If you are a nurse or midwife with international qualifications (IQNMs) and you are interested in working in Australia, you need to read this article about immigration to Australia, as well as how registration and employment works.
To work as a nurse or midwife in Australia, you need to apply for and be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). You may also need to apply for a visa issued by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Be aware: successfully completing one of these application processes does not guarantee success in the other.
The NMBA advises you not to make any irreversible decisions before you have applied for and been approved for registration with its governing body. Your application for registration will be processed according to the specific circumstances of your case.
For international applicants who are registered in New Zealand and who have the legal authority to practise as a nurse or midwife in New Zealand are subject to certain entitlements under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (Commonwealth) and should apply for registration with the National Board using the following form: Nursing and Midwifery Board – Form – Application for Trans Tasman mutual recognition – ATMR-40 (PDF)
|ANMAC takes into consideration work experience in assessing an applicant’s qualifications, which is then used to determine suitability for skilled migration. Under the National Law, the NMBA can only take into account an applicant’s qualifications when establishing whether their qualifications are substantially equivalent to an Australian qualification. This is why some applicants may be approved for skilled migration but do not meet the registration requirements of the NMBA.|
More information on visa applications, including skills assessments and assessing authorities is available on the Australian Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship website.
International applicants must meet the registration standards and qualification criteria in order to be eligible for registration.
Under Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) regulations, some Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQNs) can apply for registration online.
But AHPRA doesn’t recognise all qualifications as “equivalent qualifications” and those nurses need to take the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) in Adelaide. It costs $4000.
What is the OSCE?
The Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) is a clinical exam to assess the candidate’s knowledge, skills and competence as a graduate-level nurse or midwife from an Australian NMBA-approved program of study.
A spokesperson for AHPRA told the ABC the assessment for IQNs ensured Australian standards were met.
“The OSCE is completed in-person in a clinical simulation environment to ensure that internationally qualified nurses can meet the standard of practice expected in Australia,” the spokesperson said.
“This is a matter of public safety and ensures a rigorous evidence-based assessment of clinical skills.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told the ABC the Federal Government was facilitating the migration of 2000 overseas health practitioners from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Eligible practitioners are substantially registered to work in Australia, have confirmed employment and appropriate work visas (or are Australian citizens), and will be able to begin working in the health system immediately upon arrival,” the spokesperson said.
A spokeswoman for AHPRA told the SMH 3796 overseas qualified nurses had registration applications granted since March 2020, and there continued to be a year-on-year increase.
Related Australian Nursing Resources For International Nurses
- ANMF: International Nurses
- Immigration and employment in Australia
- How to become a nurse
- Reddit: Nursing In Australia
- International nurses struggling to fit in
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