Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
STUDENT LIFE / JUN. 16, 2014
version 2, draft 2

Nursing Graduates Unable to Find Work

Many Australian nursing graduates have been struggling to secure themselves a job in the medical sector. According to Yahoo News, Australian nurses have generally been in high demand in the past, but the nurses’ union claims that that a huge number of foreign workers on 457 visas are taking their place.  Presenter, Emma Alberici, on ABC’s Lateline has commented, “Nursing has a reputation for being a profession in demand both here and overseas, but the latest group of Australian graduates is struggling to find work”. There is an estimate of 3000 graduate nurses who haven’t managed to score job in Australian hospitals, with an incline towards more experienced foreign nurses being preferred.

Nursing Graduates

According to, nursing graduates are fighting for competitive graduate positions, while around 3000 foreign nurses are being permitted temporary visas to work in Australia annually. Across Australia, the status of unemployed nursing graduates demonstrate the state of the industry. highlight the condition of nursing graduates nationwide:

  • South Australia: The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) assess that 280 nurses and midwife graduates were left jobless after completion of university in late 2013.
  • In  Queensland only 600 of 2500 nursing graduates were offered jobs.
  •  In Tasmania 60% of nursing graduates were unable to secure jobs in 2013.
  •  In  Victoria 800 graduates were unable to find jobs in 2013 as well.
  •  The ANMF claims that New South Wales’  public hospitals were the largest employer of nurses on 457 visas. Health Workforce Australia estimates that 1100 new nursing graduates will be unable to find employment this year, and approximately 1500 graduate enrolled nurses will possibly miss out on permanent positions.

Between 2005 and 2012, the number of students graduating from nursing degrees have increased by almost 50%. In addition, the number of foreign nurses entering Australia each year on temporary visas has risen from 2697 to 3118 over the same period. Nursing graduates are frustrated over having to relocate interstate, take casual or even unpaid work experience and complete over 60 applications just to pursue a passion of working in the industry.

Trade Union’s Call to Tighten Law state that ANMF and Australian Council of Trade Unions are appealing to the government to tighten the laws used to control 457 temporary skilled visas. They inform that without more employment prospects for nursing graduates there will be a “lost generation” of nurses to the health and age care sectors. Member of the ANMF, Annie Butler stresses: “It can’t be a coincidence that at the same time as we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of new nurse graduates across the country not able to get jobs, the same amount of people are getting jobs who are coming in as temporary skilled migrants on 457 visas”.

 ABC News Lateline reporter, John Stewart reports that, “About 8,000 nurses graduate from Australian universities each year. But this year up to 3,000 cannot find work”. He further comments saying that, “As the population ages, the long-term demand for nurses is expected to rise. The current oversupply of graduate nurses is probably temporary, but just how many get jobs soon may depend on the size of State health budgets”. Currently, there are more than 300,000 nurses working in Australian hospitals. Trade unions and employers believe that demand for nursing will increase as the population ages. Health Workforce Australia reckons that by 2025 that there will be a lack of more than 109,000 nurses nationwide.

Overall, the effect upon nursing graduates is profound being faced with competition from foreign nurses. However as ABC News Lateline reporter, John Stewart, mentioned earlier, it does depend on the status of the State Health budgets that will determine the future of the next group of nursing graduates. Trade unions are fighting for more recognition and options for nursing graduates in order to secure more employment.



Nurses Can’t Find Jobs – ABC Lateline 

Thousands of Nursing Graduates Unable to Find Work in Australian Hospitals – Yahoo News

Graduates Nurses and Midwives Complain their Jobs are Being Outsourced to Cheap 457 Visa Immigrants –

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