How to immigrate as a pharmacist to Australia in 2023

Learn how to immigrate to Australia as a pharmacist in 2023. Discover the requirements, registration process, and steps to obtain permanent residency.

How to immigrate as a pharmacist to Australia in 2023

Australia is currently experiencing a shortage of pharmacists, which presents a great opportunity for foreign pharmacists to pursue a lucrative career in the country. Moreover, after three years of practice, foreign pharmacists have the chance to obtain permanent residency. In this article, we will provide detailed instructions on how to immigrate to Australia as a pharmacist in 2023.

Register with the Australian Pharmacy Board

To begin the immigration process, foreign pharmacists need to become members of the Australian Pharmacy Board. This requires registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and, in some cases, submission of an international criminal history check. Registration must be completed before the criminal history check expires, as it is valid for three months.

Apply for a Subclass 494 Visa

Foreign pharmacists can move to Australia through the Regional (Provisional) Sponsored Visa subclass 494, which offers a path to permanent residency. To qualify, pharmacists must secure employment with a company approved by the regional certifying body in the designated region. The following criteria must also be met:

  • The employer must be located in an approved regional area (excluding Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne).
  • The position must be full-time and expected to be available for three years, allowing the applicant to apply for a 191 Visa for permanent residency.
  • The occupation of a retail pharmacist must be on the current list of eligible occupations.
  • Applicants must be under 45 years old, have at least three years of full-time relevant work experience, and demonstrate English proficiency (IELTS 6.0) before applying.
  • It's important to note that the registration process and visa application should be pursued simultaneously, as success in one does not guarantee success in the other.

Obtain Certification from the Australian Pharmacy Council

The Australian Pharmacy Council processes applications through either the knowledge or competency streams. For the knowledge stream, candidates who obtained their pharmacy degree in a country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, or the US are eligible. They must complete an internship based on recognized program guidelines and pass the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) exam.

Candidates who earned their pharmacy degree in Canada, Ireland, the UK, or the US, as well as those currently enrolled in these countries, can apply through the competency stream. They must pass the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) Examination and an eligibility test. Both streams require payment of the respective examination and test fees.

Complete the Supervised Practice Phase

Once all the above requirements are fulfilled, candidates can proceed to complete their supervised practice in Australia under the guidance of their new employer, who will assign a preceptor. Candidates in both the competency and knowledge streams can take a registration assessment administered by the Pharmacy Board after completing 75% of the required practice hours. This assessment evaluates a candidate's understanding of pharmacy law and ethics through oral and written exams.

After fulfilling the necessary supervised practice hours, candidates can obtain general registration as pharmacists and officially immigrate to Australia.

Application Procedure for Permanent Residency

After meeting all the necessary requirements, pharmacists can apply for a Skilled Regional 191 Permanent Residency Visa. While the 494 Visa is valid for five years, interested pharmacists can apply for permanent residency after three years. This visa allows pharmacists to live and work permanently in Australia, apply for citizenship, and sponsor family members for immigration.


Foreign pharmacists have the opportunity to immigrate to Australia and pursue a successful career by following the outlined steps. It's essential to meet the registration, certification, and supervised practice requirements before applying for permanent residency. Australia offers a rewarding environment for pharmacists, with attractive salaries, excellent benefits, and ample room for career growth.


1. Are pharmacists eligible for permanent residency in Australia?

Yes, after three years of approved practice under the 494 Visa, pharmacists can apply for permanent residency. They can also apply for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491), which allows them to live, work, and study in designated regional areas for five years.

2. Does Australia have a demand for pharmacists?

Yes, due to increased demand, the employment rate for pharmacists in Australia is currently 95.2%.

3. Is Australia a favorable country for pharmacists?

Australia provides excellent opportunities for pharmacists, with an average annual salary of $88,843. The profession offers additional incentives, making it one of the top countries to practice pharmacy.

4. What can pharmacists expect in Australia?

Working as a pharmacist in Australia is rewarding, offering good pay, attractive benefits, and a challenging career. With an aging population and the growing need for healthcare, the profession has significant potential for expansion.

5. Which countries are ideal for pharmacist immigration?

The best countries for pharmacist immigration depend on personal preferences and priorities. If financial aspects are the main motivator, countries like the US, Australia, or Switzerland might be ideal choices. Other countries known for pharmacist immigration include Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Singapore, and Australia.

6. What is a pharmacist called in Australia?

In Australia, the term "chemist" is commonly used to refer to a pharmacist and a pharmacy is referred to as a "chemist's shop."

7. Is the pharmacy exam challenging?

The pharmacy exam, such as the PTCB exam, can be challenging. Preparation is crucial for success, and studying in advance can significantly impact the final results. While the exam may include challenging questions, thorough preparation increases the chances of a favorable outcome.

8. Why are many pharmacists leaving their jobs?

Several factors contribute to pharmacists leaving their jobs, including worsening working conditions, a saturated job market, and a lack of a unified approach in the industry. Many pharmacists express dissatisfaction with their profession and feel that corporate influence prioritizes quantity over quality patient care.

9. Who is eligible for KAPS?

Candidates eligible for the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) must have completed a 4-year full-time pharmacy program recognized in their home country. They should also be registered as pharmacists or eligible for registration in their respective countries.

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