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Nursing & Other Medical Profession Visas

A large proportion of our clients are interested in travelling to Australia to experience the Australian way of life and to decide if they wish to make a permanent move to the land 'down under'.

Migration Matters and is able to assist specifically with enquiries by nursing and medical staff who wish to travel and work in Australia or who wish to relocate permanently.

Nursing in Australia

Nursing in Australia is similar in many ways to the UK. The public health system faces waiting lists and budget constraints, similar shift patterns and drug names, and not forgetting that a nurses' unique sense of humour and self-preservation skills are easily transferable to Australia.

The Australian Nursing Council (ANCI) has developed national Competency Standards for the registered and enrolled nurse, the ANCI Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia and the ANCI code of Professional Conduct. All nurses have to be registered within the State or Territory in which they work unlike the UK where nurses are registered with the UKCC and can practice anywhere in the country.

You can keep abreast of what's happening in the professional arena by becoming a member of the Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA). The RCNA runs a Program called 3LP - Life Long Learning Program, which is similar to PREP although is not mandatory for re-registration. It adds to your portfolio and shows you are motivated and committed to personal and professional development.

Professional Indemnity

Nurses in the public health system are covered by the facility's public liability and professional indemnity insurance. However if you are working for an agency or private hospital you must be sure to find out if you are covered. Purchasing your own professional indemnity insurance from the Australian Nursing Federation is strongly recommended. You have to be a member to have insurance.


In Australia various awards and agreements determine the wages and conditions for nurses. As a guide the rates for an RN level 1, years 1-9 are around:

 HourlyYearly (full time)
RN 1Yr 1$18.90$37530
Yr 2$19.70$39100
Yr 3$20.50$40700
Yr 4$21.30$42300
Yr 5$22.10$43900
Yr 6$22.90$45450
Yr 7$23.70$47050
Yr 8$24.50$48600
Yr 9$25.30$50200

This is only a guide and more information on specific award details can be obtained upon request. Generally speaking the wages are higher for casual employment as you are paid a 'leave loading' of 15% on top of your wage. This is in lieu of any leave that you would normally accrue.

Whilst the direct exchange rate makes the wages somewhat less than the UK it is important to remember the quality and standard of living in Australia are generally higher. Your A$ goes further most days.


Generally if you are loyal to a healthcare facility you can be rewarded in a variety of ways ranging from staff development opportunities to a long-term contract and assistance with permanent migration sponsorship. You would normally have to give a two-year commitment to get sponsorship support. This doesn't suit everyone as some nurses wish to travel around the country and then settle down later. Read further information about Regional Sponsorship Migration from Migration Matters.

Casual work provides you with flexibility and the opportunity to work when and where it suits you. It is often a great way to find out where you would like to settle for a while. Permanent and long-term temporary employment is more fixed but there are advantages such as sick, annual and maternity leave entitlements, staff development opportunities and long service leave. Contact Migration Matters for more information.

Getting registered and getting work

There's nothing worse than arriving in Australia thinking that you will have money in your pocket very soon and then finding it can take 5-6 weeks to get organised and registered where you want to work. Migration Matters is able to assist you through the minefield and make your transition to nursing in Australia as smooth as possible.

We can help you in the following ways:
  • Checking whether your registration will be automatically recognised in Australia through the Australian Nursing Council;
  • Getting you through the registration process in the State or Territory where you want to work in Australia;
  • Looking for appropriate clinical placements in healthcare facilities;
  • Putting you in touch with the right people for employment;
  • Getting you registered with a nursing agency;
  • Getting you registered as a pool or bank nurse with a healthcare facility;
  • Arranging for relevant health checks if required for when you arrive in Australia.

For all your nursing enquiries email info@migrationmatters.com or contact our UK or Australian office direct.

The Visa Process

At Migration Matters we can assist you with our specialised services for nurses, if you are interested in travelling to Australia to enjoy a working holiday or if you have a more permanent move in mind.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), states, that 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 that will suit your circumstances.

Currently in Australia most visa applications for nurses receive priority processing.
You are able to 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. 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.

To determine whether you can work in Australia as a nurse, you will need to be assessed by either the Australian Nursing Council (ANC) or the nurse regulatory body in the State or Territory in which you wish to work. The ANC's website has more information including links to State and Territory nurse regulatory bodies.

Visa options for Nurses

There are many visa options available to nurses wishing to come to Australia. If you are sponsored by an employer the following options are available to you (as outlined by DIMIA):

Employer Nomination Scheme

If you under 45 years of age and have three years training followed by three years relevant work experience in the nursing field, 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.

Relative Sponsorship

If you are sponsored by a relative the following option is available to you (as outlined by DIMIA):

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.

Independent Skills

If you wish to come to Australia independently the following options are available to you (as outlined by DIMIA):

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. This visa is suitable if you wish to experience Australia through work and travel, Oak Business Solutions and Migration Matters can assist you with this visa application and the relevant work placements ensuring legislative adherence.

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 (as outlined by DIMIA):

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 a registered course.

Attention - Medical Practitioners


Opportunities exist in regional Australia for medical practitioners. The Temporary Medical Practitioner visa allows employers to recruit overseas doctors, especially in regional and rural areas, without detracting from the employment and training opportunities of Australian residents.

Australian organisations (businesses, communities or Government agencies) may sponsor medical practitioners from overseas, on a temporary basis, to work in Australia for up to four years if the position:

  • cannot be filled by a local doctor; or
  • is in a designated area of need.

The sponsor is usually expected to be the direct employer of the doctor.
The Temporary Medical Practitioner visa program covers all medical practitioners (doctors, radiologists, or specialists in any medical field).

Special assistance for communities in rural and regional Australia

There are special provisions to help communities in rural and regional areas of Australia. Where it is in the community's interests to have an overseas medical practitioner, the practitioner may be self-employed on a fee-for-service basis.

A doctor who wishes to establish a sole person practice in a regional area without sponsorship by an Australian employer may be sponsored by a local government body, community health provider or State government department.

For more information about the visa and sponsorship process please contact a
Migration Matters consultant today.

Regional Migration Opportunities in Australia

There is a three-year temporary residence visa (the Temporary Skilled-Independent Regional Migration (SIR) Visa), this visa is available if you are willing to commit to living and working in regional Australia.

After two years, they will be able to apply for permanent residency.

Under the new visa type, existing minimum requirements for skilled migration will still need to be met.

Applicants need to:

  • be under 45 years of age when they apply,
  • have at least vocational English,
  • nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (a skilled occupation), and
  • be found suitable for that occupation by the relevant Australian assessing authority
  • have recent work experience in a skilled occupation, or
  • have recently completed an Australian qualification.

The visa is aimed only at skilled migrants who can meet the minimum requirements for the visa. People who cannot meet these requirements should not apply.

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  The information on these pages is as up to date as possible, however, it is best to consult a Migration Matters advisor as they will be aware of any changes made to the immigration laws. Migration Agent Registration Numbers 0324641 0427632 0851294
Fully Licensed New Zealand Immigration Adviser - IAA Number 201000736

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