The rate of migration from one part of the world to another has increased in recent times due to the economic uncertainty that many nations are facing presently. Aside from economic uncertainty, some countries attract workers in some industries to fill in the labor force they are lacking in their country.
Australia is one of such countries that require certain professionals to come in and fill the workforce shortage in their country. If there is any profession that is in high demand in Australia as of today, the nursing profession should be top on the list. Nurses from all over the world are welcome to work in Australia.
The workforce planning projections for the nursing workforce show that the medium to long- term demand for nurses will significantly exceed supply, with a projected shortfall of approximately 85,000 nurses by 2025, and 123,000 nurses by 2030 under current settings.
If you are a nurse looking to migrate and work in Australia, there is good news for you. The good news is that nurses are in demand in Australia and the statistics show no signs of slowing. In fact, it is estimated that Australia will need more than 100,000 nurses by 2025. This is why the Australian Nursing Agency (ANA) is looking for overseas nurses to fill the demand.
How to Move and Work in Australia as a Nurse Practitioner
Secure a Nursing Job
The most reliable way to move to Australia and work as a nurse practitioner is to first secure a job as a nurse in the health sector in Australia. There are many options to choose from, and there are certain requirements you must meet to be able to qualify to work as a nurse in Australia.
Please note that before you can be permitted to work as a nurse in Australia, you will need to meet the registration requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
5 Criteria That are Used in Assessing your Application for Registration:
Criterion 1 – Proof of Identify
- You will need to provide a range of proof of identity documents including:
- Biostatistical page(s) of your passport
- Change of name documentation (marriage certificate, decree nisi, deed poll)
- A passport-sized photo taken in the last six months
Criterion 2 – English Language Proficiency
Before you can qualify to work as a foreign nurse in Australia, you must have the required score in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Occupational English Test (OET) for Nurses, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT.
Good enough, you only need to pass one of these tests, not all of them. The results are only relevant for two years after the examination.
- IELTS – You must achieve a minimum score of seven in each of the four components – listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
- OET – You must achieve a minimum score of B in each of the four components – listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
- PTE – You must achieve a minimum overall score of 65 AND a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills – listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
- TOEFL iBT – You must achieve a minimum score of 94 AND the following minimum scores in each section of the test – 24 listening, 24 reading, 27 writing, and 23 speaking.
Criterion 3 – Meet Australian Nursing and Midwifery Education Standards.
Please note that if you are qualified as a nurse in one of the following countries with a bachelor’s degree (at level 7) or a diploma (level 5) as well as further education, and you are registered as a first-level nurse in one of these countries you are likely to meet the equivalent qualification as a nurse qualified in Australia:
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- United States of America
N.B: The NMBA has found that nursing qualifications in the following countries may meet the requirements of quality assurance and accreditation in Australia:
- Belgium Flanders
- Papua New Guinea
Please note that if you only have a diploma from one of the countries listed above you will require an assessment of your further education or experience to determine if you are equivalent to a nurse qualified in Australia.
It is important to state that nurses from countries not listed above will require an individual assessment to determine whether their qualifications and experience will be recognized by the Board. Please note that all applicants must provide a graduation certificate and basic transcripts.
Criterion 4 – Professional Practice
Please note that you must provide evidence of having practiced as a nurse or midwife in the five years prior to submitting your application.
You will be required to submit professional references that must meet the following criteria:
- Be on official letterhead
- Be written by a direct supervisor who is a nurse or midwife
- Be dated
- Contain an official signature
Criterion 5 – Demonstrate that you are fit to practice in Australia
Before you can qualify to work in Australia as a foreign-trained nurse, you must prove that there are no previous proven disciplinary proceedings against you, that there are no restrictions on you arising from mental incapacity, that there are no restrictions on you arising from physical incapacity, that you have no criminal history which would preclude you from working as a nurse or midwife in Australia.
Things to Do if You Meet AHPRA’s Requirements?
If you think you meet the criteria, then submit your application for registration to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
Step 1 – Submit your application for registration with AHPRA
Step 2 – Get a VISA
Once you are registered with AHPRA as a nurse you then need a VISA to be allowed to live and work in Australia.
