Shortage of nurses in Australia?

Australia, like most of the countries around the globe, is experiencing a severe shortage of nurses. The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) has stated that in Queensland alone, a minimum of 14,000 extra nurses will be required by 2014.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare claims that over the next 20 years 60% of the current nursing workforce will retire (from 2005). The Institute also claims that 15% of Australia’s nursing community is retiring every year, and if the trend continues, 90,000 current nurses will no longer be working in Australia by 2026. That creates a huge shortfall that must be made up somehow..

New graduates from classroom environments, as well as from online nursing courses, are not filling these vacant positions at the same rate and that scenario is creating several issues in hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country. The healthcare industry is also creating part of the shortage due to the rapid expansion needed to meet the healthcare needs of the country.

Why work as a nurse in Australia?

The nursing shortage is creating opportunities in every area of nursing and the pay scale for nurses is constantly being adjusted. A first year RN can earn AU$46 – $64,500, depending on location and education, and not including overtime pay. Clinical nurses, nurse practitioners and nurses with advanced degrees can earn considerably more than that, so the financial rewards of a nursing career in Australia are considered well above average.

Can I practice nursing if I study online in another country?

The benefits of living and working in Australia are exceptional. Six million people have come to Australia over the last 60 years to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle, the diverse culture, over 10,000 beaches and the country’s natural beauty.

The demand for nurses is opening the door for students who want to permanently or temporarily move to Australia to work. Australia offers visas to qualified nurses who earn certification or an advanced nursing education online, or in a classroom.

Do I need a visa?

Nurses hoping to migrate to Australia have more than one option. A nurse may migrate as an independent skilled migrant with no sponsor, or obtain a sponsored visa through the General Skilled Migration Program. The nursing profession is listed on the Skilled Occupations List, which is issued by the government to meet the country’s needs effectively. Twelve different RN categories are currently listed on the SOL, as are midwives and nurse practitioners.

Nurses between the age of 18 and 30 can work on what’s known as a Temporary Working Holiday visa. The holiday visa is good for 12 months. It entitles the nurse to work for one employer for six months, as long as it is part time. The government also offers an Occupational Trainee visa for at least three months or longer, if the nurse enrols in a supervised workplace training or study program.

The most commonly applied for visa for nurses is the 457 visa, which can be granted for up to four years, as long as the nurse has an approved sponsoring employer.

Family members who accompany the nurse can study and work on the same visa. Nurses under 45 who have experience working as a RN, or have the equivalent of an Australian diploma, which is two years of study or more, can qualify for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa, which can become a permanent visa if the nurse meets the requirements.

What else is required?

Nurses are also required to register with a state or territory Nursing Registration Board. A professional migration agent can assist you by providing information and advice about the registration process and visa requirements, plus all nurses must be able to pass an English proficiency test before being granted a visa.