Working as a Nurse in Australia

HealthStaff Recruitment Fact Sheet for Overseas Nurses and Midwives

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How Does the Process Work?

To commence the recruitment process you will need to send us a copy of your most current professional resume. Your resume must include your duties and responsibilities for each registered nursing position you have held (including how many hours a week you worked, specific dates of employment and your title) as well as names and telephone numbers of 3 professional referees that we can telephone or email. We are happy to send you a sample resume if you need assistance to prepare this.

Once we receive your resume we will call you to discuss your location and work preferences. Your consultant may also arrange a time to have a longer discussion with you so they can take detailed notes on your clinical skills and experience. You may also be sent forms or a clinical skills checklist to complete.

After we have obtained references, we will put you forward to hospitals in your preferred location for employment. If a hospital is interested we will arrange a mutually convenient time for a formal telephone interview. This is also your opportunity to talk to your future employer, and ask any questions about the position.

If a job offer is made we will arrange your contract. We will continue to support you through the visa process up until you have arrived, and are settled into your new position.

Registering as a Nurse or Midwife in Australia

To work as a Registered Nurse or Midwife in Australia, you need to be registered with the
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. As of 1st July 2010 this one National board will take over from the individual state nursing boards, and process all applications. You can find all the information you need on the role and functions of the board, application forms and how to apply, why you need to be registered, costs, and renewal dates.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the organisation responsible for the registration and accreditation of 10 health professions across Australia, including the Nursing and Midwifery Board You may also like to visit their website.

New Zealand Registered Nurses and Midwives

If you hold New Zealand Nursing or Midwifery Registration you will be able to easily transfer your registration to Australia. To do this you will need to download the application for Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition, from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website.
Under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 2003 from the date your application is received it will be granted ‘deemed’ registration. This means that provided your application and fees are correct, you may practice nursing. The deemed registration period may be anything from 10 working days to 3 months depending on the state board. During this time the board may do a background check, and decide to grant or refuse your full registration. After the deemed period you will receive full registration.

All Other Overseas Trained Registered Nurses and Midwives

It is imperative that you apply for your Australian registration as soon as possible (we recommend you do this now, even if you do not have a job offer). Nurses and midwives who are already registered in Australia are far more attractive to potential employers.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Board now requires all internationally qualified applicants who are applying for registration to demonstrate English language proficiency (internationally qualified means anyone who undertook their initial nursing and/or midwifery education outside of Australia or New Zealand).

English Language Skills Requirements

If your secondary nursing education was not conducted in English then you will be required to undertake an approved English test. The preferred English test used is the Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The test has four components reading, listening, writing and speaking. Visit IELTS to find your nearest centre and test fees.

To register as a nurse or midwife in Australia you will need to download the application form and accompanying information.

The Application Process for General Practitioner Registration

Each application is assessed on an individual basis. It is extremely important that you read the application form, and accompanying information very carefully and thoroughly, as you will be required to submit a number of documents. If your application form or the accompanying documentation is not completed correctly, this will cause major delays in the length of time it can take to be registered, and you may well be placed at the bottom of the waiting list to be reassessed. This could also jeopardise your position with your Australian employer as they may not be able to wait for you.

The Nursing board is particularly pedantic about the presentation of documents. One of the biggest problems applicants encounter, is that their application and documentation is not notarised correctly. Please ensure that ANY photocopies of original documents (such as passports, diplomas/degrees, transcripts, marriage/birth certificates etc) are notarised correctly. The nurses’ board clearly state who is eligible to notarise these documents, and how this should be done. In most instances, this needs to be done by a solicitor or Justice of the Peace. You cannot fax or email documentation to the nurses board. All documents must be originals or certified photocopies.

Another common misunderstanding is that you will also need to contact all the boards that you are registered with around the world, and ask them to send verification of your registration direct to the Australian Nurses’ Board. Any letter of verification must come from Nurses board to Nurses board (not to or from you).

It is hard to say exactly how long it will take for you to gain registration. This depends on how many applications they are processing at the time, and if you have submitted all requirements.

Generally speaking, you should allow a minimum of 3 months for your registration to be processed. If you have made a mistake, or the board requests additional information from you, then it may well take another 3 months for your application to be processed again (so possibly 6 months).

For more information regarding the cost of living in australia, what happens when you arrive in Australia, childcare, schooling, accommodation and the factors you should consider before employment in Australia, please refer to the following:

We hope you find this information useful, if you have questions or require further
information please contact your consultant at HealthStaff Recruitment or contact us directly.

Freecall from UK 0800 047 0924
Ireland 1800 422 011
NZ 0800 223 381
Australia 1800 330 533
Canada 1866 286 7349

Our office in Australia is open from 7.30AM until 10.30PM AEST