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Migration to Australia for Nurses

Do you want to move to Australia to work as a nurse? A detailed report approved for publication by the Commonwealth as well as all State and Territory Health Ministers on 10 October 2014 state that by 2025, there will be 85,000 nurses in shortfall or by 2030, under the current setting, 123,000 nurses will be required. In another words, nurses are in strong demand by the Australian community over the next 5-10 years.

Nursing Specialisations on the Skilled Occupations List

There are several nursing occupations on the current skilled occupation list for the General Skilled Migration visa application purpose, with 15 occupations on the medium and long-term occupation list and 7 on the short-term occupation list. The occupations are as follows:

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

  1. Nurse practitioner – 254411
  2. Registered nurse (aged care) – 254412
  3. Registered nurse (child and family health) – 254413
  4. Registered nurse (community health) – 254414
  5. Registered nurse (critical care and emergency) – 254415
  6. Registered nurse (developmental disability) – 254416
  7. Registered nurse (disability and rehabilitation) – 254417
  8. Registered nurse (medical) – 254418
  9. Registered nurse (medical practice) – 254421
  10. Registered nurse (mental health) – 254422
  11. Registered nurse (perioperative) – 254423
  12. Registered nurse (surgical) – 254424
  13. Registered nurse (paediatrics) – 254425
  14. Registered nurse (nec) – 254499
  15. Midwife – 254111

Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

  1. Nurse educator – 254211
  2. Nurse researcher – 254212
  3. Nurse manager – 254311
  4. Veterinary nurse – 361311
  5. Enrolled nurse – 411411

Requirements to work in Australia for nurses

In order to be allowed to work as a nurse in Australia, registration with Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is mandatory. Should you need to consider a skilled visa to Australia on a permanent basis and work as a Nurse, apart from meeting the registration requirement, you will need to receive a skills assessment outcome from ANMAC– Australian Nursing & Midwifery Accreditation Council or VETASSESS.

Amongst the occupations listed above, only Veterinary nurse is assessed by VETASSESS, all other occupations are assessed by ANMAC.

Qualified nurses registered with NMBA (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia) can work in Australia, including the newly registered nurses.

Generally speaking, a Bachelor Degree qualification (equivalent to an Australian Bachelor Degree) is required to be able to work in Australia as a registered nurse. However, a Diploma level qualification holder in a nursing field may be able to work in Australia as an Enrolled Nurse, subject to the NMBA approving registration.

Application Pathways for Nurses

For nurses on the MLTSSL occupation list, general skilled visa including independent permanent visa subclass 189, state nominated visa subclass 190 and the new temporary regional skilled visa subclass 491 can be considered. The occupations on the short-term list can only be considered for the state nominated visa subclass 190 and/or the new visa subclass 491.

Skills Assessment for Nurses

Similar to all other occupations, to be considered for a general skilled visa, nurses are required to obtain a positive skills assessment from ANMAC as the very first step to go through the skilled visa application process.

There are THREE pathways for a nurse to receive positive skills assessment from ANMAC, they are:

  1. Modified Skilled Assessment
    This is only available for candidates who hold a current registration as a nurse or midwife in either Australia or New Zealand
  2. Modified PLUS Skills Assessment
    This is available to candidates who hold a current ‘Notice of in principle approval of registration subject to proof of identify’ from the AHPRA – Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  3. Full skills assessment
    This is for candidates who hold a current registration in a country other than Australia or New Zealand and can’t present a current ‘notice of in principle approval of registration subject to proof of identity’ from AHPRA

When a positive skills assessment issued by ANMAC is received, and the applicants can identify their migration points meeting the migration points threshold, an expression of interest can be considered.

English Requirement

NMBA will require you to show that you meet their English language requirement.
This will often require completion of an English language test. NMBA accepts the IELTS, OET, PTE Academic, and the TOEFL iBT. It is possible to use 2 different test sittings to meet the English requirement – these need to be done within 6 months of each other. Test results are valid for 2 years.
Exemptions from English testing apply if your initial qualifications, schooling or tertiary qualifications were done in certain English-speaking countries.

Skilled Invitation Round

The candidates are also encouraged to refer to the latest invitation round information to have a realistic expectation on receiving an invitation.

Whilst the migration points threshold has been set at 65 points to lodge an Expression of Interest, the latest invitation round information shows a much higher cut-off points for candidates to receive an invitation under the independent skilled visa pathway subclass 189.
Candidates may receive an invitation with a minimum of 80 points under the Subclass 189 visa pathway based on the 11th August 2019 invitation record. We expect the same level of competitiveness under the state nominated visa pathway.

Study Nursing in Australia

Are you considering a carer as a Nurse in Australia but you are not sure if it is the right option? The article ‘What’s like to be a registered Nurse?‘ may assist with your decision. It lists tasks and duties, average income, what are the jobs opportunities and more.
Should you decide coming to Australia for studies under the nursing profession, AHPRA provides a detailed list of approved programs of study in Australia, please access the information through

Please be reminded, the authorities in Australia may undertake reviews on a regular basis, please make sure you conduct necessary research before confirming enrolment with the education provider/s.


Nursing is extremely rewarding career, making a positive impact on the people you care for.
Moreover, having the opportunity to be an active member of Australian Community.

If you are dreaming of a life in Australia as a nurse, you may wish to speak with one of our registered migration agents about your visa eligibility and pathway.

Published Tue 24 September 2019.


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