Unlike most people, I didn't take nursing to go abroad. It was suppose to be my pre-medicine course. As you've guessed, I didn't pursue the latter due to conflict of interest. I wanted to travel and medicine wouldn't let me until I was old and grey. (LOL)
So after 4 years of getting my nurse license, I opted to go aboard to work instead. I've considered US, Canada, UK and Aus. I called up my friends living overseas and asked them how they're fairing. Those in the US were pretty stressed and the UK ones said it's difficult to save up there since the cost of living is almost equal to your pay cheque. That leaves me with Canada and Australia (New Zealand is pretty far from home and isolated so I skipped out on that one). I chose Australia instead as it's nearer to home and plane tickets are cheap. PLUS... Australia ranked as on of the best places to settle down/ migrate in the recent 2012 and 2013 surveys.
Which leads me here.... Processing my papers and stuff. I started thinking about of working abroad around June 2013 and got serious early August 2013. The only way to work in Australia (and New Zealand) is to take their bridging course. The bridging course (A.K.A ARNTP or IRON programs) is a 2.5-4.5 month course that orients you to Australian nurse policies and laws. From the word itself, it Bridges the gap between practices in your country and theirs.
The whole process looks like this....
You (Philippine RN)---> Australia's Bridging program--->You (registered/qualified Aus RN)
and this takes only a few months instead of several years :)
What you'll need:
- IELTS (no score below 7 out of 9) and must not be expired.
- Min. 2 years nurse work experience-- recent (hospital experience preferred for this blog)
- Money (prepare approx. 1 million pesos). Don't worry, ave. wage for RN there is 200k/mo
- Passport (make sure it's not expired)
- All necessary paper works (NBI, NSO, PRC etc)
*Read my article about My IELTS experience. Tips and insights included :)
- Do it solo or by Agency?
Lucky for me, I bumped into a friend who's planning to study in Australia too AND she knows an agency that knows a fast track course... FWES or Friendly World Education Services ( Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/robert.morris.589583?fref=ts) has brought many nurses like me abroad (I know a couple of these people). They're not a recruitment agency, they're an agency that helps you get in one of the top university in Australia-- UniSA or University of South Australia.
You're probably asking me... WHY BOTHER with an agency? here's the deal... If you do the whole process manually/ solo, you will need to go to APHRA (PRC equivalent in Aus). The whole process takes about 4-6 months then you'll start to look for a university, this takes about 2 months.. The manual process takes around 6- 8 months sometimes more if you don't know what you're doing.
Personally, I would recommend FWES because they scan and check your documents for you before you process them and they also prod you to fix your papers regularly so you won't laze around. The BEST reason to trust them is that they let you in to UniSA (University of South Australia) super fast due to them being recognised agents. UniSA, being a top university, allows you to take their bridging course even if you don't have your APHRA papers yet. Of course, you still need the APHRA certificate but you won't have to wait for it in the Philippines. This saves you 6-8 months already. You can start your course WHILE your APHRA is being processed. UniSA will only take in students they know will pass the APHRA requirements. In short, UniSA will pre-approve you. If they know you'll pass APHRA requirements, they'll let you start.
FWES charges around Php 25,000 for evaluation and document assistance as well as VISA application. You'll only need to pay p5,000 first then the rest (php 20,000) is payable when you get your visa. They also have an optional package. For an additional p25,000 , they can help you find your student lodging and get you a part time work in an aged care facility while you're studying (you can probably earn 200 AUD/week). Not bad; It can help you pay your rent. Again, this is optional. I'm thinking of availing it now :)
- Paper works for UniSA:
- Certificate of Employment (CoE)
- Should have hospital letter head
- indicate year started and if full-time or part time
- how many hours per week ave (40hrs/week for full time)
- what department
- > you can request this from the HR department. They usually know what to do :)
- Personal Information: name, gender, birth date, marital status, nationality, religion
- Qualifications Obtained: elementary- college, passed PRC, passed IELTS
- qualifying examinations: IELTS, NLE etc
- clinical/ procedural skills: certificates eg BLS etc. not really needed
- work history: must coincide with CoE
- Duties and responsibilities: Job description (should come with your CoE)
- seminars/ trainings attended:
- registration history (PRC)
- reference: 2-4 is good. include position/institution/city/ contact no.
- Enrolling for the class:
Once you have the deposit slip and other sheets of paper, scan and send the copy to UniSA (address is attached to their Letter of Offer). They'll reply in 3-4 days with your Confirmation of Enrollment.
If you check their website, www.immi.gov.au , they have a number of visa for every applicant. It can get overwhelming and confusing. FWES recommended that I apply for the Streamlined (fastest visa) student non award 575. Unlike other visas that take 2-3 months processing, this one takes only 2 weeks to process. You just need any of the following...
- NSO live birth
- NBI/ police clearance
- Certificate of employment
- ID with photo
- *Most Important.... Confirmation of Enrollment.
I applied online. It's faster that way. all you need is to register to their account and type in your Confirmation of Enrollement code. I had a slight problem with this because the site didn't recognize my code. Turns out, the site won't work on Mac. I opened it on Windows and it worked (Yipee!). Submitting the requirements takes an hour. The site's really easy to navigate.
Student Visa 575 costs around p23,100. Don't forget to ATTACH supporting documents on the last page of the site and ARRANGE your medical checkup.
- Medical Checkup
For the medical checkup, you'll need the following:
- 4pcs passport size photos
- 2pcs carbon copies of your passport (front page)
- p5,650 to cover the medical test (chest x-ray, blood extraction, urine test and visual acuity).
**Results of the tests are directly forwarded to the embassy. This means, you can't get a copy of the results no matter how much you badger the staff (yes, I saw someone do this while I had my test.)
UniSA is a beautiful school. I have nothing bad to say about it. I've studied in one of the best universities in the Philippines but nothing even compares. And there are a number of Asians too so you'll feel just at home (hehe :) )
It's been really busy lately. We've started school on April 1. School's challenging but very rewarding and informative. At first, i wasn't expecting to actually work hard at it but UniSA expects a lot from their students. Just come here already! it's really nice :)
I'll try to update this blog when I have the time. it's so difficult to write and do the chores and study at the same time. :)