Assessment stages

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) reviews and assesses applications on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

There are several stages involved when assessing applications for registration from internationally qualified applicants.

Due to the volume of applications being processed and complexity of assessing international qualifications, you may experience some delays when applying for registration. AHPRA aims to return to normal processing times as soon as possible.

The NMBA or its delegate carefully reviews all documentation submitted before making a decision on each application to ensure fair and consistent assessment of applications. This means that the assessment process takes time and the unique circumstances of your application will determine how long we take to process it. We are generally unable to give a reliable estimate of processing time but will provide clearer timeframes individually where they are available.

Wherever possible, AHPRA aims to complete the assessment of an international application within four to six weeks of receipt of all required documentation. However, many international applications require a decision from the NMBA or its delegate and will take an estimated eight to ten weeks to process. Estimates of processing times can only be given for complete applications (i.e. where all required documentation has been provided). Processing times for incomplete applications are dependent on how quickly any outstanding documentation is provided and may be considerably longer than the standard processing times.

You can help avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application by:

Your application will be reviewed to ensure that we have received all required documentation and you will be notified if there are outstanding or additional documents or information required. We do not start assessing applications until all required documentation has been received.

Staying up to date with your application

If you have experienced a delay in receiving an outcome for your application that has resulted in personal hardship, please contact AHPRA directly or speak to your assigned registration officer so we are aware of your specific situation and we can consider how we can help you.

To find out the status of your application, contact AHPRA directly. AHPRA information systems allow the customer service team to give status updates without the need to transfer to your registration officer. Registration officers are working hard on processing and reviewing applications. Please bear in mind we may not have new information for you.

AHPRA is a national organisation and your application may not be reviewed in the office where you lodge your application. Your application will be assigned to a registration officer, who will contact you if there is any outstanding documentation relating to your application. Whenever we ask you for information we will update you on the contact details of the person who can answer any questions you may have. Please note that your assigned registration officer may change during the course of the assessment of your application.

Once you have provided all necessary documentation, your application will be reviewed and assessed. As part of this process, your application may also be reviewed by AHPRA staff members other than your assigned registration officer.

Note: You will be given 30 days to provide the outstanding information.

If we do not receive this information within the timeframe stated in the notice we will assume that you have withdrawn your application and will close it.

We appreciate it can take time to gather the required information. If you anticipate any delay in sending us the additional information, you may ask your registration officer for additional time.

AHPRA reviews the documents you provided for your qualification(s) against the eight qualification criteria and prepares the necessary assessment papers. We will contact you if there is any outstanding documentation related to the qualification review.

AHPRA and the NMBA will consider all relevant nursing and midwifery qualifications you hold when assessing your application. Please see multiple qualifications for more information.

As in Stage 1, if there is outstanding documentation that we need to review your application, we will request the additional information and give you 30 days to provide it. If we receive no response in this timeframe, we will close your application.

We appreciate it can take time to gather the required information. If you anticipate any delay in sending us the additional information, you may ask your registration officer for additional time.

Applications that meet all requirements

If your application clearly meets all registration requirements, we will progress it to registration as quickly as possible.

Applications that do not meet all requirements

If your application does not meet all registration requirements it will take longer to assess as it will require a decision by the NMBA or its delegate.

The NMBA or its delegate considers and decides the outcome of all applications that do not clearly lead to registration. It takes into account the review and assessment of your application in making its decision.

The NMBA may accept the assessment recommendation or take some other action. The NMBA’s decision will either be to register, propose to register with conditions, or propose to refuse your application.

Registration

If the outcome of your application is registration, we will:

  • inform you by email if your residential address is in Australia, or 
  • send you a letter of in principle approval of registration if you are currently living overseas and cannot meet the local ID requirements. For more information, see in principle registration.

All other outcomes

If the NMBA proposes to register you with conditions or proposes to refuse your application, you will be sent a letter communicating the proposed decision on your application and the reasons for the decision.

You can make a submission to the NMBA about the proposal within 30 days of receiving the communication.

Submissions give applicants the opportunity to present any additional information or evidence that can be considered in making a final decision.

If you do not make a submission, the NMBA may uphold its decision after the 30 day period has expired and the decision will become final.

If you do not agree with the final decision of the NMBA, you generally have the right to appeal the decision and take your case to a Tribunal for a decision.

How to lodge an appeal

This information is for international applicants who would like to find out about how to appeal an NMBA decision on registration. The document does not provide legal advice. None of its content is intended to be, or should be, taken as legal advice from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA), the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or any related body.

It is important that you obtain independent legal advice to inform any decision you choose to make based on the information that we provide.

Where to appeal

Your principal place of practice (PPP) or residential address in Australia will determine your responsible tribunal – i.e. where you should lodge your appeal. If your residential address is not within Australia, your responsible tribunal is based in New South Wales.

When to lodge your appeal

As a general principle, you should lodge an application to appeal the NMBA’s decision within 28 days of the date that the decision was made. However, we strongly recommend that you contact the responsible tribunal to directly confirm the accurate timeframe.

Costs

The responsible tribunal may make an order about costs. This may result in an order to the international applicant to pay the NMBA’s costs as well as their own costs, or the reverse.

More information

The following pages contain useful information that may be relevant to your situation:

 
 
 
Page reviewed 29/04/2015