11 August 2010

Admin mistake lands nurses in Australian Visa bungle

An administrative bungle will prevent overseas nurse graduates from Ballarat and Deakin universities from working in Australia, unless special arrangements can be put in place.

Australian Visa

Graduate nurses from two Victorian universities may have difficulties obtaining registration, and therefore Australian Visas, because of last-minute rule changes.

Currently, the nurses will not meet the new higher English language requirements for compulsory registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.  The International English Language Testing System minimum score was raised from 6.5 to level 7 on 1 July, leaving graduating students with not enough time to take additional language studies or sit the tests.

Many face returning home when their Australian Student Visas expire, despite a national shortage of nurses in Australia and many graduates having job offers.

Australian Nursing Federation held talks with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency yesterday and asked it to put special arrangements in place for this year's graduates before their Australian Student Visas expire.

"What we tried to focus on was making sure that we get an outcome that can fix this situation for these, particularly the mid-year, students who are finishing and who are of course in such dire circumstances," Australian Nursing Federation Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said.

Essentially, under current rules the students have only 19 days before they become unlawful immigrants in this country, she said.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa application  at the Australian Embassy.   

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