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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 12:35 GMT
Working as a nurse in Australia
Sarah Hector
Nurses have to register with the regulatory authority in the territory they intend to work in
Moving to nurse in Australia may seem an attractive proposition but there are important issues to consider before taking such a life changing step.

Things to consider when making the move to Australia.

The anxiety from leaving a country and people that you know, to one that you don't.

The adventure of discovering a new city and country.

Working out the internal processes of the hospital and getting used to different medical terminology can be stressful.

You have to consider the impact not only for yourself but for partners and children alike.

Nurses are required to register with the regulatory authority in the state or territory in which they intend to practice.

Midwives can be registered after appropriate education, but most states and territories require they must first be registered as a nurse.

Nurses who wish to migrate to Australia under the General Skilled Migration category need to have their qualifications assessed before applying to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) for migration.

This assessment is undertaken by the Australian Nursing Council Incorporated (ANCI).

If a nurse is eligible to apply for registration in Australia, this will count towards points that can be gained for immigration purposes.

Rob and Clare Carey
Rob Carey settled in Cairns

Australia is relatively welcoming and straightforward if you are aged 18-30 for anyone from the UK wanting to travel and work there during a gap year.

However, you still need the right sort of visa and there are strict rules about what you can do and how long you can work.

For a working holiday the starting point is Form 1150, the application to participate in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) programme.

You can download it as a pdf document from the the Australian High Commission - Department of Immigration & Multicultural Affairs website.

You should make sure you have been granted a work visa before you make any travel arrangements.

The working holiday maker visa for Australia is available for one or two years, is electronic, and visa holders can work for any one employer for six months or study for four months.

Processing the application takes four to five weeks with a charge about 65.

A working holiday visa is a 'multiple entry' visa, which means that you can go in and out of Australia as many times as you like during the 12 months.

You cannot have any dependent children, or have previously entered Australia on a WHM visa neither can you work longer than three months for any one employer and you must show evidence of having access at least 2,000 to help support yourself during your trip.

Some types of work - including bar work - require you to provide evidence of a medical examination when you apply for a visa.

Sarah Hector with patient
Nurses have to learn different terminology

If for any reason you decide to just travel this time round, go for an ordinary visitors visa.

Work permits are only granted once in a lifetime so it's worth saving that for when you do want to spend a whole year there with some periods of work and some of travel.

Many nurses will opt for the Skilled Visa.

The approximate processing time for Skilled Migration applications is six months if your occupation is on the Migration Occupations in Demand list or is being processed under one of the regional categories.

For all other categories the approximate processing time is nine to 12 months. Sarah Hector, who featured in the BBC Real Story programme contacted a nursing recruitment agency based here in the UK and Australia - Australia Nursing Solutions but this is just one of several nursing agencies.

While Rob Carey was offered a number of jobs by various hospitals across Australia before opting for the Cairns Base Hospital, Queensland.