Language bungle thwarts foreign nurse graduates

By Sarah-Jane Collins
International nursing students who graduated last semester and want to work in Australia have been caught up in an administrative bungle that could see hundreds of qualified nurses sent home, unable to take up jobs they have been offered.

Nurses who have completed their degree at universities including Deakin and the University of Ballarat face uncertainty because they do not meet the language requirements set by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

From July 1 this year students are not eligible unless they have passed an English literacy test at level 7.

University of Ballarat head of Nursing Lynette Stockhausen said the changes had affected almost 100 students, and would have an impact on regional health services.

”This is really unfortunate for rural and regional areas as we have many of our domestic students not willing to work in [those] areas, whereas many of our international students settle in really well.”

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