Pharmacist Pathway To Australia

Pharmacist Pathway To Australia

Exclusive Australian Immigration News, Updates & Opportunities

Please note, unfortunately the occupation of pharmacist has been removed from the Australian skilled shortage list (SSL) subclass 189. This means that pharmacists are no longer eligible to apply for a permanent skilled visa under subclass 189.

If you are a pharmacist who is considering moving to Australia, you may still be eligible to apply for a permanent skilled visa under another subclass, including:

  1. The Skilled Nominated (permanent) visa (subclass 190), and
  2. The Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 491).

*Note, Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) is a provisional visa, but has a pathway to permanent residence in Australia via the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, subject to meeting specified requirements.

*One of the benefits of applying for Skilled Nominated (permanent) visa (subclass 190) is that you will be granted an additional 5 points.

*One of the benefits of applying for Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) is that you will be granted an additional 15 points.

For further information on both of these visa subclasses, please view the AUSTRALIAN STATE GOVERNMENT section of this months bulletin. 

To be able to apply for a permanent residency visa, you are required to have a skills assessment. For registered pharmacists, the skills assessing authority is the Australian Pharmacy Council.

This pathway shows you how to apply for a Skills Assessment letter that you can use to register and work as a pharmacist in Australia. It applies if you completed your pharmacy qualification in any country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK or the USA.

You’ll need this letter to:


This process applies if you completed an approved* pharmacy qualification in any country that is not:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom (UK), OR
  • United States of America (USA)

*An approved qualification must be recognised by the pharmacy regulator in the country of qualification.

The qualification must also be the equivalent of either:

  • 4 years’ full-time academic study, if completed after 1 January 2006, OR
  • 3 years’ full-time academic study, if completed before 1 January 2006

Besides holding a pharmacy qualification, you must also be either:

  • registered as a pharmacist in the country where you graduated, OR
  • eligible to register as a pharmacist in that country, OR
  • eligible to start the registration process in that country

If any of the above criteria are not true for you, this pathway does not apply to you. See Skills assessments.

Skills Assessment structure

The process for requesting a Skills Assessment letter has 2 parts:

  1. passing the initial eligibility check
  2. passing the KAPS (Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences) examination

There is no expiry on the initial eligibility check.

Time frames

  • Processing time for the eligibility check: 8 weeks
  • Key dates for exams: see Exam dates and centres
  • Processing time for KAPS exam results: 4 weeks

If you leave out any documents or provide incorrect information when you apply, the eligibility check will take longer.


When you apply for a Skills Assessment letter eligibility check, you need to include scans of your:

  • proof of identity
  • academic qualifications
  • registration status
  • work history

You do not need to:

  • have any documents certified
  • show proof of English competency

If you leave out any documents or provide incorrect information, the process will take longer than usual.


Step 1: Apply for eligibility check

Step 2: Register for the KAPS exam

Step 3: Sit the exam

Step 4: Wait to hear back from the Australian Pharmacy Council

Next steps
Once you have a Skills Assessment letter from the Australian Pharmacy Council, you can:

The Department of Home Affairs sets the validity period for your Skills Assessment letter for visa applications. Contact them to check how long it will be valid.

If something significant changes after the Australian Pharmacy Council issues your Skills Assessment letter, you can ask them for an updated Skills Assessment.

How to Apply for your Skills Assessment

• You may obtain further information on how to apply for your ‘Skills Assessment’ via simply clicking on the blue links located on ‘page 8 and 9’ of the APPLICATION GUIDE’ (located in Step 4).