Questions about moving from Canada to OZ

  1. G'day mates

    In may of 2006 I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (registered nurse) from Ontario, Canada. I had travelled with my girlfriend to Brisbane for the month to visit her Mother. I've been itching to go back and work for a year, possibly two, but would like some further assistance. I've searched the forums and tried to complete as my as my own due diliegence as possible, but I still need help as alot of information found was contradictory.

    For this move, I would be staying with family in Brisbane. The hospital, whether it is private or public will have to be around there.

    1) Obtaining Visa
    Although I can get a working VISA, I was thinking of trying to get a permanent visa instead so that I can have dual citizenship between Canada and Oz. How long will either take?

    I was reading and some members have said they have received their visa in 3 months immediately after going to OZ and getting a job. They recevied it so quickly because the hospital they worked for completed all the work. As for permanent residency, I've heard 3-5 years. On various websites, I heard it can be as little as 6 months.

    So what factors are their to consider regarding both?

    1) Pay Scale-
    How will I be payed according to my level of work experience? I will not be moving for at least 1 year (till Jan of 2008). That would mean I would have 1 1/2 years of nursing under my belt by that time, primarily on a medical floor and partially Emergency. I'm aware that in OZ you are payed according to levels. How would I fit in? How can I obtain higher pay while practising in Ontario?

    I've found a QLSD website that illustrates what can be expected. Is the information correct? http://www.health.qld.gov.au/nursing/salary.asp

    Key points:
    starting level is $44,384
    Shift Allowances
    If you work shift work, on top of your base rate of pay, you receive the following shift allowances:
    12.5 per cent for afternoon shifts
    20 per cent for night shifts
    50 per cent for Saturdays
    75 per cent for Sundays
    150 per cent for special Public Holidays - Easter Saturday, Labor Day and

    I remember hearing the news just after I came back from Oz that QLSD just received a 25% increase in pay for Nurses. Can anyone elaborate on how this pay affects public/private hosptials and nursing in general? Does that mean the starting salary is quite more than 45k/year?


    3)Where to work?
    Because I have 1 year to do my research, I would like to know which area to work for, public or private? or should I even consider a nursing agency for this?

    From what i've read, anyone seems practical. Nurses have went to OZ and after applying for jobs when they've only been there for 2 days have received calls back immediately. My debate is which area to work in public/private?. Pay is a partial influential factor, however, if one area only pays 5k more than another and the working conditions are horrible, i'd rather keep my sanitity and lose the 5k for something more enjoyable.

    4)Work life
    What's the typical pt:nurse ratio?
    I've been told many times nurses are unvalued (same her in Canada) and the rate of pay does not justify their work at all. How often are you working short? Is there alot of Overtime offered? How long are the shifts? 8 or 12 hours? Any information about the hospital and health care would be great.

    4) Pension
    Say I obtain a full-time job. How many years does it take the pension to be vested? So if I decide to come back to Canada, I know that my contributions, along with the hosptial will be given to me and I can invest them on my own. I'm not sure how the pension system works in Oz (particularly brisbane), but in Ontario, Canada, it takes 2 years of full-time work to be 'vested', meaning, the hospital will give their portion of their contribution only at the 2 year mark to you, if you leave before hand, you only receive your contributions.

    4) Health Care
    Would I need to pay for health care out of my own pocket (health insurance), or can I still be eligible for coverage even though I would be on a working visa? or do i need to be a permanent resident?

    5)Taxes
    This website sums it up. It looks as if being a foreign worker is quite heavily taxed.
    http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/co...u=5053&mfp=001

    If you are a non-resident for the full year, the following rates apply:

    Tax rates 2005-06
    Taxable income
    Tax on this income

    $0 - $21,600
    29c for each $1

    $21,601 - $63,000
    $6,264 plus 30c for each $1 over $21,600

    $63,001 - $95,000
    $18,684 plus 42c for each $1 over $63,000

    Over $95,000
    $32,124 plus 47c for each $1 over $95,000

    This is why I would like to obtain permanent residency sooner rather than latter (taxes are bad!)

