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You are a doctor and want to move to a country for a better life. What not, New Zealand? A paradise for immigrants that welcomes skilled doctors and need them more than ever. You will know how to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor through this page in the Visa Library. 

What are the requirements to become a doctor in New Zealand? 

These are the general requirements you need to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor; 

English language proficiency 

If English is not your native language or you have not studied in New Zealand or in an English-speaking country, you have to have an English language proficiency certificate. 

There are other cases that exempt you from an English language proficiency certificate. For instance, if you have work experience in a registered medical practitioner in an institution

where English was the first and prime language for at least 2 years. 

There are two approved tests that you can take to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor; 

  • IELTS 
  • OET. 

You need a 7.5 academic IELTS score and a 350 score in OET to become qualified. None of your skills should be below a 7.0 score in the IELTS, and your speaking and listening must be 7.5. 

Having a medical degree 

You must have a medical-related degree to send for recognition. The center or palace you have received your degree could be New Zealand and Australia, or a foreign country. But the certificate must be from an approved medical center. 

Then you must send your documents for evaluation to assess the qualification. 

Complete the qualification procedure

If you have not received your degree in New Zealand or Australia, you must send your documents to New Zealand officials for recognition. They check your documents and certificates to know whether your education is equivalent to a new Zealand in terms of quality and quantity. 

Pass New Zealand Registration  Examination (NZREX Clinical)

What is the self-assessment tool, and what does it do?

The Medical Council of New Zealand has provided a free tool to applicants to assess their situation. It’s a system of questions determining your eligibility and conditions to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor. 

As explained, there are a few questions you answer, and the tool tells you what you have to do. 

You can access the  Medical Council of New Zealand free tool from this link. The range of questions you have to answer to get the results are like this; 

  • The place you have got your degree. 
  • The type of your education. 
  • Whether you have studied in New Zealand or Australia. 
  • If you have passed the qualification process or not. 
  • Have you completed your internship or not? 
  • Etc. 

 Be careful with the answers you give and the available items. 

What is the procedure to follow?

The procedure you have to follow to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor is up to your qualifications, training, experience, and if you want to work for the short term or long term in New Zealand. 

You should know that the process is long and tedious. You have to pass several steps and procedures to become eligible to work in New Zealand as a doctor. 

You have to follow these steps to become a doctor in New Zealand; 

Determine your eligibility by self-assessment tool. 

As explained in the above section, the Medical Council of New Zealand has provided a free tool that helps you figure out if you are eligible to become a doctor in New Zealand or not. 

You can access the tool from the above part and find out about your situation by answering some questions. 

It gives you a roadmap for the stages you have to follow. 

Fitness for registration 

Doctors who want to work in New Zealand must be fit to be eligible. It’s among the requirements, and the officials have the instrument to assess applicants in terms of being healthy and fit to work as a doctor. 

The authorities use these items to determine whether you are fit or not: 

  • You can sean and understand well with patients and co-workers. 
  • Applicants do not suffer from any sort of mental or physical disorder that prevents them from practicing medicine. 
  • Whether you have a clean criminal record and have done illegal offenses, and if yes, it affects practicing medicine or not. 
  • You pose no threat to public health and safety. 
  • You are not under investigation for legal issues in New Zealand and other countries. 

The question and exams by the New Zealand officials determine whether you are fit to work as a doctor or not. 

Meet the English langauge requriemenst. 

Everyone who wants to work as a doctor in New Zealand must fulfill the language proficiency requirements. You are only exempt from these requirements if you are a native English speaker, you have studied in an English-speaking country, or you have work experience in English. 

There are a few other cases that exempt you as well, but if you need the certificate, you must have one of these certificates; 

  • IELTS, 7.5 academic. 
  • OET, 350 scores. 

Statutory declarations and certified copies

New Zealand officials might ask for a Statutory Declaration or a certified copy of your documents. It’s up to your case and their decision. What is a  statutory declaration? It’s a legal document used in the application process, and you make it in front of a verified person of authority. You confirm what you have provided or your documents are true and correct. 

