Moving to Australia to work as a midwife can be a complex and time-consuming process. To be able to work in Australia as a midwife, you will need to register as a midwife, obtain an appropriate visa and fulfill English-language requirements.
Please note: the Australian College of Midwives does not provide advice about migration or visa requirements.
To become registered as a midwife in Australia, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which is the body that regulates midwifery.
To be able to work in Australia, you will need a visa. Information about visas can be found on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website.
Some visas require that you go through a skills assessment. DIAC will inform you if a skills assessment is required as part of your visa application. Skills assessments for midwives are carried out by an organisation called the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC). ANMAC has an extensive FAQ web page which will probably answer many of your questions.
The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement
If you are a New Zealand midwife, you may register to be a midwife in Australia under the Trans Tasman Recognition Agreement.
If you are a New Zealand citizen you may work in Australia with a Special Category Visa. However, if you wish to move to Australia and apply for permanent migration, you will need to undergo a modified skills assessment with ANMAC.
English language requirements
You are exempt from language testing if you are a midwife registered with the New Zealand Midwifery Council and applying for Australian registration under the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement.
To register as a midwife in Australia, you are required to provide evidence that you meet English language proficiency requirements. Note that the ELS standard has been revised and will come into effect 1 march 2019. AHPRA provide a web page that may assist you with understanding the requirements (an advanced copy of the 2019 standard is available on that page, and more information about what's changed in the ELS standard can be consulted here).
The English language requirements set by ANMAC for migration purposes can be slightly different. If you hold registration as a midwife with either AHPRA or the Midwifery Council of New Zealand then you are exempt from an English language test for migration purposes. Midwives with registration anywhere else in the world are subject to an English language proficiency test.
There are a number of employment websites that provide information about midwifery jobs including Seek and Mycareer.com. Other places to look are online newspapers, and websites of local hospitals and health organisations.
Models of employment that exist in Australia include :
private practice midwifery groups. This is a small but strong and growing community. You will need to get endorsement from NMBA for this or look to get the NMBA to recognise your skills & knowledge - more information here; or
public hospital continuity schemes. These are available in most States/Territories in Australia; or
standard employment models; or
Do your homework before you decide to move to Australia. If you can, talk to Australian midwives to find out how midwifery works in Australia, what the challenges are as well as the benefits of living and working here. Join the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) which will help keep you up to date with midwifery in Australia via the Midwifery News and Women and Birth Journal and regular electronic communications. Feel free to use the ACM Facebook page to ask midwives questions about living and practising in Australia.
- International English Language Testing System
- Occupational English Test
- Australian Skills Recognition Information
- Nursing and Midwifery Board FAQ for internationally qualified nurses and midwives
- The (free) Discover Business MBA Guide: How to Study for the TOEFL