Favourite expat hubs for nursing professionals

Published:  14 Mar at 6 PM
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Nursing is a specialisation always in demand, as qualified nursing professionals can work anywhere in the world they wish provided they’ve obtained the relevant certifications in their chosen country.

Mobility as a qualified, experienced nurse is normally far more straightforward than in many other professions, meaning the world is wide open for heathcare professionals seeking a change of lifestyle. Five countries stand out as best for salary levels, ease of finding a suitable position and comparative ease of obtaining permission to enter and work.

The UK’s National Heath Service has always been a magnet for nurses from overseas and, although it’s in crisis at present, still offers worthwhile salaries and reasonable working conditions. Formerly, nurses with EU citizenship could take advantage of the EU’s Freedom of Movement directive, but once Britain leaves the EU getting in might be more problematic.

However, it’s entirely possible that nurses from overseas will still be welcome, albeit subject to a higher level of bureaucracy. Pay scales depend on qualifications and experience, and nurses trained outside the EU and EEA will need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and take eligibility tests. Starting salaries for Band 5 range between £21,909 and £28,462 a year.

Finding a nursing job in the USA is slightly more complicated, as foreign-trained nurses need to have either a Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certificate or an unrestricted, full license to practice in their chosen state. Your employer must take care of the immigration application including your visa and license, and the process often takes up to a year, so patience is necessary. Annual salaries average around $67,490.

If you’re interested in nursing in Norway, the bad news is that you’ll have to study Norwegian, as knowledge of the language is an essential qualification for anyone wishing to migrate to this small, spectacular country. You’ll also need a license from the Norwegian Directorate of Health to practice in the healthcare industry, and must apply for it online. Average salaries in Norwegian heathcare are estimated at 44,990 kroner per year.

Canada is a popular destination for expat health professionals, with foreign nurses expected to take the same exam as their Canadian counterparts. Registration with the provincial board of nursing in the region where you’ll be working is the next step, and average annual salaries are around C$59,783.

Australia is another popular expat hub for medical professionals from overseas, although its admission process is complicated. The best way is to get a job before you emigrate, as neither of the two selection processes you'll need to undergo guarantee a job. You’ll also be required to take a skills assessment linked with the visa process as well as an educational assessment to ensure your qualifications are equivalent to those in Australia. Average annual salaries are AU$61,000.
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