12 August 2010

Nursing students protest registration and Australian Visa bungle

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International nursing students affected by an administrative bungle that leaves them without professional registration have protested to the Victorian Parliament.

Australian Visa

Nursing students have protested rule changes that mean they will be unable to take up jobs, even though nurses are desperately needed.

Recent changes to registration requirements require an increase in English language abilities, but the students stay the changes were brought in with little time for them to study or even to take the test before they graduate and their Australian Student Visas expire.

About 100 students, mostly from Deakin and Ballarat universities and the Australian Catholic University protested at the Victorian Parliament yesterday for compromise on registration criteria.

Recent changes have created a single nursing registration board Australia-wide, and national standards introduced on July 1 require students to achieve level seven in the English language test, despite having completed their degree in Australia.

Many students have even been offered jobs after they graduate.
Victorian opposition health spokesman David Davis said the changes were unfair and the government should honour the committments made.

“People who were given an expectation that they would be able to be registered when they had completed their course at a Victorian university should have that expectation honoured,'' Mr Davis said.

Cecil Deans, the deputy head of nursing at the University of Ballarat, said he was very embarrassed on behalf of the nursing community that this should happen to any group of people.

"The community in Victoria is crying out for nurses, they have jobs waiting … the resolution has to be that [these students] become registered nurses."

A spokeswoman for Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews, said the issue was a matter for the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

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