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Registration and Migration as an RN to Australia

Registration is the first step for a licensed Philippine RN who intends to work or migrate as a permanent resident-skilled worker- in Australia. Details below.

Crispin Aranda

Registration and Migration as an RN to Australia

Registration and Migration as RN in Australia

Registration is the first step for overseas health practitioners towards migration or permanent residency as a skilled worker- specifically as an RN in Australia.

Two regulatory authorities work together for the registration process: the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). AHPRA works with 15 National Boards of Health Practitioners. 

NMBA is the “National Board that sets policy and professional standards and the state and territory boards have been delegated to make decisions about nurses, midwives and students on matters of registration, endorsement and notation, as well as compliance (audit of registration standards, conditions.)”

Only registered IQNs may practice their profession in Australia on temporary work or as skilled worker-migrants because the NMBA and AHPRA ensure that the IQNMs  are suitably trained and qualified to practice their profession while protecting the public.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC) on the other hand is the designated skills assessment authority  for overseas nurses (IQNMs) “wanting to move to Australia as a skilled migrant. ANMAC is the body that assesses an applicant as an internationally qualified nurse or midwife.

Internationally Educated RNs

To qualify as a registered nurse, an international applicant/registrant needs to satisfy the criteria set out by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), the body that grants registration to all nurses in Australia, including internationally qualified nurses.

There are two key components to eligibility for registration:

  1. Registration standards define the requirements that applicants must meet to be considered fit to practice as nurses and midwives which include work experience and English-language skills;
  2. Qualification criteria on the other hand, define the minimum acceptable education and training that IQNMs must have.

Meeting the registration requirements

Internationally qualified nurses and midwives (IQNMs) who apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) are assessed against the NMBA registration standards. IQNMs’ qualifications are assessed against the three qualification criteria of the assessment model.

Registration standards

The NMBA has approved the following registration standards for those seeking initial registration:

  • Criminal History 
  • English Language Skills 
  • Recency of Practice 
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements

Qualification criteria: internationally qualified registered nurses/enrolled nurses/midwives

Before an IQNM can be registered to practice in Australia as a registered nurse, enrolled nurse and/or midwife the Registrant’s qualification will be assessed against the three (3) criteria listed below. The IQNM must provide NMBA with evidence that Registrant meets each of the three criteria. 


What the criterion requires

1. Qualification recognised for registration

Must be recognized by a statutory registration/licensing body for registration as a registered nurse or midwife or enrolled nurse in the country your qualification was received and you have met any pre- registration examination requirements. Where there is only one level of nurse in your country your qualification will be assessed at the registered nurse level.

2.   Quality assurance and accreditation

Qualification (diploma/degree) as a registered nurse or midwife or enrolled nurse was subject to quality assurance and recognized or accredited by a body external to the education institution and based on published accreditation standards. The accreditation standards for registered nurse or midwife or enrolled nurse education must include all of the following:

  • contemporary approaches to education
  • institutional resources (staffing and facilities)
  • evidenced based and contemporary nursing and/or midwifery practice
  • workplace experience across a variety of healthcare settings and
  • medication management that addresses safe and effective use of medicines.


The published processes for reviewing programs/providers against the accreditation standards must include all of the following:

  • an assessment conducted by an individual or team with appropriate expertise in education and in the registered nurse or midwife or enrolled nurse practice, and
  • institutional resources (staffing and facilities)
  • regular review of the program of study such as annual reporting or cyclic re-accreditation.

3.  Academic level of qualification

The academic level of your qualification is comparable to, at a minimum, an Australian Bachelor Degree at level 7 (registered nurse or midwife) or Australian Diploma level 5 (enrolled nurse) of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Most licensed RNs from the Philippines are unable to meet the 3 qualification criteria. Hence Philippine applicants have to complete a bridging course to meet NMBA standards.  However, there are accredited academic programs in the Philippines for specific healthcare programs which requires attending classes both in the Philippines and in Australia. 

Meeting criterion 2 - Quality assurance and accreditation

Qualifications that are likely to meet criterion

The NMBA has found that nursing and midwifery qualifications issued by education institutions in the 5 countries listed are likely to meet the requirements for criterion: Canada, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States of America.  The Philippines is NOT included.

Qualifications that may meet criterion  

The NMBA has found nursing and midwifery qualifications issued by education institutions in 6 countries may meet the requirements for criterion. Of the 6 only two Chile and Papua New Guinea meet the nursing qualifications, not the midwifery.

Qualifications that are unlikely to meet criterion.

The NMBA has found nursing and midwifery qualifications issued by education institutions in 63 countries including the Philippines are “unlikely to meet the requirements for criterion. The advice applies to both nursing and midwifery qualifications unless specified otherwise. The Philippines currently number 43 among the countries listed. 

Completing the Self-check – see related article on the Self-assessment prior to registration

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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