April 15, 2021


A case in point of the theory that ‘migration law is not a simple subject’ is definitely to be found in the regulations that allow nurses to move to Australia thanks to their Profession.

Doing this sort of work in Australia represents a real guarantee for your financial future, due to a series of economic factors: very high salaries (as we will see shortly), forecasts for strong growth, scarcity of graduates in the sector. Often the ‘invitation rounds’ for immigration programs 190 and 189 have fewer applicants than planned invitations, and in fact, despite the removal of the most disparate professions from the lists during Covid, the Profession of nursing has been constantly maintained.

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Nursing in Australia

The problem is not so much to understand if it is a Profession worth betting on, so much as to understand if it is work that is compatible with our aspirations and, above all, one we are good at. If the answer is positive, we can stop wondering: the nursing industry is hyper-regulated in Australia, and the Department of Immigration has had to impose its mechanisms in such a way as to protect quality. To immigrate, it is important to understand the local dimension of this Profession, which is different from the one we are used to Italy.

A fundamental distinction is that of the different classes of nurse which exist in Australia: ‘registered nurse’ (Unit Group 2544) and ‘enrolled nurse’ (Unit Group 4114). Firstly, distinguishing these two occupations is the qualification necessary for registering in the nursing register to be permitted to practise: a three-year Degree is necessary, in fact, to be considered qualified as a Registered Nurse (RN) while a Diploma of Enrolled Nursing is sufficient to satisfy the prerequisites in terms of qualification for Enrolled Nurses (EN). The rest is consequently: the EN cannot act independently, but works under the supervision of the RN. While the nurses of a higher level report to the medical staff, the nurses of the lower level report to both. The work of the enrolled nurse is almost entirely functional and supporting, while the registered nurses are also assigned work of an administrative and management type.

If we forget for a moment the aspect relating to immigration, it makes sense to underline that one role is not necessarily better than another, but many people consider the degree of sacrifices in terms of study that they are willing to make (a year and a half or two for the Diploma, or three for the Degree) and above all the degree of responsibility they want to take on in a job that often involves the battle between life and death.

Regarding the immigration process, we can reflect on the differences between the two professions. Let’s start, however, with the similarities, that is the level of language required to be admitted into the courses: IELTS 7 Academic without any individual section under 7, in practical terms, a level of English defined as ‘proficient’. You do not necessarily have to sit the IELTS test. You could satisfy the prerequisite with one of these other points:

Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT): minimum of 24 in listening, 24 in reading, 27 in writing and 23 in speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): minimum di 65 in every individual section
Occupational English Test (OET): score ‘B’ and no bands above ‘B’
Cambridge C1 Advanced test: minimum of 185 in each individual band

Registered Nurse VS Enrolled Nurse

The two professions are on two different lists, number 254418: Registered Nurse in fact is on the Medium- Long- Term List, compatible with a large number of permanent and temporary immigration programs such as 189, 190, 491, 482, various DAMA Labour Agreements, 186, 494. The possibility of obtaining a postgraduate visa allows plenty of time, at the end of the Degree, to organise the proceedings for applying for permanent visas and registering in the register which take time. The occupation 411411: Enrolled Nurse on the other hand is in the Short-Term List of the Skilled Occupation List, giving the Qualification less conversion power although there is no shortage of immigration programs of a regional nature allowing transition to a permanent visa (in South Australia even up to the age of 50, due to the DAMA Agreement).

Overseas Degree Recognition In Australia

The assessing authority involved in the process for qualification to practise are two: APHRA, the register of all medical professions, whose green light is required at the Australian Nursery and Midwifery Accreditation Council to issue a positive skill assessment.

The people who already have a Qualification are very fortunate if it is a bachelor degree obtained in Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, United Kingdom or United States, as that qualification would qualify them by right for a positive skill assessment. All the other cases would rather necessitate passing the double APHRA/ANMAC process, having to sit in the middle a state exam with APHRA, called OBA, that is Outcome Based Assessment test which substituted the IRON in March of 2020.

It won’t have been light reading, but remember that in order to make for a more pleasing account, we have tried to simplify it to minimal terms. Studies, exams, conversions, English tests, visas, skill assessment: so many stages of a pathway that might mean changing your lifestyle, but take care not to consider it a walk in the park, because it requires instead extreme strength and tenacity.

Qualification: Bachelor of Nursing
Skill Level: 1
Profession: 254418: Registered Nurse (Skill Level 1)

Qualification: Diploma of Nursing
Skill Level: 2
Profession: 411411: Enrolled Nurse (Skill Level 2)
Course program: https://training.gov.au/TrainingComponentFiles/HLT/HLT54115_R1.pdf

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