Your top 10 questions answered about Nursing in Australia

women looking out onto ocean

Working and living in a new country can be quite scary at first. You will need to think about where you want to work, the qualifications you will need, where you would like to live, how long you will stay and many more questions will be buzzing in your head.

To make the transition a little easier, we have compiled our top 10 questions from our very own Nurses to provide some insight into what it’s like to Nurse in the great land Downunder.

Question 1: Is one year’s experience enough to work in Australia?

Answer: For non-speciality Nursing, yes. If your scope is related to Critical Care, Perioperative or Midwifery, you will need to gain at least 2 years’ experience in an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) recognised country.

Question 2: Can I start my AHPRA application now before I have 12 months’ post graduate experience? What is the best order to complete my registration?

Answer: Technically, a new graduate can apply for (AHPRA). It is often a requirement of the hospital that Nurses have a minimum of 12 months’ post graduate experience, so it’s best to wait until you have this experience before coming to Australia to access a wider variety of shifts.

In regards to the process, 1) Submit your completed AHPRA Application, 2) Apply for your Working Holiday Visa, 3) Submit your International Criminal History Check, 4) Book you Tickets and make sure to get your Free Flight with us!

Helpful tips: Your Registration will take about 3 months to process; your Visa will take about 6 to 8 weeks to process and the ICHC will expire 3 months after processing. Once AHPRA has been approved you have 3 months to activate it and present in person to an AHPRA office.

Question 3: How do I get in contact with AHPRA?

Answer:  Our International team can guide you through the AHPRA registration process and answer all your queries and concerns with the application. Contact our UK office if you’re from the UK, Ireland, Europe, Middle East or South Africa. Or contact our New Zealand office if you’re from New Zealand, Asia, USA and Canada.

Question 4: What happens when the One-Year Working Holiday Visa runs out? Is it then possible to apply for a permanent position with sponsorship?

Answer: Some countries allow a one-year extension on the Working Holiday Visa with the agreement to do “Rural Work” in Australia for a few months. Sponsorship is another alternative to remain up to four additional years’ in Australia. HCA has exclusive agreements with multiple Health Districts and hospital groups in Australia and our Permanent team can also assist in finding the long-term role you’ve been waiting for.

Question 5: With a Working Holiday Visa, it says you can work no more than 6 months with one employer. Would you be the employer or would the facilities/hospitals be the employer?

Answer: Great question. You can work the entire duration of your Working Holiday Visa with HCA; you just cannot work for one hospital for more than 6 months. Our consultants will monitor the shifts you are being placed at, so you don’t ever exceed the quota.

Question 6: What is the maximum number of hours you can work a week?

Answer: The most important thing for us is the safety of our Nurses. We need to know you are practising safely and have at least a full day of rest during your work week. 60 hours a week is the cap for our Registered Nurses.

Question 7: Is there any groups that you organise for people travelling alone?

Answer: HCA has created several networking platforms through social media. Our Facebook group is Working Holiday Nurses Down Under. This group allows you to connect with thousands of other Overseas Registered Nurses now living and working in Australia or packing their bags and heading over soon. This is a great platform to ask for professional advice, get your life organised before you get here and exchange with like-minded people.

Question 8: Does HCA help with accommodation?

Answer: For Agency Nursing, you will be responsible for organising your own accommodation. Two initial options are booking into a hostel for the first couple of weeks or Airbnb. Once you know your way around town, you will be in a better position to find more permanent accommodation. You can also check in with our Facebook group Working Holiday Nurses Down Under’ for anything suitable.  Check out some more useful links to help make the move easier.

Question 9: What is the salary like?

Answer: Each state has its own Award system based on the level (years of nursing experience) you have. It’s important to bring your Statements of Service from the hospitals you have worked at so we can pay you exactly what you are worth. Past that point, it comes down to your availability and how many shifts you accept vs. decline. It’s safe to say, you’ll be making enough to work, travel and play just like Terrie!

Question 10: How many different hospitals would you roughly work in?

Answer: It comes down to your preferred travel radius. If you are taking public transport and don’t want to be on the train for longer than 30 minutes, we will accommodate your preferences. The great thing about Agency Nursing is, you are in control of the when and where!

We hope this article helped answer some of your burning questions about making the move to Australia.

If you would like more information or you’re ready to make the next step, contact our United Kingdom office by email or call +44 20 7861 8943.

Or contact our New Zealand office by email or call +64 9 601 9260.

Thanks for reading!

HCA Team