If you are able to secure sponsorship by an employer, one of the following VISA types will be appropriate:
- Temporary Skill Shortage Visa
- Employer Nomination Scheme (Permanent Visa)
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Permanent Visa)
If you are not sponsored by an employer, you can pursue a VISA under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) provisions of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Please note that if you don’t meet the requirements because your qualifications or experience are not recognized, you might want to consider pursuing a ‘Training visa – subclass 407’ to allow you to undertake a bridging program to improve your skills.
20 Important Tips for Nurse Practitioners Moving to Australia
Here are 20 important tips for nurse practitioners moving to Australia;
Get the Required Qualifications and Experience
One of the most important tips you should note if you want to work as a nurse practitioner in Australia is to make sure you have the required qualification and experience. With that in place, it will be easier for you to secure a good-paying job.
Understand the Nursing Industry and Labor Market
Another important tip that you should note is to understand how the nursing and health industry work, the regulatory bodies, and of course the nature of the labor market in Australia.
Please note that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) regulates the nursing and midwifery professions through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. AHPRA works with national boards for specific professions. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) regulates nursing registrations.
Chose a City or Location That is Welcoming
Although Australia is a welcoming country and all the cities are ideal to live and work, it is important to note that as a new immigrant, it will pay you to live in a community where you can find a reasonable number of your ethnos (people from your home country or profession).
With that, it will be easier for you to successfully fit into the system. Please note that Perth is always a good option for nurses to live and work, the pay is high and it has great weather.
Know the Cost of Living
It is one thing to earn money as a nurse, but another thing to be able to save and perhaps send money back home to your family members. The average weekly expenditure in Australia is around $2,200 per household. This estimate includes home loans or rents at an average of $600 a week, followed by food and eating out at $400, and insurance and other financial services at $200.
Please note that ASFA estimates that the lump sum needed at retirement to support a comfortable lifestyle is $640,000 for a couple and $545,000 for a single person. This assumes a partial Age Pension. ASFA estimates that a modest lifestyle, which covers the basics, is mostly met by the Age Pension.
Understand the Growth Potential In Your Industry
Another important tip you should note is the growth potential in the industry you want to work. Of course, there are different areas of specialization you can work in as a nurse and some of these areas has high growth potential.
Please note that the average annual growth rate of 2.8% is stronger than the 1.5% per annum growth forecast for the entire Australian labor force. The average annual income of nursing workers with a postgraduate qualification in Nursing was $95,391 in 2016-17, and this is forecast to rise to $111,235 in 2021-22.
Understand the Tax System in Australia
The fact that you are moving to Australia to work as a nurse means that you will earn money and when you earn money you will be required to pay tax.
Income taxes are the most significant form of taxation in Australia and are collected by the federal government through the Australian Taxation Office. Interestingly, Australia uses a progressive tax scale system for the purposes of taxing individuals. Under this system, the rate of tax payable increases as taxable income increases.
Understand the Challenges Nurses are Subjected to in Australia
Another important knowledge you must arm yourself with before moving to Australia is to understand the challenges nurses are subjected to in Australia.
A nurse usually faces a myriad of challenges such as nursing workforce shortages, negative affectivity, generation workforce concerns, changing delivery systems, and increasing clinical practice complexity, to name a few. Sometimes, some of the challenges might be unique to migrant nurses.
Understand Your Accommodation Needs
You need to live somewhere when you get to Australia, so you need to have a handle on how the Australian rental industry works. You should know what is expected of you as a migrant before you can be qualified to rent an apartment in Australia.
Available data shows that in Australia, rents are rising pretty much everywhere in the country – Sydney and Melbourne had not been seeing rent rises for a while, but they are also starting to increase.
Get a Grip on Licenses and Permits Requirements
Another important tip you should take note of before moving to Australia as a nurse is the licenses and permits that are required of you.
Aside from the licenses and permit requirements, you should note that nurses and midwives can maintain their registration, and are encouraged to do so, if they can provide evidence of a minimum of 450 hours of either clinical or non-clinical practice, within the last five (5) years.
