Nurses in Australia without IELTS
IELTS! The name of the ubiquitous English language test often strikes fear and despair into the hearts of our lovely nurses emigrating to Australia. Many of them worry unnecessarily about taking the IELTS test and many do exceptionally well. Indeed, a good score on IELTS for Nurses can yield an extra 10 or even 20 points towards your total Australian Immigration Points Score.
When looking at how to become one of the many thousands of nurses in Australia without IELTS we need to first look at the ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ routes of emigrating to Australia as a Nurse.
Before we continue we need to make the distinction between ANMAC and AHPRA clear.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council is responsible for conducting Australian Migration skills assessments for medical professionals. It’s their job to confirm your identity, skills, qualifications and experience in your profession. It’s not an actual physical test of your nursing skills; rather a decision ready bundle of documentation we put together that documents, evidences and substantiates everything from your qualifications through to your present-day employment.
ANMAC is inescapable. All nursing skilled migration applicants must (at some stage) pass an AMAC skills assessment.
All applicants taking Full ANMAC skills assessment require an English test regardless of Nationality.
The English tests accepted by ANMAC on a full skills assessment are IELTS Academic, OET for Nurses, PTE Academic or TOEFL iBT.
1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test.
Applicants must achieve a minimum overall score of 7 and a minimum score of 7 in each of the four components – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Nurses can combine the results from two IELTS exams in a six-month period if the applicant achieves a minimum overall score of 7 in each sitting and no score is less than 6.5 in any component
2. Occupational English Test (OET) for nurses.
Applicants must achieve a minimum score of B in each of the four components
Nurses can combine the results from two exams in a six-month period if the applicant
is tested in all four components in each sitting and no score in any component of the test is below grade C
3. Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic.
Applicants must achieve a minimum overall score of 65 AND a minimum score of 65 in each of the components
Nurses can combine the results from two exams in a six-month period if the applicant scores a minimum overall score of 65 in each sitting and no score in any of the four components skills is below 58
4. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT.
Applicants must achieve a minimum total score of 94 AND the following minimum score in each section of the test: 24 listening, 24 reading, 27 writing, 23 speaking
Nurses can combine the results from two exams in a six-month period if the applicant achieves a minimum total score of 94 in each sitting and no score in any of the sections is below the following: 20 listening, 19 reading, 24 writing, 20 speaking
AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioners Authority are responsible for your Nursing Registration in Australia. Much the same information is required as for ANMAC with some additional Police and background checks.
However, AHPRA do not currently require applicants to take and pass an English test if they completed secondary education and tertiary education in English in any of the following countries:
United States of America
Let’s examine the differences below:
1. Full Skills Assessment with ANMAC, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (as part of the ANMAC full assessment an applicant needs to prove their English language capabilities through sitting and passing the Academic Version of the IELTS test. The academic version is, by definition, slightly more complex than the usual ‘general’ IELTS exam.
2. Lodge an Expression of Interest
3. Receive an invitation to formally apply for a skilled visa
4. Start AHPRA Nursing registration
5. Complete the formal Immigration documentation including Form 80
6. Undertake Police checks and Medicals
7. Receive your visa
8. Physically present at an Australian AHPRA office as the final stage of AHPRA
9. Begin your new life in Australia
Here at Let’s Go Global our Medical Migration team provide our Nursing and medical professionals with all the support necessary around the IELTS exam although in some circumstances our qualified Nurses simply prefer not to sit the IELTS test.
If you really want to become one of the nurses in Australia without IELTS then you’ll need to take a different approach by circumventing the ANMAC skills assessment in the first instance.
1. Apply for AHPRA registration and receive a letter of determination, also known as approval in principle. With this approval in principle ANMAC are duty bound to accept an applicants Skills Assessment. ANMAC therefore bow down to AHPRAS prior approval. This way a nursing migration applicant can avoid the need for an English test.
2. Receive approval in principle from AHPRA
3. Submit a Modified Plus Skills Assessment to ANMAC
4. Receive a positive Skills Assessment outcome
5. Lodge Expression of Interest
6. Travel to Australia to finalise AHPRA (if you choose to do this mid-way through the process)
7. Receive an invitation to formally apply for a skilled visa
8. Complete the formal Immigration documentation including Form 80
9. Undertake Police checks and Medicals
10. Receive your visa
11. Begin your new life in Australia
1. You may need IELTS to boost your overall immigration points score to 65 and should this be the case you’ll more than likely end up doing the test anyhow at some point.
2. A desire to nurse in Australia without IELTS will always take longer. Be prepared to add on at least another three to four months of the application (and that’s a conservative estimate based on an applicant providing a 100% compliant bundle to AHPRA in the first instance).
3. Unless you’re willing to travel to Australia to collect your AHPRA registration you’ll be left only with your letter of determination which may result in you needing to reapply to AHPRA again at the end of the process
All our Medical Migration professionals operate under our Medical Migration Center of Excellence to stay ahead of the Nursing Migration curve.
Our current best practice recommendation remains that whilst the English tests can seem daunting we recommend using the non-traditional route as a fall-back option only.
Nurses in Australia Without IELTS – Lets Go Global Nursing Australia Specialists
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Thank you to the Medical Migration team at Lets Go Global for helping me get my Australian visa application underway without having to take IELTS.
Everything's now on track and I 100% recommend Lets Go Global if you're a nurse moving down under.
Thank you Sandra, you have a great case for Australian Migration and we hope to see this process swiftly concluded.
Community Nurse emigrating to Australia here. Thank you for the article its a great help and I've shared it with some of my nursing colleagues on Facebook.
In your opinion is there any particular version of the English tests above that are easier than the others?
Hello Mandy and thank you for your interesting question. In terms of the Academic Test versions we find the test standards to be fairly consistent across the board. For the general version of the tests we haven't seen a huge disparity between the results our Nurses have been getting although some people who've sat more than one test report the Pearson version to result in higher scores.
If I can get out of doing IELTS that would be great for me even though I appreciate it's going to take me much longer and potentially be more expensive. I know your recoomendation is to just go the normal route but I'm really worried about having to do the english test.
The only problem is I score 50 points without IELTS can I still apply?
Hi Mary and great to hear from you.
With 50 points in total without IELTS you'll need to do the English test at some point in order to score at least an extra 10 points (you may even score an extra 20 points depending on your results).
However, whilst for ANMAC they specific the Academic version of IELTS if you're going for points only you can get away with just doing the General version of the tests.
Take our Free Online Medical Migration assessment for more information
Thank you for the great info I've been searching out these answers for the past few months!
I've just done an online Medical Migration assessment and I look forward to getting the ball rolling