Im a UK nurse working in Sydney for the second time in 2 years and absolutly loving it. Easy and quick processing to get here and no exam to take. If you are UK trained then your qualification is recognised so its just a matter of getting all the paperwork together.
There really is no need to go via an agency, most hospitals will offer sponsorship. First you need to register with the NMB (if you want to work in NSW), heres a link to their site which outlines what you need to do:
That took the longest for me, around 8 weeks. After that call up hospitals and see if they would be willing to sponsor you. Then apply to DIMA:
Under 457 employeee sponsered visa (which can be complted online). That took 4 weeks for approval. It allows you to work in Oz for up to 4 years, but if you want to stay longer, its just a formality once you are there to apply for permanent residency. Nurses are on the priority workers list so it really is that easy and not particularly costly either. My main expense was getting all my certificates notorised. The actual fees are negligible. One tip, as soon as you get there, open a bank account, all you need is your passport, but after 6 weeks it gets way more complicated.
My salary is around the same as I got in the UK, they pay very much depending on how many years experience you have, overall we have slightly less free money but the lifesytle makes up for that.
Australia's health system offers a comprehensive range of public and privately funded health services. You can choose whether to have Medicare only:
or a combination of Medicare and private health insurance. Medicare, the Australian Government health scheme, provides help with basic medical expenses like free treatment in public hospitals, and free or subsidized treatment by general practitioners and some specialists.
All permanent residents are eligible to join Medicare, with restricted access granted to citizens of certain countries which have a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia. (Which the UK does).
To enrol in Medicare you should wait approximately seven days after your arrival and then go to any Medicare office (listed in the telephone book) with your passport or travel documents. If all enrolment requirements are met, you will receive your Medicare card with your number, in the post.
Good luck and let me know if you want any more info.