The incredible resolve, compassion, and positivity displayed by nurses in Australia has helped them earn a reputation as some of the most dependable professionals in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the reliability of nurses across all healthcare environments and levels in their critical role in the fight against the disease.
When the pandemic hit Australia, businesses were forced to close, and employees were asked to stay home. However, over 20,000 international nursing students were granted special permission to work more than the standard 40 hours per week allowed for international students in Australia. This is indicative of the high demand for nursing professionals in Australia.
Nursing is a highly rewarding profession for those with a passion for serving others, and in a developed country like Australia, it offers even more enrichment due to the high quality of living, better working conditions, increased safety, and higher remuneration.
To work as a nurse in Australia, it is essential to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) via the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). In addition to this, there are several other requirements that must be fulfilled, which we will outline below.
When considering a career as a nurse in Australia, it is crucial to choose between becoming an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse, as there are significant differences in qualifications, responsibilities, and pay scales. Registered nurses have higher levels of responsibility and income compared to enrolled nurses, as they can manage a team or unit in addition to assessing and addressing patients’ healthcare needs.
To qualify as a registered nurse, you must acquire an Australian Bachelor of Nursing degree or an overseas equivalent that is approved by AHPRA. If you possess an overseas qualification that is not from an approved country, it can be recognized only if you attend an OBA course, which will convert it into an equivalent Australian qualification.
After obtaining the necessary qualifications, you must register with NMBA by submitting all required documents, which can differ based on your course. It is essential to provide proof of your English proficiency as part of the registration process.
Registered nurses in Australia have several PR pathway options based on their specialisation, work experience, and degree. The process of obtaining permanent residency in Australia is comparatively simpler for nurses compared to many other professions. Choosing the right pathway is essential to achieve PR quickly. Nurses can become eligible for Australian citizenship by residing as permanent residents for four to six years. There are various visa options available for nurses who plan to migrate to Australia, and it is crucial to consider them carefully.
A visa enables you to reside, work and/or study nursing in Melbourne or other Australian regions. You are eligible to apply for the visa if the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) invites you to do so after expressing your interest, and if a state or territorial government nominates you for it. To qualify for the invitation, you need at least 65 points and meet other requirements. As a skilled registered nurse, you may apply for a state nomination if your occupation appears on that state’s occupation list.
This visa is exclusively for invited applicants who are eligible British Nationals (Overseas) or Hong Kong passport holders, and skilled New Zealanders who possess skills that the Australian Government requires. The government has limited the number of available places for this visa category, making it highly competitive. As a result, obtaining an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to apply for this visa necessitates a high point score. If DHA extends an invitation to you, you would be allowed to work in Australia as a nurse on a permanent basis.
This visa has two categories – one requires a state agency or territorial government nomination, while the other requires sponsorship from an eligible family member. It grants temporary residency in Australia, and if you hold it, you could apply for the Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 191). The subclass 191 visa allows you to reside, work as a nurse permanently, and/or pursue nursing studies in Australia on a permanent basis.
To be eligible for this visa, you must have lived, studied or worked in a designated regional area of Australia for a minimum of three years with an annual taxable income of $53,900 or higher, and you should also hold either a Subclass 494 or 491 visa. However, this visa will not become effective until November 16, 2022. Upon getting this visa, you would be allowed to reside, work, and/or study nursing permanently in Australia. If you’ve been working as a registered nurse in a designated regional area for three or more years and meet the income requirement, you may qualify for this visa.
The Skilled Occupation List permits Australian employers to sponsor overseas workers for four to five years of nursing work, contingent on their specific circumstances. A Medium-Term Stream visa would be the correct visa type to apply for as a registered nurse. If you are eligible, you may also be qualified to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186). The visa durations differ based on citizenship status – for those not holding Hong Kong citizenship, the visa would be valid for four years, while for Hong Kong citizens, it would be valid for five years.
This particular type of visa grants permanent residency rights in Australia, and to qualify for it, you must meet certain conditions such as having an approved skills assessment, securing employer sponsorship, and possessing three years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation. However, if you have previously held a valid TSS visa and worked as a nurse for the same employer for at least three years, you may be eligible to apply for this visa.