    Thanks for any help!
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    Quote from X-treme
    G'day mates

    In may of 2006 I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (registered nurse) from Ontario, Canada. I had travelled with my girlfriend to Brisbane for the month to visit her Mother. I've been itching to go back and work for a year, possibly two, but would like some further assistance. I've searched the forums and tried to complete as my as my own due diliegence as possible, but I still need help as alot of information found was contradictory.

    For this move, I would be staying with family in Brisbane. The hospital, whether it is private or public will have to be around there.
    No better place actually


    1) Obtaining Visa
    Although I can get a working VISA, I was thinking of trying to get a permanent visa instead so that I can have dual citizenship between Canada and Oz. How long will either take?

    I was reading and some members have said they have received their visa in 3 months immediately after going to OZ and getting a job. They recevied it so quickly because the hospital they worked for completed all the work. As for permanent residency, I've heard 3-5 years. On various websites, I heard it can be as little as 6 months.

    So what factors are their to consider regarding both?
    MUCH easier to go for the temporary work visa and then apply for permanent residency. I am unsure about permanent residency but I know that if you intend to immigrate then for some reason there is an extra layer of beaurocracy called the ANMC that you have to go through to be registered.

    1) Pay Scale-
    How will I be payed according to my level of work experience? I will not be moving for at least 1 year (till Jan of 2008). That would mean I would have 1 1/2 years of nursing under my belt by that time, primarily on a medical floor and partially Emergency. I'm aware that in OZ you are payed according to levels. How would I fit in? How can I obtain higher pay while practising in Ontario?

    I've found a QLSD website that illustrates what can be expected. Is the information correct? http://www.health.qld.gov.au/nursing/salary.asp

    Key points:
    starting level is $44,384
    Shift Allowances
    If you work shift work, on top of your base rate of pay, you receive the following shift allowances:
    12.5 per cent for afternoon shifts
    20 per cent for night shifts
    50 per cent for Saturdays
    75 per cent for Sundays
    150 per cent for special Public Holidays - Easter Saturday, Labor Day and
    As you have a degree you will start at level 1 year 2 PLUS whatever number of years full time equivalent you can demonstrate you have. (unless you want to apply for a level 2 job - not much more pay but LOTS more work)

    I remember hearing the news just after I came back from Oz that QLSD just received a 25% increase in pay for Nurses. Can anyone elaborate on how this pay affects public/private hosptials and nursing in general? Does that mean the starting salary is quite more than 45k/year?
    Shift work is what makes the real difference in pay rates but yes we did get a pay rise + a couple of special "education bonuses" BUT I warn you the last were only for PERMANENT residents and some of our people who are on temporary visa's missed out

    3)Where to work?
    Because I have 1 year to do my research, I would like to know which area to work for, public or private? or should I even consider a nursing agency for this?

    From what i've read, anyone seems practical. Nurses have went to OZ and after applying for jobs when they've only been there for 2 days have received calls back immediately. My debate is which area to work in public/private?. Pay is a partial influential factor, however, if one area only pays 5k more than another and the working conditions are horrible, i'd rather keep my sanitity and lose the 5k for something more enjoyable.
    If you are from Canada you are more likely to feel at home in the public system I think. Pm me where you are going to live if you want and I will give you some inside info as to best hospitals.

