In the first three months of 2022-23 new applications for Internationally Qualified Nurse and Midwife applications have increased by 87%, compared to the same period last year, Ahpra says.
Further, Ahpra says the number of international nursing and midwifery registrations are approaching the pre-pandemic level of 5,753 international registrations in 2018-19.
The number of Internationally Qualified Nurses and Midwives registered rose 35% over the past year, with 4629 recruits arriving in 2021-22.
With record levels of practitioner graduates also registered last year, Australia’s health workforce has swelled beyond 850,000 practitioners for the first time and is now 14.5% larger than it was before the pandemic struck.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said all state and territories would benefit from an increase.
‘At a time of unprecedented demand there are thousands of fully qualified doctors, nurses and midwives who can ease the strain on Australia’s stretched health systems and help patients receive the care they need sooner.”
To be registered to work in Australia, internationally trained practitioners must provide proof of their training and qualifications, international criminal history checks, English language skills, Australian employer documentation, application forms and identity checks, among other safeguards.
Ahpra said more than 60% of international applications are missing some of the critical information, making the assessment process more complex.
To tackle this issue, Ahpra has launched a new webpage, to provide clear information to offshore applicants, stepped up its co-ordination with major employers, adopted a new approach to initial risk assessments, and placed more senior staff on the frontline assessing applications at their earliest stage.
This renewed focus has allowed applications which are missing vital information to be detected far sooner, cutting the time taken to request additional information from four weeks to just seven days.
Australia’s health workforce boost will continue in the coming months following a further rise in registration approvals and applications to Aphra and the National Boards.