Know What to Travel With
If you are traveling from your country to another country to work, it means you are expected to live in the country for a long period when compared to someone who is just visiting or going on a vacation. This means that you should travel with you would need that you might not find in Australia. It could be your local foodstuff, your local medications, and loads of other stuff as long as you are permitted to bring them into the country.
Book Your Flight Early
Another important tip you should note when moving to Australia is to book your flight early. Trust me, there are many advantages when it comes to booking your flight early. First, it will give you more time to plan your trip and pack your bag. So also, it will save you money because prices of flight tickets typically start spiking in the two weeks leading up to a trip.
Understand the Banking System
You should also take time to study the banking system in Australia and make sure you have all the documents needed to open a bank account as a foreign worker in Australia. Aside from understanding the requirements needed to open a bank account in Australia, you should also understand how you can access your money when you land in the country.
Understand What is Required of You to Drive in Australia
Another important tip you should note when traveling to Australia to work is to understand what is required of you to drive in Australia as a foreigner. If you know all that is required for you to legally drive as a foreigner in Australia, then you can esily get together your documents.
As a foreigner, you are allowed to drive in Australia with an overseas driver’s license if you are a temporary visitor. If your license is not written in English, you will need to carry a formal English translation or an International Driving Permit.
Understand Different Phone and Internet Packages (Plans)
The fact that you will need phones and internet when you arrive in Australia means that it will be to your advantage to understand the different phone and internet packages available in Australia. You might want to go for pocket-friendly plans or quality but expense plans.
Identify Your Worship Center
You may find it difficult to find a place of worship as a foreigner in Australia if your religion is not popular in Australia. So, it is important to do a google search in order to identify the location of your worship center before moving to Australia. It will help you to choose a location to rent your apartment.
Understand the Laws and Culture of the Country
The fact that you are going to be working and living in Australia means that you will be subjected to the laws and culture of the country. Being ignorant of the law is not an excuse in a court of law hence you must understand the law and culture and be ready to abide by them.
For example, it is an offense to possess 50kgs of potatoes in Western Australia, Taxi cabs in Queensland are required to carry a bale of hay in the trunk. Children aren’t allowed to purchase cigarettes. On the Gold Coast, it is illegal for women to wear a bikini whose material exceeds six square inches.
Interestingly, Australia is unusual among common law countries in not having a Constitutional Charter or Bill of Rights. However, common law courts have the power to provide significant protection of human rights principles including the rule of law, except where legislation specifically overrides this power.
Understand the Weather and Climate of Australia
Another important tip that you should note if you want to move to Australia is the weather and climate. Sometimes, the weather and climatic condition of a country might not be suitable for some people that is why you need to research on it before you start making your plans.
Due to the huge size of the country, Australia has several climate zones. The northern section of Australia has a more tropical-influenced climate, hot and humid in the summer, and quite warm and dry in the winter, while the southern parts are cooler with mild summers and cool, sometimes rainy winters.
Locate Relaxation Spots in Your City
They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This means that if you have plans to travel and work in Australia as a nurse, then you should begin to identify relaxation spots; places where you can go to unwind after a hard day.
Interestingly, there are lovely beaches in Australia, cinemas, parks and zoos, and a host of places that will help you appreciate nature and have fun.
Understand How the Transport System Works
You may not start driving immediatly you land in Australia as a migrant worker, so you need to understand how the transport system works and what you need to do to be able to fit in. It could be purchasing tickets ahead of time, it could be paying your transport fare on the spot, booking taxi services et al.
Driving remains the dominant method of traveling to work in Australia, according to new data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing, which counted that 69 percent of the working population (over 6.5 million people) commute by car. But the transport options available in Australia include buses, trains, trams, and ferries. Your access to these transport services will vary depending on where you live.
Explore the Possible Means of Bringing Your Family Over
Most people that migrate to a new country to work would usually want to know the legal options available to them to bring their family members over. Interestingly, there are certain work visas you will get that will enable you to travel with your immediate family members (your spouse and children). You can explore this option if you have a spouse and children.