Have you ever considered moving overseas to work as a nurse? Answer our poll
There has been a marked decrease in UK nurses applying to work in Australia and other English speaking countries, figures given exclusively to Nursing Times have shown.
The data, provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, shows that 1,978 UK nurses applied to work in Australia in 2010, based on verifications requested by the regulatory body’s Australian equivalent. This compares with 3,648 in 2009 and a peak of 6,329 in 2008.
Applications to the US also fell - 735 nurses were verified in 2010, compared with 1,238 in 2009, 1,567 in 2008 and 1,779 in 2007 - and New Zealand - 641 in 2010, compared with 1,241 in 2008.
Applications to the United Arab Emirates, which has become increasingly popular for all UK workers, rose slightly. But the numbers still remain small, with 32 nurses applying in 2010, compared with 20 in 2008.
Royal College of Nursing research and information officer Rachel McIlroy said the downward trend “came out of the blue”.
“The numbers had been going up and up. I would have thought it would have kept steady to Australia, as it has withstood the recession,” she said.
Stephanie Bradley, Australian Visa Bureau content and communications editor, said the trend could partly be attributed to English language testing introduced in July 2009.
She said: “Nurses are expected to sit an academic version of the test, and UK trained nurses could be finding it difficult to reach the required standard or are being put off by the idea of the test.”
Paul Arthur, director of the Emigration Group, a firm that specialises in sending nurses to Australia and New Zealand, said its enquiries from nurses had dropped. He said the reasons were more likely to be economic, as people tended to put “big plans on hold” during recessions.
He said: “It’s very clear that Australia wants nurses. I think the problems are more economic.
“People aren’t confident they can sell their homes or their businesses to realise their assets and, therefore, have capital to migrate.”
Have you ever considered moving overseas to work as a nurse?