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Sun, fun and nursing - Australia has so much to offer

Your nursing qualification is a passport to working anywhere, so why not consider a move Down Under?

According to the NMC, about 2,000 nurses are believed to have left the UK and headed to Australia to work last year.

Mental health nurse Gary Ennis moved to Australia in 2003, planning to stay for three years and enjoy the Rugby World Cup. He took a staff nurse post on an acute admissions ward at NorthWestern Mental Health (NWMH) in Melbourne.

‘I found that my skills and experience were transferable,’ he says. ‘The clients using the mental health service have the same types of presentations and diagnoses, and the treatment options and approaches are similar [to those in the UK].’

Nursing staff can unwind on Australia’s beautiful beaches

Picture credit: Corbis

Mr Ennis says the lifestyle as well as the work helped make his move permanent.

‘There always seems to be something on in Melbourne; sports, arts, dining out and, of course, the guarantee of a good summer each year with beautiful beaches makes it an attractive option.’

British nurses’ skills and English language make them desirable recruits to fill nursing shortages in Australia in a range of areas including mental health, care of older people, community and emergency nursing.

Assess ability to meet registration requirements.

Assess ability to meet immigration requirements.

Complete an application form and send all documentation to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Board will assess whether you meet the requirements for registration.

Receive registration.

Apply for immigration visa to Australia.

Obtain employment before emigrating.

To work in Australia, nurses need to be registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and have a visa that gives them permission to work. The NMBA recommends applying for registration first, and then applying for a visa, before searching for work.

Gaining nursing registration confirmation takes between two and four months.

There are different options when it comes to visas. The skilled migrant visa, which involves reaching a certain level of points accrued through qualifications, experience and other factors such as age, allows nurses to live in Australia and work for any employer. It takes between six and nine months to complete the paperwork and receive the visa, according to Emigrate to Australia’s migration consultant Anna Gorna.

A visa, which is granted through sponsorship by a specific employer, means the nurse can only work for that service, but is quicker to obtain at around two to three months.

People under the age of 31 can apply for a working holiday visa, often used by those who want to combine work and travelling. This can be arranged in a few weeks.

Rule changes in 2014 mean UK nurses with a diploma are unlikely to be able to work as registered nurses. Ms Gorna says they should top up their qualification to degree level before applying.


Further information

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

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