Moving to Australia as a Nurse — A Quick Guide

Healthcare workers are valued no matter where they are in the world, especially in Australia. The country is among the top 10 highest paying nations for nurses. So, rest assured that you’ll be able to live a comfortable lifestyle while pursuing your passion.    

If you want to live and work in Australia as a nurse, we’ve got some great news for you! There is high demand in the Australian job market for your expertise! Not to mention, it’s also a great pathway for acquiring your Australian PR.

Here’s everything you need to know about moving to Australia as a nurse!

Eligibility Criteria

First, you must establish that you meet the requirements set by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). If you don’t, you can’t be allowed to migrate to the country or work there as a nurse.

These are the five eligibility criteria used to assess your application for registration:

Prove Your ID

You’ll be required to submit certified copies of evidence of identity documents, including a:

  • Change of name certificate e.g., marriage certificate,

  • Biographic page of your passport, and

  • Passport-size photo (taken within the past six months)

Possess Adequate Professional Experience

You can’t start practicing in Australia if you haven’t had any prior professional experience in your home country. To qualify, you need to prove that you’ve worked as a nurse or midwife within the past five years before you submit your application.

You’re required to submit professional references that should conform to a few rules. The references should:

  • Be on official letterhead,

  • Be dated,

  • Be written by a nurse or a midwife who is your direct supervisor, and

  • Hold official signatures.

Meet the NMBA Education Standards

There are a few select countries where your nursing qualifications are recognized by the NMBA. If you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing or gotten a diploma for it and you’re registered as a first-level nurse in any of these countries, then you’re likely to qualify as a nurse in Australia. The countries are:

  • UK,

  • New Zealand,

  • Canada,

  • Hong Kong,

  • The Republic of Ireland, and

  • The USA.

Additionally, you may also meet the requirements of quality assurance and accreditation in Australia if you’ve earned your nursing qualifications from the following countries:

  • Chile,

  • Pakistan,

  • Papua New Guinea,

  • Singapore, and

  • Belgium Flanders.

There are a few important things that you must keep in mind. You should make sure that you have all your basic transcripts and your graduation certificate in order. If you’ve earned a diploma from any of the above-listed countries, you’ll need to undergo a further assessment of your education and experience. If it meets the current standards of practicing as a nurse in Australia, you’ll be considered.

If you’re a nurse from a country not mentioned above, you will need to undergo an individual assessment to determine whether your qualifications will be recognized by the NMBA. Normally, you’re required to take a bridging course to convert your qualification to the Australian nursing equivalent.

Be Proficient in the English Language

There are four tests to prove your efficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening in English — Academic IELTS, TOEFL iBT, OET for Nurses, and PTE Academic.

  • IELTS: Your minimum score must be 7 in each of the four components; listening, writing, reading, and speaking.

  • TOEFL iBT: The section-wise minimum score requirements are 24 in listening, 23 in speaking, 24 in reading, and 27 in writing. Your overall score should be no less than 94.

  • OET: The minimum grade in each component must be B.

  • PTE Academic: Your minimum overall score should be 65, scoring at least 65 in each of the four components.

You can take any one of these and bear in mind that the results are only valid for the next two years after taking it.

Meet the Fitness Requirements

Lastly, you’re required to prove that you have not had any disciplinary action taken against you in the past. You should have no mental or physical inability that would restrict you from performing your nursing practice in Australia. You should also have no criminal history. If you think you’re in the clear with all of these, there’s nothing left to prevent you from practicing as a nurse in Australia but securing your visa!

Visa Options for Nursing in Australia

General Skilled Visas

Under the Australian general skilled visas, you’re allowed to live and work in Australia as a nurse. You can apply for the Skilled Independent Visa if you want to apply for residency independently. If you have relatives who are Australian citizens and can sponsor you, then you can apply for the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa instead.

There is also the Skilled Nominated Visa which requires you to be nominated by an Australian territory or state government agency.

Employer Sponsorship Visas

If you have managed to secure sponsorship by an Australian employer, you can apply for the following visa options:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme

  • Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Training Visa

If your educational and/or professional nursing expertise doesn’t conform to the standards set by the Australian board, don’t worry! You can pursue a Training visa that allows you to travel to Australia to take a bridging program. You’ll be able to upgrade your skills to meet the nursing education and experience standards set by the Australian board. 

There you have it; we’ve covered all the basics of moving to Australia as a nurse. It’s natural if you feel overwhelmed after reading all this information. The process can be quite complex as there are a lot of things to keep track of. If you need some assistance to help guide you through, don’t hesitate to get in touch with UIS Australia! Our expert team of consultants provides tailor-made services to give you the best visa experience possible! Make a trouble-free move to Australia as a nurse with UIS Australia!

Ron Ford

Ron Ford immigrated with his family to Australia in 2005 to work as a social worker. Following their difficult immigration process, he slowly turned to blogging and creating content about immigration: "…As a family of 5, we struggled to make ends meet. I was working around the clock and Clarissa was working in housekeeping any time she could spare. The move to Australia completely changed our lives, but it cost us a lot of money, time, and tears. Ever since I've wanted to help others on their journeys the way I wished someone had helped us".

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