The declaration you make is up to the place you live and your nationality. 

If you live in New Zealand, you have to make the declaration in front of one of these options; 

  • a barrister and solicitor of the High Court
  • a justice of the peace
  • a notary public
  • the Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court
  • the Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal
  • a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the High Court or a District Court.

If you are a national of one of the Commonwealth countries, 

  • a judge
  • a Commissioner of Oaths
  • a notary public
  • a justice of the peace
  • An authorized person by the law to administer an oath for a judicial proceeding. 
  • A solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
  • a Commonwealth representative.

If you are in a non-Commonwealth country, make the declaration in front of:

  • a judge
  • a notary public
  • a solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • a Commonwealth representative.

A certified copy is a copy that has been verified that is a true copy of the original document. New Zealand officials accept a copy verified by one of these options: 

  • a Council staff member
  • a Council-appointed registration agent
  • a justice of the peace
  • a Commissioner of Oaths
  • a notary public
  • a solicitor or barrister of the New Zealand High Court or a District Court
  • a Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court
  • a New Zealand Police officer (Senior Sergeant or above)
  • a Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal.

A recognized primary medical qualification

You must have a medical degree from an approved medical school listed on the World Directory of Medical Schools. The year you received your degree from this medical school is important, and the school must have been on the list in that year. 

Visit the website and insert the following information; 

  • Country 
  • Medical school name 
  • City 
  • Whether you were operational or not. 

The result will tell whether the medical school you attended is on the list or not. 

Attend the registration meeting. 

If it’s the first time you want to practice medicine in New Zealand, you must attend a registration meeting. It often gets called the registration interview. 

After the New Zealand officials have evaluated your documents and decided you are eligible, they will send you an email and send a letter of eligibility for registration. The letter provides you with the information you need to attend the meeting and what you have to bring to the meeting. The meeting is often held in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, or in Auckland, Christchurch, or Dunedin. You can also schedule your meeting at one of the mentioned locations. 

Remember an essential point. Before you attend the meeting, your documents must get verified through the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) service.

This is a list of the documents that you have to bring to the meeting: 

  • Passport. 
  • English language proficiency certificate
  • Name change documents. 
  • Photocopies of your documents. 

Primary source verification. 

Doctors who have studied abroad have their essential documents verified from the primary source. What is the primary source? It is the center that has issued the medical certificate, such as a medical school. They must confirm that the certificate is original and authentic. 

The Medical Council of New Zealand uses the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) service for source verification. The process is like this ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) contacts the medical school where you have received your degree and verify that your degree is original. 

You do not need the source verification If a New Zealand medical school has accredited your medical degree or it was verified at source by MCNZ before 1 November 2017. 

If you ask when you have to send your documents for verification, it must have been completed before your registration meeting. You must send your document to EPIC before you send your documents to the New Zealand officials for registration. 

The documents you have to submit depend on whether you want to apply for registration, to sit the NZREX Clinical, and the registration paths. 

Certificate of professional status (COPS).

This is a certificate that indicates the doctor is in good standing. This is an essential stage, and officials can not register you until they have received the COPS. 

You need a COPS from every regulatory authority you have practiced in the last 5 years. The regulatory authority must email the COPS directly to New Zealand officials at “cgs@mcnz.org.nz.”. Officials will not accept forwarded copies. 

Remember an essential point. There might be different names for COPS, and these are the names often sued for it; 

  • certificates of current professional status
  • license verifications
  • certificates of good standing (COGS)
  • certificates of registration status (CORS)
  • certificates of professional conduct (COPC).

If the regulatory authority issues a hard copy of the COPS, they should send the hard copy to this post address; 

Medical Council of New Zealand

PO Box 10509

The Terrace

Wellington 6143

New Zealand

If the regulatory authority issues the hard copy of COPS to you, you have to bring it with you to the registration meeting.

New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX Clinical)

Every doctor who wants to work in New Zealand must pass the NZREX exam. The result determines that you can work as a doctor in New Zealand. 

