Migrating to Australia as a Nurse - A guide to skilled migration for Nurses

Have you been considering the option of migrating to Australia as a nurse? The information around migrating to Australia as a nurse can be very difficult to come by and quite often the information is more confusing rather than helpful. We have created a guide to skilled migration for nurses.

Emigrating to Australia as a Nurse – Key Facts

  • General Skilled Migration to Australia for Nurses
  • Pay rates for Nurses in Australia
  • How many Points you need to emigrate to Australia as a nurse
  • Permanent Residency for Nurses in Australia
  • How do you find Nurse Jobs in Australia?
  • What are the best cities for Nurse Jobs in Australia?
  • How much do Nurse get paid in Australia?

How do Nurses secure Visas to work in Australia?

  • Take an Australian Skill Assessment?
  • Where can you take a Skill Assessment in the UK?
  • What is an English Language Test?
  • Where can you take an English Language Test (IELTS)?
  • Register with AHPRA
  • Speak with a MARA approved Migration Agent

Nursing jobs in Australia with Sponsorship

Nursing jobs in Australia are still in high demand, despite the recent changes to the Australian 457 Visa program. The 457 Visa program has not actually stopped, in simple terms it is changing form to the new Temporary Skills Shortage Visas (TSS). Employers are indeed still offering sponsorship’s for nurses although with the current changes it there is not a pathway to permanent residency. (find out more about the recent 457 Visa changes here)

General Skilled Migration for Nurses

Other ways to migrate to Australia as a nurse is through the general skilled migration  program. If you emigrate to Australia under the general skilled migration program you will be entitled to work in Australia on a permanent residency visa and your partner or any dependants will be able to apply for a spouse visa under the family migration visa type.

To qualify as a skilled migrant you will need to complete a trade skill assessment and qualify for a certain number of points that have been set by the Australian Governments immigration department, which is also known as border.gov.au.

Australian Permanent residency visa for Nurses

People with the specific skills and qualifications that are on the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List also known as MLTSSL (formally Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL)), who also reach the set number of points and criteria, may be able to emigrate to Australia as a nurse (or other trade) and secure a permanent residency visa which entitles you to work in Australia.

On this page, we have sourced and summarised the relevant information required for nurses who would like to emigrate to Australia.


Here’s our guide to skilled migration to Australia for Nurses

What Australian visas will nurses need to work in healthcare in Australia?

What is a skilled migrant?

A skilled migrant is a person who meets the Australian governments criteria for an occupation that is ‘in demand’. Occupations that are in demand include Nurses, Electricians, Carpenters, Doctors, Engineers and more. As of 18 April 2017 the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) was replaced by the below Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) View the current skilled occupation list here. In order to qualify for skilled migration to Australia, you must nominate an occupation from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). However, if you are applying for skilled migration visa nomination by a State or Territory Government; you have the option of nominating an occupation from the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

What is an Australian Skill Assessment?

The Australian Skill Assessment is a paper based skills assessment of your qualification/s and employment history to determine comparability with Australian standards for a skilled worker in your nominated occupation.  Where can you take a Skill Assessment in the UK? ANMAC - www.anmac.org.au/ VETASSESS - www.vetassess.com.au/

What is an English Language Test?

What is an English Language Test? Under the Australian Skilled Migration Visa Category it is mandatory to prove that you have sufficient ability in the English language to work in Australia (at least at competent level). This is measured through the International English Language Testing System.

Where can you take an English Language Test?

According to the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, the following tests are accepted by the government.

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test (also known as Certificate in Advanced English).

Nurses and Midwives must do the ‘Academic’ version and achieve a score of at least 7 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. The results must be sent directly to the skills assessment body from the test centre. If you are an internationally qualified nurse or midwife and are interested in working in Australia, it is important you to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). You have to bear in mind when planning your visa application, that the time frame to process your application for AHPRA registration depends on the unique circumstances and is approximately 6 months in most cases.

How do you find Nursing Jobs in Australia through recruitment job boards?

Healthcare Australia - www.healthcareaustralia.com.au/

Multi-award winning Healthcare Australia has been uniting nurses with employers for more than 40 years, so you can have faith that they know what they’re doing. Not only will they find you a role, they’ll find you one that suits you and the employer down to the ground, whether that be casual or permanent employment so you can enjoy the lifestyle you want.

Bower Healthcare - www.bowerhealthcare.com.au/

Sydney-based Bower Healthcare provides nursing and community in-home support recruitment to the healthcare and community sectors. Clients include public and private hospitals and facilities with casual and permanent work available for registered and assistant nurses. Candidates of Bower Healthcare will receive access to an online roster system, professional indemnity insurance cover and guidance from management and consulting staff, all of whom are nurses or community workers themselves.

Australian Nursing Agency - www.australiannursingagency.com/

Established in 2000, Australian Nursing Agency is one of the most professional and reputable nursing agencies in Australia. Supplying casual, locum an permanent nurses to public and private healthcare sectors in Melbourne as SwingShift Nurses, they can find jobs for general nurses, midwives, mental health nurses and speciality nurses in A&E, ICU and Paediatrics.

Programmed Health Professionals - www.programmed.com.au/

Nurses that want to live and travel in Australia can enjoy the freedom and variety provided by Programmed Health Professionals (formally known as Nursing Australia). There are short term contracts and placements available in a range of healthcare areas all around Australia, so you can choose the right ones for you and your travel plans.

HealthStaff Recruitment - www.healthstaffrecruitment.com.au/

Join HealthStaff Recruitment to start a whole new life in Australia. With three-month to four-year contracts available and potential for permanent residency, they provide a supreme relocation service whether you’re moving alone or with family. You can expect assistance with professional registration, getting your tax file number and Work Permit Sponsorship.

What are the best employers in Australia for nurses?

What are the best cities for Nursing Jobs in Australia?

Although there has been a slight dip in recruitment in States like Western Australia nurses are still among one of the occupations in high demand.

As of March 2018 nursing jobs are still in high demand in the following cities:

  • Sydney
  • Brisbane 
  • Gold Coast 
  • Hobart
  • Melbourne 
  • Perth
  • Adelaide
  • Darwin  

How much do nurses get paid in Australia?

Registered Nurses (RN) in Australia earn an average salary of $65,000 per year. Nurse wages vary based on location, qualifications, experience and seniority.  

To discover an unbiased, professional and completely honest opinion of your likelihood of success in migrating to Australia as a nurse, head to our Free Australian Visa Assessment Today!

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