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Nursing

OET For Nurses

If you are an internationally qualified nurse or midwife 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 Immigration and Border Protection (Australian Immigration Department).

These two application processes are entirely separate and success in one does not automatically guarantee success in the other.

Immigration to Australia

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) is an independent organization gazette 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 internationally qualified nurses and midwives who want to migrate to Australia under the General Skilled Migration program – see International services on the ANMAC website.

Important note:

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 Immigration and Border Protection website.

Registration and employment as a nurse or midwife in Australia

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 as in force in each state and territory and is responsible for the final decision on each application.

International applicants must meet the registration standards and qualification criteria in order to be eligible for registration.

  • Internationally qualified nurse practitioners

If you are an internationally qualified nurse practitioner and interested in working in Australia as a nurse practitioner you need to first apply for and obtain registration as a registered nurse with the NMBA. Then, to be recognized and be able to practice as a nurse practitioner in Australia you must become ‘endorsed’ by the NMBA under the National Law as a nurse practitioner. There are further requirements set by the NMBA that you must meet to become endorsed as a nurse practitioner.

Difference between ANMAC (immigration) and NMBA (registration) assessments

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.

Employment

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.

Recommended pathway to employment in Australia for internationally qualified nurses and midwives

  • Assess your ability to meet the registration requirements
  • Assess your ability to meet the immigration requirements
  • Fill in application form and provide all documentation to AHPRA
  • NMBA will assess whether you meet the requirements for registration
  • NMBA refers candidates to the Bridging programmed
  • Receive registration
  • Apply for immigration to Australia
  • Obtain employment
  • Emigrate to Australia
  • Begin working

What is a bridging program?

A bridging program is a program of study approved by the NMBA that enables internationally qualified nurses and midwives who do not qualify for registration under section 53(b) of the National Law to meet the requirements under section 53(c) by completing further study and assessment against the NMBA’s standards for practice. To be eligible, international applicants must be referred to a bridging program by the NMBA.

Are there alternatives to bridging programs?

Applicants who do not wish to undertake a bridging program can upgrade their current nursing or midwifery qualification either in Australia or overseas. If you upgrade your qualification outside Australia you must make sure that the country you are upgrading in meets the accreditation requirements of criteria 2 and 3.

See also:

  • Accreditation requirements for the qualification assessment model

What are bridging programs available for registered nurses?

All NMBA-approved bridging programs for registered nurses are listed under Approved programs of study. Entry to a bridging program of study for registration first requires a letter of referral from the NMBA.

Bridging programs are offered by independent education providers. The pricing and availability of the programs are determined by the education provider, not the NMBA.

What are bridging programs available for midwives?

All NMBA-approved bridging programs for midwives are listed under Approved programs of study. Entry to a bridging program of study for registration first requires a letter of referral from the NMBA.

Although there are a number of approved bridging programs for midwives, none of these are currently being offered by education providers.

Until NMBA-approved bridging programs for midwives are offered by education providers, midwives can upgrade their qualifications by:

  • enrolling in an NMBA-approved program of study leading to registration as a midwife in Australia, and
  • seeking credit for the previous study. The decision to recognize the previous study is made by the education provider. The NMBA does not influence this decision.

What are bridging programs available for enrolled nurses?

All NMBA-approved bridging programs for enrolled nurses are listed under Approved programs of study. Entry to a bridging program of study for registration first requires a letter of referral from the NMBA.

Bridging programs are offered by independent education providers. The pricing and availability of the programs are determined by the education provider, not the NMBA.

Why do bridging programs cost so much?

Education providers who run bridging programs determine the cost of each program. The NMBA approves programs and providers but does not determine the cost of the programs.

Why can’t there be more options for bridging programs in each state or territory?

Education providers who run bridging programs determine the location of each program. The NMBA approves programs and providers but does not determine the availability of the programs.

What happens to my application if I am referred to a bridging program?

Once the NMBA refers you to a bridging program, we will close your application. After you successfully complete a NMBA-approved bridging program, you are then eligible to make a new application for registration. This means a new application form with relevant fees and documentation.

Will I have to resubmit all my documentation once I have completed the bridging program?

You will only need to resubmit any documentation that has expired. As we will still have record of your previous documentation, you can refer to it without needing to resubmit it.

How do I make a new application for registration after completing the bridging program?

The NMBA will assess any future application you make based on the legislative requirements and registration standards in place at the time that your application is received, such as the successful completion of a NMBA-approved program of study.

We strongly advise that you check the NMBA website for the latest information prior to lodging your new application. You can find more information about the registration standards; criminal history checks and the application process for international applicants on the AHPRA and NMBA websites.

We also recommend that you include a cover letter with your application that states that you are making a new application after successfully completing a bridging program.

Required documentation: post-bridging

  • You must complete and submit an AGBP-40 application form and make all declarations required in the form.
  • You must pay the registration and application fees; however, the overseas assessment fee is not charged when making a new application after completion of a bridging program.
  • You must provide a copy of your course completion certificate from the bridging program.
  • You must provide all identification requirements (as detailed in the Proof of Identity fact sheet) not previously provided.
  • You must arrange for a new Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Registration Status to be sent to AHPRA directly from the relevant authority.

Some applicants may need to provide additional information:

  • If your work history has changed since you initially applied for registration, you must:
  • provides an updated Statement of Service from your employer(s) covering the time since you initially applied
  • submits a new curriculum vitae that describes your full practice history and any training undertaken in accordance with the Information and definitions section of the AGBP-40 application form.
  • You will be required to apply for an international criminal history check if you:
  • declares a criminal history outside Australia, and/or
  • has lived in a country/country other than Australia for six consecutive months or more since the age of 18.
  • If applicable, you must provide on details of any impairment that affects your capacity to practice.
  • If your NMBA-approved English language test has expired, you must provide:
  • a new certificate, or
  • evidence that you have been continuously enrolled in a program of study taught and assessed in English and approved by the recognized nursing and/or midwifery regulatory body in any of the countries listed in the English language registration standard.

Upon review of the submitted documentation, you may be requested to provide additional documentation.

All documentary evidence must meet the AHPRA certification requirements

Will completing a bridging program guarantee my registration?

You will only be registered if you have successfully completed the NMBA-approved bridging program and meet all the NMBA’s other registration requirements.

If you complete a bridging program that is not approved by the NMBA, your application for registration will be refused.

If you complete a bridging program and have not first been assessed and referred by the NMBA, you may be refused registration even if you have successfully completed the bridging program. This is because the program of study may not cover specific requirements that you need to be eligible for registration as a nurse or midwife.