Remember that not everyone can apply to take the NZREX exam. You must be qualified, and there is no exception; 

  • Have primary qualification.
  • Meet the English language requirement. 
  • Do not hold Aotearoa New Zealand registration within the special purpose postgraduate training scope of practice.
  • Have passed one of these exams;
    • Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test Part 1 
    • Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I 
    • Australian Medical Council MCQ 
    • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1 and 2 (Clinical Knowledge) 

You can take the NZREX exam several times, but you must meet the requirements. The Medical Council of New Zealand recommends that you take at least one year of postgraduate experience as a doctor. You take it in your home country to prepare better for the exam. It is not a requirement, but the experience will prepare you for the exam. 

How should you apply for NZREX Clinical?

You have to apply through the email address and send your documents and the appropriate application form. Also, you need a photo of yourself, and you have to verify that it has been taken in the past four months. This is the email address that you have to send your documents to it: “examinations@mcnz.org.nz.”

The point we need to repeat here is that your primary medical degree and prerequisite examination results must be primary source verified through EPIC. You have to complete the verification before sitting for the exam. 

Also, the council verifies your English language test results with the organization that issued it, whether IELTS or OET.

After you apply for the exam, the New Zealand officials will send you an email and inform you that they have received the documents. They will also send an explanation to pay the application fee, which is up to your conditions. You have to pay the fee then the officials will process your application. The fee is non-refundable and if you do not qualify for the exam, the fee will not be refunded. 

It takes up to 20 days for the Council to work on your application and decides on it. If one piece of document is missing or they need further supporting documents, they will inform you to submit them. 

When the processing is over, they will inform you to follow the next steps. 

These are the forms that you have to download, complete, and send to the Council; 

The council evaluates your medical knowledge and clinical skills. During the exam, you might have to take a: 

  • a focused history, 
  • present a preferred diagnosis, 
  • management plan 
  • investigations.

If you are asking how to prepare for the exam, the Council has provided a handbook and a sample of questions. You can use them to prepare yourself for the exam;

Where is the location of the NZREX exam? It is held in “Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand.” you have to make arrangements to enter New Zealand and pass the exam. If you are not among the visa-wived countries, you need a visitor visa to enter the country and take the exam. You can submit the proof of registration to prove to enter to take the exam. 

You will receive the exam result in 10 working days through your email address. If you pass the exam, congratulations, and you can follow the next steps. If you fail, the Council will provide some feedback so you can prepare yourself for the next time and pass it. 

If you object to the results, you can ask Council to recount the test results. But you have to pay the fee for a recount. 

When you pass the test, the Council sends you the information you need to register as a doctor in New Zealand. 

Job offer and work permit 

At this stage, you need to find a job offer with an employer in New Zealand. You have to take 2  years of postgraduate training with an accredited training provider; 

  • postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) 
  • postgraduate year 2 (PGY2).

The training requirement is for every applicant, whether you have studied in New Zealand, Australia, and abroad. The Medical Council of New Zealand ensures that doctors get the required experience and knowledge to practice medicine in New Zealand. 

Look at the below section to find out more information on how to find a job in New Zealand as a doctor. 

The type of Registration pathways. 

There are three types of registration that you need to complete the stages with one of them by your conditions. These pathways are called scopes: 

Vocational scope. 

This scope is for resident doctors, resident medical officers (RMO), and doctors undergoing vocational training.

  • VOC1 Vocational (specialist) registration
  • VOC2 Vocational (specialist) registration
  • VOC3 Vocational (specialist) registration
  • Provisional vocational registration

General scope. 

This stream is for permanent specialist registration. It permits you to work independently as a doctor or medical practitioner in New Zealand. 

  • New Zealand and Australian graduates
  • New Zealand and Australian graduates (internship completed).
  • NZREX Clinical graduates
  • UK and Irish medical graduates.
  • Comparable health system.
  • Australian general registrants.

Special purpose scope 

This is a temporary form of registration. When you want to work in New Zealand for a specific purpose, you need to register through this stream. The purposes could be like: 

  • Locum tenens
  • Teleradiology
  • Visiting expert
  • Postgraduate training
  • Research.
  • Other special purposes 

You need to check each stream and determine which one is appropriate for you. The Medical Council of New Zealand has the names and subcategories of each scope so you can register yourself in them. 