    4)Work life
    What's the typical pt:nurse ratio?
    I've been told many times nurses are unvalued (same her in Canada) and the rate of pay does not justify their work at all. How often are you working short? Is there alot of Overtime offered? How long are the shifts? 8 or 12 hours? Any information about the hospital and health care would be great.
    Some hospitals just throw nurses at patients regardless of acuity, some use a system such as trendcare to establish fair ratios to match acuity, some use Trendcare and ignore the proposed staffing numbers because "The computer always overestimates" and sometimes "there jist ain't no more nurses out there to be hired"

    4) Pension
    Say I obtain a full-time job. How many years does it take the pension to be vested? So if I decide to come back to Canada, I know that my contributions, along with the hosptial will be given to me and I can invest them on my own. I'm not sure how the pension system works in Oz (particularly brisbane), but in Ontario, Canada, it takes 2 years of full-time work to be 'vested', meaning, the hospital will give their portion of their contribution only at the 2 year mark to you, if you leave before hand, you only receive your contributions.
    I think the equivalent system here is called "Superannuation" and you cannot claim until you retire (although you can access funds in the case of major disability). Unsure of how it would work for someone overseas. Public hospitals use Q Super http://www.qsuper.qld.gov.au/

    best to go to the source for the answers

    4) Health Care
    Would I need to pay for health care out of my own pocket (health insurance), or can I still be eligible for coverage even though I would be on a working visa? or do i need to be a permanent resident?
    We SHOULD have a reciprocal agreement with Canada for free care in public hospitals - but you will DEFINITELY have to check this out for yourself. Americans living here tell me that they pay less for full cover here than they do in the states.
    5)Taxes
    This website sums it up. It looks as if being a foreign worker is quite heavily taxed.
    http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/co...u=5053&mfp=001

    If you are a non-resident for the full year, the following rates apply:

    Tax rates 2005-06
    Taxable income
    Tax on this income

    $0 - $21,600
    29c for each $1

    $21,601 - $63,000
    $6,264 plus 30c for each $1 over $21,600

    $63,001 - $95,000
    $18,684 plus 42c for each $1 over $63,000

    Over $95,000
    $32,124 plus 47c for each $1 over $95,000

    This is why I would like to obtain permanent residency sooner rather than latter (taxes are bad!)

    Thanks for any help!
    I have NO idea but most of our taxes are PAYE in that the tax is taken out by the employer prior to you getting your money. Probably best to ask your prospective employer or the tax department.
  4. by   suzanne4
    Permanent residency is jsut that, it is not citizenship. Citizenship requires that you be there for a certain number of years.

    Think of the foreign nurses that go to Canada, they can get a landed immigrant card, but that does not give them citizenship there right away. Same thing for the US with the green card.
  5. by   gwenith
    Thanks Suzanne!!
  6. by   X-treme
    No better place actually

    MUCH easier to go for the temporary work visa and then apply for permanent residency. I am unsure about permanent residency but I know that if you intend to immigrate then for some reason there is an extra layer of beaurocracy called the ANMC that you have to go through to be registered.

    - For some reason, can work be one of them? I'd like to get permanent residency, then possible be able to upgrade my education at a cheaper rate than international student.

    As you have a degree you will start at level 1 year 2 PLUS whatever number of years full time equivalent you can demonstrate you have. (unless you want to apply for a level 2 job - not much more pay but LOTS more work)

    - By lots of work, can you describe the difference? Lots more work does not scare me, it actually makes me want to work harder and enhance my knowledge, along with possibily improving my position to management etc.. My main goal in the health care field is to teach, or become involved with management or administration work. How is the pay when one achieves this?

    Shift work is what makes the real difference in pay rates but yes we did get a pay rise + a couple of special "education bonuses" BUT I warn you the last were only for PERMANENT residents and some of our people who are on temporary visa's missed out

    - Was this bonus a one time deal? or was the overpay increased by 25%? Have the current pay scale changed? Just because someone had a temporary visa doesn't mean they should be left out... they are still work as a nurse, no?

    If you are from Canada you are more likely to feel at home in the public system I think. Pm me where you are going to live if you want and I will give you some inside info as to best hospitals.
    - I'd be living in the Karalee area. Please PM with any information that would be most beneficial! (thank you!)

