The number of Kiwi nurses seeking to work across the Tasman is up again this year after dropping to a new low last year.
Nursing Council data shows that the number of Kiwi nurses seeking verification to allow them to nurse in Australia peaked at 1500 in 2012-2013 before halving to 750 in 2014-2015.
But in the year to March 31 2016 applications swung up again slightly to 819 showing the number either contemplating or actually crossing the Tasman each year remains steady. In the same year about 85 Australian nurses crossed this way across the Tasman.
The nursing migration trend bucks the national migration statistics for the same 12 month period. New Zealand for 12 months in a row gained more migrants from Australia than they lost culminating in the highest net gain of migrants from Australia for about 25 years. Statistics New Zealand says the increase in arrivals from Australia was for both New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizens and the numbers of Kiwis migrating to Australia was down 2,100 on the previous 12 months.
The upswing in nurses contemplating crossing the Tasman also coincides with the Nursing Council registering a record 1841 new graduate nurses in the 2015-16 year – up on around 1770-1780 in each of the previous two years.
Exactly how many new graduates crossed the Tasman is not known but the annual graduate destination survey of November 2015 graduates (undertaken in March 2016) indicated that 13 graduates were overseas – the majority in Australia – compared to 38 overseas in 2013. The latest statistics from the ACE nurse graduate job clearinghouse indicates that about 10 per cent of November 2015 graduates who sought jobs through ACE were still job-hunting in July.
Meanwhile the total number of nurses seeking verification of their registration from the Nursing Council to allow them to practice overseas also went up again slightly this year from 1170 last year (750 to Australia) to 1279 (819 to Australia). The most common other countries Kiwi nurses seek to work in are usually the United Kingdom, USA and Canada. The number of Kiwi nurses seeking verification to work overseas peaked at nearly 2300 in 2011-2012.
The Nursing Council has noted in the past that seeking verification to work overseas does not necessarily mean a nurse migrates and in the case of Australia it was aware of nurses holding dual registrations and doing temporary contracts across the Tasman.