Living and Working in Australia as a Nurse or Midwife

There is a growing demand for nursing and midwifery workforce in Australia. With employment in the Australian health care sector projected to increase by 25% in the next 5 years, there has never been a better time to Emigrate to Australia as a Nurse or Midwife.

This blog is intended to provide you with an up to date explanation of the requirements and the steps you need to take to register, the appropriate visa to gain the appropriate right to work and working conditions in Australia.



Nursing Jobs in Australia

Australia offers great opportunities for experienced and suitably qualified nursing and midwives. The range of roles is huge because of the vastness of the country, its climate, geography and population spread.

There are around 330,000 nurses working in Australia. Two thirds of nurses are employed in the public sector. Shifts patters are between 8 and 12 hours. Holidays are between 4 and 5 weeks per year. Statutory maternity leave is 18 weeks paid leave.


Patient-nurse ratios vary but are between 4:1 and 6:1. Please note that salaries, conditions, hours and patient ratios vary across the country. Like any other employer, Australian employers may have different requirements for nursing jobs in Australia in relation to required years of work experience and/or qualifications or a specific set of skills.

Average weekly earnings for Registered Nurses are AUD$1344 and average 34.6 weekly hours (Source: Australian Government Job Outlook). Jobs and salaries differ across the country. Salaries might be higher in big metropolitan cities and in rural areas where roles are difficult to fill.



Australian Nursing Registration

To work in Australia in a Nurse or Midwife, you must be registered with the Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Click here is download the general registration application form.


Step 1 – Ensure your qualifications and experience meet the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia


In order to be allowed to work as a nurse, and before you will be able be considered for a migration to Australia based on the fact that you are a nurse, you will need to meet the registration requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).


There are five criteria that are used in assessing your application for registration


  1. Criterion one – prove your identify.
  2. Criterion two – meet the English language proficiency standards. You must complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination with a minimum score of seven in each of the four components – listening, reading, writing and speaking.  Or, you must complete an overall pass in the Occupation English Test (OET) with grades A or B only in each of the four components.
  3. Criterion three – meet the current Australian nursing and midwifery education standards if you are qualified as a nurse in one of the following countries with a degree or a diploma* you will be deemed to have the equivalent qualification as a nurse qualified in Australia:
  • United Kingdom
  • The Republic of Ireland
  • The United States of America
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore


If you only have a diploma from one of the countries listed above, you will require an assessment of your further education or experience to determine if you are deemed to be equivalent to a nurse qualified in Australia.


Nurses from countries not listed above will require individual assessment to determine whether their qualifications and experience will be recognised by the Board.


5. Criterion four – provide evidence of having practised as a nurse or midwife within a defined period prior to submitting the application.

6. Criterion five – demonstrate that you are fit to practice in Australia.


You must prove that there has been no previous proven disciplinary proceedings against you, that there are no restrictions on you arising from mental incapacity, that there are no restrictions on you arising from physical incapacity, that you have no criminal history which would preclude you from working as a nurse or midwife in Australia.


Step 2 – Submit your application for Registration with AHPRA


If you think you meet the criteria in step 1, then submit your application for registration to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.  Click here to view and download the form.



What do I do if I don’t meet AHPRA’s requirements?


If you don’t meet the requirements because your qualifications or experience are not recognised, you might want to consider pursuing an ‘Occupational Trainee Visa’ or a ‘Business Short Stay Visa – subclass 456’ to allow you to undertake a bridging program to improve your skills.


More information is available via the following links:

  • Occupational Trainee Visa Information
  • Business Short Stay Visa


Right to Work

Nursing & Midwifery occupations currently appear on the Australian Skilled Occupation List, Medium and Long‑term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Short‑term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)), which allows eligible applicants to apply for Visas for Nursing Jobs in Australia.

Australia offers great employment opportunities for Registered Nurses and Midwives, who can choose from a variety of Australian Visa, including Working Holiday Visa, Employer Sponsorship to Permanent Residency Visa.

Whether you are thinking of emigrating to Australia on permanent basis or moving for a couple of years, you need an Australian Visa with work rights. Depending on your personal circumstances you may apply for:


  1. Skilled Migration– this Visa is for applicants wishing to settle in Australia on Permanent basis. This visa comes with great benefits, such as full work rights in any job and for any employer in Australia for the main applicant and spouse/partner. Children can attend public schools and you can enrol for Medicare, Australian Healthcare System. For further information, click here.


  1. Employer Sponsored Visa – this visa is for applicants who would like to move to Australia on temporary basis. You need to have a job offer and sponsorship from en eligible Australian sponsor to apply for this visa. You must work for the nominating employer whilst your visa is in force. For further information, click here.


  1. Working Holiday Visa – this visa is for applicants under the age of 31 and from eligible country of passport. This is a 12 months visa, which comes with work rights. The Visa condition prevents applicants from working for any one employer for more than 6 months. For further information, click here.


If you are not sponsored by an employer, you can pursue a VISA under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) provisions of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  Click here for more VISA options under the GSM.


If Australia is your destination of your choice, search for jobs in Australia through Endorse, Click here to start your search.


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