After Obtaining Visa

• Flight and Relocation Costs: Costs vary depending on the location

• Initial Rent and Miscellaneous Expenses: Highly variable based on the city of settlement

Chances of Practicing Medicine

While there is a high probability (90%) of becoming a Permanent Resident (PR) within five months of starting the process, the likelihood of practicing clinical medicine directly after arrival is about 40%   . Alternative career pathways within the healthcare sector or additional certification requirements may be necessary to practice medicine in Canada.

Our next article will be on how to register and prepare for the various examinations needed to practice medicine in Canada.


The Express Entry process for doctors involves significant initial costs and careful preparation, especially concerning language proficiency and credential verification. With recent changes targeting healthcare professionals, there is a strong opportunity for doctors to immigrate, although practicing in clinical roles might require additional steps. For the most accurate and personalized advice, consulting with immigration experts and staying updated with the latest federal and provincial draws is recommended.