Getting ready to nurse in Australia can be a daunting and time-consuming process. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as just jumping on a plane.

The two most important, time-dependant elements of the process are – organising your Australian working visa and obtaining AHPRA registration.

Working Holiday Visa

Processing time varies significantly from person to person, and largely depends on the type of working visa chosen. For a nurse wanting to come to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, it is recommended to start the general process about six months prior to your planned arrival date in Australia. This six month mark is a good time to start gathering the documentation for your AHPRA application, as it can be time consuming. The Working Holiday Visa itself doesn’t usually take long to be processed, with 75 per cent of applications processed in 13 days, and 90 per cent of applications processed in 25 days.

Three months prior to departure, you can then safely send away a thorough and complete AHPRA application, and also apply for your Working Holiday Visa. It may seem that three months is a long time to spend gathering supporting documentation – however don’t underestimate the time it takes to hear back from third parties such as your university or school.

Skilled Migration

If you are planning to take the Skilled Migration route, then the Visa aspect of the process will be much more involved, and will require substantially more time.

The border.gov.au website states that 75 per cent of Skilled Migration applications are processed in 11 months, and 90 per cent of applications are processed in 15 months. These statistics are calculated from when the visa office actually receives a full and complete application. Be mindful that the timeframe doesn’t take into account the lengthy process of gathering the documentation beforehand. Allow at least a couple of months to get the paperwork organised before application submission.

What next?

Once your visa has been granted, and you have received in principal approval of AHPRA registration – you will then have three months to present proof of identity documents at an AHPRA office in Australia. Visa rules and regulations, regarding entry to Australia, will depend on the visa type you have applied for.

Booking flights, finding accommodation and securing a job should be the final stages of the process, after your AHPRA registration has been obtained, and visa granted. Spend time researching each of these throughout the process, but depending on how risk-averse you are, investing further money might be best left until you know you will have work rights and registration to nurse in Australia.

As you can see, the question of how long the process will take is dependant on so many factors. Research your eligibility and the associated processing times – and don’t underestimate the time involved in gathering paperwork before each application is even submitted.