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Nursing is one of the most favourable occupations for migration to Australia. It is a pathway to Permanent Residency. This article goes through the most important things you need to know if you are looking to migrate to Australia as a nurse.

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Working as a Nurse in Australia

To work as a nurse in Australia, you must be registered through AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency)external icon. But for registration, you need to have a recognised Australian or overseas qualification. You also need to meet the English requirement for nurses.

Recognised Overseas Nursing Qualifications in Australia

If you hold a Bachelor-level qualification from this list of countries, you are likely to be recognised by AHPRA:

  • Canada (nursing)

  • Hong Kong (nursing)

  • Republic of Ireland (nursing and midwife)

  • United Kingdom (nursing and midwifery)

  • United States of America (nursing and midwifery)

And if you have a qualification from the following countries, it may be recognised by AHPRA

  • Belgium Flanders (nursing and midwifery)

  • Chile (nursing)

  • Hong Kong (midwifery)

  • Pakistan (nursing and midwifery)

  • Papua New Guinea (nursing)

  • Singapore (nursing and midwifery)

If your qualification is not on this list, you can undertake a Nursing bridging course in Australia to convert your qualification to the Australian equivalent.

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English Requirements

You will also need to show AHPRA that you meet the English language requirement.

Usually, you need to complete an English language test. AHPRA accepts the IELTS and some other tests. Also, when you do IELTS for nursing, it is possible to use 2 different test sittings to meet the English requirementexternal icon. But, these need to be done within 6 months of each other. AHPRA accepts test results of up to 2 years.

Exemptions from English testing apply if your initial qualifications, schooling or tertiary qualifications were done in certain English-speaking countriesexternal icon.

IELTS One Skill Retake

If you’d like to improve just one component of your IELTS test, we’d like to introduce a new feature: IELTS One Skill Retakeexternal icon. We know most test takers get the scores they need the first time. But if you feel you haven’t performed to your best in all areas, IELTS One Skill Retake can help you get back on track.

Ahpra and National Boardsexternal icon accept IELTS One Skill Retake for registration in the medical sector.

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Nursing on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List for Australia in 2021

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) contains 12 out of the 19 occupations in the health care sector. These occupations have been identified to fill urgent skills needed in critical sectors and support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Employer sponsored nomination and visa applications with an occupation on the PMSOL list are given priority processing under the following visa subclasses:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)

  • Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)

  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)

The PMSOL is a temporary list and its occupations are subject to change as Australia recovers from COVID-19.

ANZSCO CodeOccupation
111111Chief Executive or Managing Director
133111Construction Project Manager
233512Mechanical Engineer
253111General Practitioner
253112Resident Medical Officer
253999Medical Practitioner nec
254412Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
254415Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
254418Registered Nurse (Medical)
254422Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
254423Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
254499Registered Nurses nec
261312Developer Programmer
261313Software Engineer
272511Social Worker
312911Maintenance Planner

Nursing on the Skilled Occupations List for Australia in 2021

OccupationANZSCOListAssessing authority
Enrolled Nurse411411STSOLANMAC
Mothercraft Nurse411412ROLVETASSESS
Nurse Educator254211STSOLANMAC
Nurse Manager254311STSOLANMAC
Nurse Practitioner254411MLTSSLANMAC
Nurse Researcher254212STSOLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Aged Care)254412MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health)254413MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Community Health)254414MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)254415MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability)254416MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation)254417MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)254421MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical)254418MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Mental Health)254422MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)254425MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Perioperative)254423MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Surgical)254424MLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurses nec254499MLTSSLANMAC
Veterinary Nurse361311STSOLVETASSESS
Nursing Clinical Director134212MLTSSLANMAC

Is Nursing on the MLTSSL Skilled Occupations List?

Yes, you can find most specialist nursing occupations on the MLTSSL Skilled Occupations List. This Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). It means that if you have an occupation on this list, you can usually apply for certain temporary and permanent visas.

Temporary visas include:

  • Subclass 407 – Training visa (Occupation training stream)

  • Subclass 489 – Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa

  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa

And, Permanent visas include:

  • Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent

  • Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated visa

  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Direct Entry

For example: if you are an Aged Care Nurse, a Critical Care Nurse or an Emergency Nurse, your skill appears on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List. Similarly, Mental Health Nurses and Surgical Nurses would also apply under this list.

The most commonly used nursing specialisation when applying for migration to Australia is the occupation of Registered Nurses NEC (that means “Not Elsewhere Classified”).

Is Nursing on the STSOL Skilled Occupations List?

Yes, there are also a few occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). For instance, an Enrolled Nurse and a Nurse Manager are on this list. When you apply under this list, it is usually for the following visa types. Again, there are both temporary and permanent visas.

Temporary visas for Nursing on STSOL list include:

  • Subclass 407 – Training visa (Occupation training stream)

  • Subclass 489 – Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa

And, Permanent visas include the:

  • Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated visa

  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Direct Entry

Why work in Australia as a nurse?

What is the job outlook for nurses in Australia?

In the last five years, the number of Registered Nurses has increased tremendously. And, the Australian government expectsexternal icon it to increase even more. We’re looking at 297,600 nurses in 2018 and up to 330,900 jobs in 2023! So, that means the job outlook for nurses in Australia is very positive.

How much do nurses make in Australia?

People working as a nurse in Australia on a full time basis can earn roughly $1,480 per week. So, that’s about $65,000 per year. As a result, working as a nurse makes more money than the average of $1,230 per week. And, the more experience you have, the more you earn.

What are the career opportunities as a nurse in Australia?

Within the field of nursing, there are many specialisations. For example, you can become a Paediatric Nurse. Or an Orthopaedic Nurse. Alternatively, you could work as a Nurse Researcher. A career in this area of healthcare also allows you to work across Australia. From the big cities, to the smallest towns in the outback. Check here to learn about city vs regional Australiaexternal icon.

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Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. For example, in June 2021 Australia added 22 new occupations to its priority migration list. So, it’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairsexternal icon website for changes that may apply to you.

If you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free adviceexternal icon for student visas.