Nursing in Australia/New Zealand

The nursing regulatory in Australia is the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. It is necessary for an international nurse to register with them and as part of a separate process obtain a visa through the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

There are a variety of methods to approach the visa issue depending upon individual circumstances:

Visa Options for Nurses

There are temporary and permanent visas to assist overseas nurses work in the health care industry in Australia.

Demand for nurses

• Nurses are currently in high demand in Australia. There are excellent career opportunities whether you want to emigrate to Australia, or just stay for a few years.
• Whether you have a high level of skills and experience or need to gain additional skills, there is a visa to suit you.
• Most visa applications for nurses receive priority processing.
• You can come to Australia independently, and look for work, or arrange a job with an employer before you leave.
• In Australia, to work as a nurse you need to be in good health and have a certain level of education and experience.
• To determine whether you can work in Australia as a nurse, you will need to be assessed by either the ANMC or the nurse regulatory body in the State or Territory in which you wish to work.
• The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) has more information including links to State and Territory nurse regulatory bodies.
• If you wish to work in a hospital or other health care area, you will also need to pass a health examination which includes a chest x-ray.

If you are sponsored by an Employer Nomination Scheme

• If you are less than 45 years of age and have three years training followed by three years relevant work experience, you may be eligible for a permanent visa under this scheme. This scheme is designed to help employers that have been unable to fill a vacancy from the Australian labour market or through their own training.

Labour Agreements

• A Labour Agreement between an employer and the Australian Government allows an employer to recruit nurses on a permanent basis to fill vacant positions as they arise.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

• This scheme helps employers in regional or low population growth areas recruit skilled overseas nurses on a permanent basis, when they are unable to fill vacancies from the local labour market. You must have the equivalent of an Australian diploma (two years full-time study) or higher to be considered under this scheme.

Skill Matching visa

• This visa is for nurses whose skills are in demand and are seeking to be nominated by a State or Territory government or an employer. To qualify for this permanent visa, you must satisfy certain criteria for skills, age and English language ability.

Business (Long Stay) Visa

• This option allows a registered nurse to work temporarily in Australia for an approved business sponsor. You can stay up to four years with full work rights for yourself and accompanying family members.

If you are sponsored by a relative Skilled (Australian Sponsored) visa

• Nurses who can nominate a close relative living in certain regions of Australia to be their sponsor and provide financial support should consider this permanent visa option.

If you wish to come to Australia independently Skilled Independent visa

• This permanent visa is for nurses who do not have a sponsor or who choose not to be sponsored. You must pass a points test that considers a range of factors including skills, age, English language ability, specific work experience and occupation. Additional points are awarded if you have Australian qualifications and work experience.

Working Holiday Maker visa

• If you are between 18 and 30, you may be able to come to Australia temporarily for a working holiday. This visa allows you to stay for 12 months and work as a nurse with any one employer for a maximum of three months, provided your work remains incidental to your holidays.

Improving your skills

If you do not have the necessary qualifications to work as a nurse in Australia, you can do a bridging program to bring your skills to the required level.
The following temporary visa options are available to you:

Business (Short Stay) visa

• This option is ideal for nurses who wish to undertake an approved bridging or pre-registration program that runs for less than three months. Nurses who successfully complete the course may be able to apply in Australia for a Business (Long Stay) visa.
Student visa

To obtain a Student visa, your nursing course must be registered.