    Some hospitals just throw nurses at patients regardless of acuity, some use a system such as trendcare to establish fair ratios to match acuity, some use Trendcare and ignore the proposed staffing numbers because "The computer always overestimates" and sometimes "there jist ain't no more nurses out there to be hired"
    - We don't have that type of system here, but if we're short, we work short. So our usual nurseatient ratio is 5:1. At nights it can be 6:1. This is on a medical floor. What about in Oz?


    I think the equivalent system here is called "Superannuation" and you cannot claim until you retire (although you can access funds in the case of major disability). Unsure of how it would work for someone overseas. Public hospitals use Q Super http://www.qsuper.qld.gov.au/
    best to go to the source for the answers

    - So if I decide to leave after 2 years, I won't get any reimbursement from the hospital, be it private or public? I'll definitely have to look into this.


    We SHOULD have a reciprocal agreement with Canada for free care in public hospitals - but you will DEFINITELY have to check this out for yourself. Americans living here tell me that they pay less for full cover here than they do in the states.
    - I thought because of the monarchy that Canada and Oz have, health care is free? You still have to pay for your own coverage? How much per month can I expect to pay? and what does this typically include?

    I have NO idea but most of our taxes are PAYE in that the tax is taken out by the employer prior to you getting your money. Probably best to ask your prospective employer or the tax department.[/QUOTE]
    - I've heard the taxing system is quite different. From my view, their seems to be alot of 'loop holes' where the employer can tax less or more at their will. This is from talking with various individuals while in Oz. Some say they have their car or house being paid for by the employer and so the companies finance department takes this into account and can place them into a lower tax bracket. I have no idea how tho. I need contacts for this

    Thanks again for everything.
    Hopefully I can obtain as much information as possible to make the transition smooth. I wonder if this coming into Canada from another Country has so many issues to consider. From my experience, alot of nurses that come here have said it's been great transition.
    Last edit by X-treme on Feb 5, '07
  7. by   OzNurse69
    RE: permanent residency.

    See here:
    http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medic...ons-nurses.htm

    There are a number of different sub-categories for applying for residency, it seems. These include hospital-sponsored, visas for people with relatives willing to sponsor them, and independent visas. Check out the requirements and costs and see which one is most applicable to you.

    FWIW, I've worked at both the Wesley (closest to Western suburbs) and Mater, and these hospitals have sponsored O/S staff in the past. PM me if you want contact names or more information.

    RE: lots of work for L2 nurses.

    Level 2's in Qld are Clinical Nurses. They are usually in charge of a shift when there is no NM, or act as resource people for the unit. "Lots more work" translates generally as they have to do rosters, organise education for the unit, work more lates/nights as these shifts don't have NM coverage. They may or may not have to take a pt load as well, depending on the hospital and the particular ward. It's a "semi-management" position, but L2 experience is usually a requirement for any sort of management role.

    RE: education bonuses.

    Not a one-off deal, these are reimbursement of up to $1500/$2000 (conditional) for education, as well as up to 3 paid days off per year. Something about if you don't use the money after 2 years it gets paid out in cash, but as I intend to use mine I didn't look too closely at that condition.

    RE: patient loads.

    Where I've worked (high acuity surgical wards) daytime acuity is 1:4 or 1:5, evenings 1:6 and nights 1:8. Or something around that. Depending on staff!

    RE: superannuation.

    Your employer is required by law to pay 9% on top of your salary into a superannuation account. This can't be touched until you turn 60 and retire. If you move back O/S before then (but why would you want to? ) your super continues to earn interest until you reach retirement age, and then it gets paid back to you.

    Some places (Qld Health, Mater Health Services, I think some of the pvt hospitals) require you to contribute an amount of your salary as well - usually 5%. This amount used to be able to be withdrawn when you left your job, but is now "preserved" (i.e. you can't touch it til you turn 60) as well. However you will still be able to get it no matter where you live when you turn 60.

    RE: health insurance coverage.