How to find a job in New Zealand?

There are various ways you can find a job in New Zealand as a doctor. The below ways are these ways, and you can use one of them. The choice is yours and is up to your conditions. You can use one, two, or all of them; 

On your own 

Some websites that advertise job positions in New Zealand. Here is a list of them; 

This list is to find general jobs in New Zealand 

  • Careers.govt.nz
  • Seek.co.nz
  • Trademe.co.nz 
  • Albany Executive Recruitment.
  • Alignz Recruitment
  • Coverstaff Recruitment.
  • Cultivate.
  • Freestyla.
  • Function Staff.
  • Hirestaff.
  • Pipevision.
  • Source HR.
  • Suppremo Hospitality Solutions.
  • The Labour Exchange Ltd.

This site is to find jobs in the medical section: 

  • Kiwihealthjobs.com
  • Science New Zealand

Recruitment agency. 

There are recruitment agencies that you can get a job through them. They know employers and send resumes or search on your behalf. They help you find a job and have a fee or paying policy for finding a job for you. 

This is a list of employment agencies you can get help from; 

  • STAT Recruitment.
  • Head Medical.
  • Origin Medical Recruitment.
  • NZDr. 

Doctor’s salaries in New Zealand 

Your salary in New Zealand is up to several factors; 

  • Work experience 
  • Expertise 
  • Knowledge. 
  • Field of work 
  • The company you work with. 
  • Position. 
  • Etc.  

According to Jobted, a doctor’s salary is about NZ$152,900 per year. This source says that the range of salary for doctors is NZ$71,304 to NZ$600,000. This is while experienced doctors with plus 20 years of work experience can earn about NZ$350K. 

According to the Glassdoor website, a doctor’s salary is about NZ$136,000. The average salary is about NZ$126,000 per year to the mentioned source. 

According to Salary explorer, the average salary of a doctor or Physician in New Zealand is around 229,000 NZD per year. This source indicates that the salary begins from 83,900 NZD and goes up to 386,000 NZD, which is the highest salary.

Infographic Immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor

Best cities to live and work in New Zealand.

The place you want to choose to live and work in New Zealand is varied and up to several factors. But besides the major large cities, you can also find small, quiet, and less developed cities where people choose to live and work. 

Take a look at this list of cities. They are the most popular destinations for people moving to New Zealand.

You can research them and learn more information to know which one is appropriate for you. Also, you can look at Google Maps to see the hospitals and medical centers in each one of them. You can also find information about the list of medical centers by googling the name of the city. 

Remember that you have to find a job offer after passing the registration and passing the exam. So, the place to live might not be with you for the first few years. But, there could be a chance to find a job offer in the city you want. 

  • Tauranga
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland
  • Queenstown & Wanaka
  • Wellington
  • Napier & Hastings
  • Rotorua
  • Hamilton
  • Nelson
  • Dunedin

One useful way to choose a place to live is to set your priorities. Determine what is important to you; 

  • Population 
  • Job market. 
  • Size of the city. 
  • The majority of people. 
  • Accent. 
  • Distance by the sea. 
  • Climate. 
  • Weather conditions. 
  • Etc. 

After determining your priorities, see which city has most of the items you want. 

Immigration to New Zealand as a doctor benefits.

Among many options for your future, you have picked New Zealand, and you already know there are many benefits. You have searched, found this page, and scrolled up until this part. Deep in your heart, you know that you can build your future in this beautiful country. 

This section tells you the many benefits of immigrating to New Zealand as a doctor. You will be convinced that it’s a perfect option to build the future you deserve. 

High quality of Life. 

New Zealand is unspoiled to a large extent, and nature and the environment is preserved. The beautiful jungle and coasts have created a miracle of nature. People live, work, and enjoy life at the same time. 

