AUSTRALIA FOR NURSES
If you are an internationally qualified nurse or midwife (IQNM) and are interested in working in Australia, it is important you review the following important information about immigration to Australia, and registration and employment as a nurse or midwife in Australia.
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.
These two application processes are entirely separate and success in one does not automatically guarantee success in the other.
We advise that you do not make any irreversible decisions – such as resigning from current employment or moving to Australia – until you have applied for and been approved for registration with the NMBA. The timeframe to process your application for registration depends on the unique circumstances of your application.
More information on visa applications, including skills assessments and assessing authorities is available on the Australian Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship website.
Important note for international applicants who are registered in New Zealand:
Applicants 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 (Cth) and should apply for registration with the National Board using the following form:
Difference between ANMAC (immigration) and NMBA (registration) assessments
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is an independent organisation gazetted by the Minister for Immigration (pursuant to the Migration Act 1958, Regulations Amendment 1999, 2.228) to perform skills assessment for migration purposes. ANMAC assesses the skills of IQNMs who want to migrate to Australia under the General Skilled Migration program – see Skilled migration services on the ANMAC website.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) assesses applications for registration from internationally qualified nurses and midwives on behalf of the NMBA. The NMBA is governed by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law) as in force in each state and territory and is responsible for the final decision on each application.
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.
International applicants must meet the registration standards and qualification criteria in order to be eligible for registration.
Neither Ahpra nor the NMBA are involved in employment matters and we are therefore unable to assist you in seeking employment or influencing employment outcomes. However, it is important to be aware that any health practitioner must hold registration with the relevant National Board prior to taking up employment in Australia in their profession. We recommend that you do not apply for work until your registration eligibility is confirmed.
For some internationally qualified nurses and midwives the preference may be to undertake further education here in Australia and upgrading your existing qualification by completing a NMBA approved program of study. Programs that lead to General registration can be found:
It must be noted that entry into a chosen program is subject to the entry requirements detailed by each education provider and neither Ahpra nor the NMBA are involved in this process. It is recommended you discuss any questions you may have directly with the chosen provider.