    Medicare is available to Canadian citizens as part of a reciprocal agreement between our respective governments. This entitles you to free treatment in the public system, a rebate on Dr outpatient visits (including things like radiology and pathology) and subsidised pharmaceuticals through the PBS. If you want to avoid waiting lists and/or be treated in a private hospital, or if you want to receive benefits for things like dental/physio/chiro etc, you would need to take out private health insurance. There's an incentive program where if you are over 30 you pay an extra 2% per year for every year you don't take out private health insurance BUT if you take out insurance within 12 months of arriving from overseas this is waived and you pay at the base rate.

    RE: taxes.

    The "loopholes" you refer to probably refer to salary packaging. That means that if your employer is QLD Health or a not-for-profit hospital (i.e nearly all of them) you can elect to get things like rent/mortgage payments/credit card payments and a whole bunch of other stuff, up to (I think) $8500 per year taken out of your salary before they calculate the tax payable. So if you earn $50,000, and salary sacrifice $8500, you only pay tax on $41,500. It sounds like a rort, but it's completely above board and legal!

    Your employer will have all the details about this, and will let you know how to sign up when you get here. Some employers (like mine) require that you have a qualified accountant draw up your salary sacrifice agreement, but for about $200 in accountant fees you pay about $2500 less tax per year. Not bad!

    I lived in the western suburbs for years, and still have many friends and relatives there. PM me if you want any help/advice about anything else.

    Cheers,

    Ruth
  8. by   carrie21
    do the new nurses get sign up bonus in australia like most of the hospitals here in the U.S. And what is the best public hospital in brisbane?

    ur replies would greatly appreciated. TNX!
    Last edit by gwenith on Feb 6, '07 : Reason: email address
  9. by   X-treme
    see here:
    http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medic...ons-nurses.htm

    There are a number of different sub-categories for applying for residency, it seems. These include hospital-sponsored, visas for people with relatives willing to sponsor them, and independent visas. Check out the requirements and costs and see which one is most applicable to you.
    I see there are two that fit my criteria. One is with the employer, the other is without a sponsor. I'll need to look into it more.

    FWIW, I've worked at both the Wesley (closest to Western suburbs) and Mater, and these hospitals have sponsored O/S staff in the past. PM me if you want contact names or more information.
    I PM'd Gwenith, but I might as well post ist. I would be living in Karalee. So any help finding good hospitals/agencies in the area would help a great deal


    RE: lots of work for L2 nurses.

    Level 2's in Qld are Clinical Nurses. They are usually in charge of a shift when there is no NM, or act as resource people for the unit. "Lots more work" translates generally as they have to do rosters, organise education for the unit, work more lates/nights as these shifts don't have NM coverage. They may or may not have to take a pt load as well, depending on the hospital and the particular ward. It's a "semi-management" position, but L2 experience is usually a requirement for any sort of management role.

    - What are each level and their duties? How long does it take to move up levels? Pay raise? I personally would like to obtain as much skill as possible and move up the ladder. Eventually I would like to get invovled with management and adminstration work (will hopefully have my masters by that time), so ever step is important for me.

    RE: education bonuses.

    Not a one-off deal, these are reimbursement of up to $1500/$2000 (conditional) for education, as well as up to 3 paid days off per year. Something about if you don't use the money after 2 years it gets paid out in cash, but as I intend to use mine I didn't look too closely at that condition.
    Thanks, good to know!

    RE: patient loads.

    Where I've worked (high acuity surgical wards) daytime acuity is 1:4 or 1:5, evenings 1:6 and nights 1:8. Or something around that. Depending on staff!
    That isn't 'too' bad I assume. There is a shortage all over the world. 1:8 seems a little extensive, but if no one comes in for a shift, that's what you're stuck with

    RE: superannuation.

    Your employer is required by law to pay 9% on top of your salary into a superannuation account. This can't be touched until you turn 60 and retire. If you move back O/S before then (but why would you want to? ) your super continues to earn interest until you reach retirement age, and then it gets paid back to you.

