Nursing Opportunities Around the World |

Why Nursing is a Great Global Career Path for Expats

Our partners at Santa Fe talks about the opportunities available to nurses around the world

Posted on

15 July 2019

Last updated on 19 January 2020
Nursing: A Global Career Path

Nurses all around the world do an incredible job, holding down the front line of medical care

Inspired by the recent International Nurses Day, we look at where in the world offers the modern Nurse exciting job opportunities.

We look at the global locations offering up a great lifestyle overseas, where nurses are well rewarded for all their hard work.

New Zealand

The New Zealand healthcare system is split between state funded and private care, with nursing opportunities available in both. The public system makes up about 83% of all of the healthcare provision in the country, the rest is provided by private GPs and Hospitals.

Healthcare is a well-supported industry in New Zealand, with state funding at about 10% of the GDP, which is just over the average OECD. Nurses in New Zealand benefit from modern working environments with up to date technology and equipment. GP appointments in the country are paid for by the patient, but all treatment in state hospitals and clinics is free.

If you’re looking for a new nursing role where specialisms are greatly rewarded in an exciting new country, look no further then New Zealand. The country’s on a huge recruitment drive, as they need an additional 380 specialised nurses every year, and a total of 25,000 by 2030. In fact, 41% of all healthcare professionals in the country are expats/trained overseas.

If you have the skills needed to fulfil one of the many advertised roles, your working visa application has a very high chance of being accepted and could even lead to permanent residency.

Once in a new role in New Zealand, nurses benefit from a mandatory minimum amount of 4 weeks paid annual leave/holiday a year, and a good salary of between £19,000 and £30,000. Salaries increase above this for senior roles, and specific specialities.

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Similarly to the New Zealand system there is a mix of public and private healthcare available, and while some GP appointments are paid for most healthcare is free if you go public. There is also a high level of investment in healthcare in Australia, so nurses working here benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and a modern working environment.

Due to the high level of demand for nurses, there is a very proactive recruitment process in the country. The government and healthcare sector’s recruitment drive actively recruits, with nurses at the top of their field often ‘scouted’ by the government. And with a wide range of places to live and work – from very modern cities, to the very remote outback – the country attracts hundreds of expat nurses every year.

If you’re qualified in the UK, Republic of Ireland, US or Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore or New Zealand your qualifications are recognised by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Board, which makes the application and visa process slightly easier. However, it’s important to note that all nurses must undergo an International English Language Test in order to qualify for their Australian nursing registration, regardless of their first language.

Working in Australia comes with a number of great benefits, in addition to lifestyle and cultural changes. There is a very high level of investment in education and further qualifications within the medical field and this extends to expat members of staff. This means that you could gain new qualifications, helping you to climb the professional ladder or specialise whilst you work.

Another great benefit is that healthcare for yourself is provided on a reciprocal basis. However, you will be subject to a higher tax levy especially if you are earning in the higher salary brackets. Many senior nurses benefit from private healthcare insurance whilst working in Australia. Nurses in Australia also enjoy a great work/life balance. And receive a great average salary of between £24,000 and £41,000.

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Denmark offers a really unique opportunity for nurses looking to work for a completely state funded healthcare system. The country is also a leading healthcare provider, being one of Europe’s top countries for healthcare provision. The system here is incredibly well organised and nurses benefit from exceptionally modern work environments. It’s important to note that in Denmark nurses report very high levels of happiness and work place satisfaction.

It makes a great choice for expat nurses from the EU, as EU nationals don’t need a visa to work in Denmark. However, all expat nurses need to get authorisation from the government and healthcare governing bodies in order to be able to work. This should be a mere formality for any EU qualified nurse with a Bachelor’s degree but it’s worth checking into before moving.

Also of note: all nurses moving to Denmark to work must have good Danish language proficiency, and you may be subject to a language test.

The culture of the workplace is Denmark is also very unique. Expat nurses (indeed, all expat workers moving to Denmark) should expect a friendly work environment with a lack of hierarchy. There is also a lack of traditional formality: all professionals in every industry go by their first names only. This includes with colleagues and clients, staff, and even students. Specific to the nursing industry, this translates into an equality between nurses and doctors, resulting in nurses have more responsibility and autonomy than in other countries.

Nurses in Denmark receive 6 weeks of paid vacation/annual leave a year, giving new expat nurses plenty of time to enjoy their new country. And the salary available here is one of the best in Europe, with an average of £38,000 a year.

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United States of America

Thanks to the private healthcare system in the US nurses have access to modern and state-of-the-art equipment and technology. They are also paid a great wage, with the average American nursing salary being around £57,000 a year. And like many of the countries listed above, the USA is actively recruiting for nurses thanks to a countrywide shortage.

To move to the USA for work, it’s important to have a job offer and company sponsor your visa application. Even with these things in place, the visa application process can take up to a year, and once working in the US you will probably be required to commit to 18 months working for your sponsored employer.

Each State in America has its own rules, working practices, and medical governing board, so if you’re considering a move stateside it’s important to research the individual conditions in your dream State. It’s also important to note that once you have been accepted to a governing nursing body, your licence is only valid in that State. There is, however, a multi-state nursing licence available: this might be the best route if you plan on moving around/travelling with work.

There are often many benefits offered to expats moving to the US for work: from relocation budgets, free flights to move out there, and most importantly full medical insurance benefits. It’s worth really checking what benefits your prospective employer offers, and make sure it includes medical insurance. On top of financial benefits, many American employers offer excellent access to continuing education, often paid for by the employer.

If you’re a qualified nurse looking to move overseas for a new job opportunity, speak to one of our friendly relocation experts to find out how we can take care of you (for once!).

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