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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 midwifery) 

  • 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) 

 Study Nursing in Australia 

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. 

Studying Nursing in Australiaexternal icon

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 test and some others. 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 countries

April 2020 – Nursing on the Skilled Occupations List for Australia

Occupation ANZSCO List Assessing authority
Enrolled Nurse 411411 STSOL ANMAC
Mothercraft Nurse 411412 ROL VETASSESS
Nurse Educator 254211 STSOL ANMAC
Nurse Manager 254311 STSOL ANMAC
Nurse Practitioner 254411 MLTSSL ANMAC
Nurse Researcher 254212 STSOL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Aged Care) 254412 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health) 254413 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Community Health) 254414 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) 254415 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability) 254416 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation) 254417 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical Practice) 254421 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical) 254418 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Mental Health) 254422 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Paediatrics) 254425 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Perioperative) 254423 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurse (Surgical) 254424 MLTSSL ANMAC
Registered Nurses nec 254499 MLTSSL ANMAC
Veterinary Nurse 361311 STSOL VETASSESS
Nursing Clinical Director 134212 MLTSSL ANMAC

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 visa 

  • 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. Also, the Australian government expectsexternal icon it to increase even more. We’re looking at 330,00 nursing jobs in 2023, up from 297,600 in 2018! 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 national 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 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.