    Some places (Qld Health, Mater Health Services, I think some of the pvt hospitals) require you to contribute an amount of your salary as well - usually 5%. This amount used to be able to be withdrawn when you left your job, but is now "preserved" (i.e. you can't touch it til you turn 60) as well. However you will still be able to get it no matter where you live when you turn 60.

    - Here's my concerns: First, are there any websites in OZ that explain how your superannuation works? It seems complex. Does it matter how many years you work before you can collect retirement income? You said 60, does that mean, everyone is retired at 60? Does it matter how many years you have worked for? What percentage of your salary is received? Can you supplement your supperannuation with Registered Retirement Savings Plans? I'm not sure if you can answer any of these questions.
    Financial issues play a major factor with my move and i'd like to know about everything before going. Taxes, investments, and superannuation are three primary issues and websites that i'm trying to discover.

    To sum things up in Canada. If you work for 30 years, you receive approximately 65-70% of your best last 5 years salary. On top of that, you can supplement your retirement with your own savings of up to 18% of your salary. So you essentially can have 100% of you last years retirement income for all of your retirement years, if invested properly.


    RE: health insurance coverage.

    Medicare is available to Canadian citizens as part of a reciprocal agreement between our respective governments. This entitles you to free treatment in the public system, a rebate on Dr outpatient visits (including things like radiology and pathology) and subsidised pharmaceuticals through the PBS. If you want to avoid waiting lists and/or be treated in a private hospital, or if you want to receive benefits for things like dental/physio/chiro etc, you would need to take out private health insurance. There's an incentive program where if you are over 30 you pay an extra 2% per year for every year you don't take out private health insurance BUT if you take out insurance within 12 months of arriving from overseas this is waived and you pay at the base rate.

    - So it's the same as Canada.

    RE: taxes.

    The "loopholes" you refer to probably refer to salary packaging. That means that if your employer is QLD Health or a not-for-profit hospital (i.e nearly all of them) you can elect to get things like rent/mortgage payments/credit card payments and a whole bunch of other stuff, up to (I think) $8500 per year taken out of your salary before they calculate the tax payable. So if you earn $50,000, and salary sacrifice $8500, you only pay tax on $41,500. It sounds like a rort, but it's completely above board and legal!

    Your employer will have all the details about this, and will let you know how to sign up when you get here. Some employers (like mine) require that you have a qualified accountant draw up your salary sacrifice agreement, but for about $200 in accountant fees you pay about $2500 less tax per year. Not bad!

    As I said two posts above, any information that would assist with financial matters would assist greatly - ie. tax rates, superannuation and how it works, investments for retirement, etc... Your taxing system is quite different, being that you pay so many cents per dollar, where as ours is broken down into percentage.

    I lived in the western suburbs for years, and still have many friends and relatives there. PM me if you want any help/advice about anything else.

    As I mentioned above, I would be living in Karalee, so my commute would be around that area. Are there any great hospitals or agencies to work for? Can you PM with any details? Gwenith, please, you too! thorough

    Thanks so much for everything. I apologize for all the questions, but i like to be quite thorough before making any large decisions! I wish we had books about living in Oz here in Canada.
  10. by   gwenith
    You do not need to use a migration agent to lodge a visa application. However, if you choose to use a migration agent:
    • outside Australia - we recommend you use an Australian-registered migration agent, if available, or an agent who has been approved to lodge applications over the internet
    • in Australia - only a registered migration agent can be used
    http://www.immi.gov.au/about/charter...harter/4.0.htm

    we have to be careful about the immigration advice given here because I , for one am not a registered immigration agent
  11. by   X-treme
    Can anyone provide answers to my last post?

    Also, how much is rent for an apartment for a 1 bedroom apt?

    I've Pm'd both of you, but have not heard back yet.

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