New Zealand gest a high score In international quality-of-life surveys. The country has made a name in its beauty and nature. It’s no surprise that Peter Jackson’s team chose New Zealand to record the Lord of the Rings here. Bilbo’s house is located in New Zealand, and we still remember the beautiful scenery of the Shire. 

New Zealand is among the first top three choices for ex-pats, international students, and skilled workers. Also, it was one of the first countries to return to normal conditions after the Covid-19 pandemic. The government was able to manage the situation very well compared to western countries. 

Huge Employment Opportunities.

Like every other country in the world, New Zealand is trying to increase the staff in its healthcare system. So it is with doctors; the county needs more skilled doctors and is paving the way to attract more of them. 

Besides the large cities, provincial areas that are a 2-4-hour drive away from major cities are also attracting skilled workers. The quality of life is high in these areas, and you will have a good life there. 

Great healthcare system.  

The healthcare system in New Zealand is among the top ones, and its efficiency is in the public and private sectors. Doctors are well-paid and protected by strong laws and government. There is a good work-life balance, and doctors don’t have to suffer pressure and work for long hours. 

The great education system for children and the opportunity to continue your education and get another expertise is available. The housing is affordable, and transport is efficient. 

The tax system is favorable compared to other countries and Australia. 

Friendly people. 

You won’t feel that you are in a foreign country in New Zealand. People are friendly and nice to guests and foreign visitors, and most of the population is made of foreign people. 

The culture is respecting different people and generosity toward each other. 

There is a relaxed opinion mindset of living that is dominant in the country. Forget being in a rush and the New Tork lifestyle. This is a place to cool down and do things in a relaxed way. 

Do you need IELTS to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor?

The answer is yes. You need language proficiency to work as a doctor in New Zealand, and IELTS and OET are the accepted tests. The choice is with you to take which one of them.  But you have to meet the required scores. You need to take the academic IELTS and get a 7.5 score and 350 in OET. 

There is a requirement with each skill that you must fulfill as well. 

How long does it take to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor?

The answer is up to your conditions and the procedure you follow to become a doctor in New Zealand. A person who has studied in New Zealand or Australia needs less time than a person who has got his/her degree from the Middle East. 

The recognition process and evaluation of documents are long and tedious, and you might have to wait a few years to pass them. 

Part of the processing time is up to you; how long you need to get the language proficiency test and pass the exams. But part of the required time is out of your control, and you have to wait for the Medical Council of New Zealand’s decision and evaluation. But 2-3 years is expected. 

Are doctors in demand in New Zealand?

The answer is yes. All countries that are famous for attracting ex-pats and immigrants are welcoming skilled workers more than ever; the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the US. For instance, Germany grants permanent residency after three years to foreign people, and it is to encourage skilled workers to the country. 

Every country is planning to attract skilled workers, and it is true with doctors. There was a demand for doctors in New Zealand before the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has intensified after it. This is because countries want to prepare themselves for the next pandemic in terms of doctors and healthcare staff. 

Can foreign doctors work in New Zealand?

Yes, foreign doctors can work in New Zealand as long as they pass the recognition process and evaluation of documents, then get the license. 

It is necessary for nurses to get approval from the government. Then they have to apply for a job offer and work visa and pass the two years of training or residency. 

Is it easy to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor?

The answer could be yes or no. The process of immigration to New Zealand as a doctor is long and tedious. You might have to wait for a few years to pass the process, get your documents evaluated, and pass the exams. Also, it could be hard for people to get an academic 7.5 IELTS score. 

But the process is worth it, and a great life awaits you there. If you are determined to become a doctor in New Zealand, the hardship is just an obstacle to pass.

Let’s sum up…

The Visa Library team brought you how you can immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor through this article. 

The recognition process and the stages you have to follow got explained. Also, you got answers to some of the FAQs you might have along the way. This is a helpful guide to immigrating to New Zealand as a doctor. 

If you have questions, write them down in the comment section. The Visa Library team will answer them. 

Frequently asked questions about moving to New Zealand as a doctor

Are doctors in demand in New Zealand?

Yes, and it has intensified after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

How long does it take to immigrate to New Zealand as a doctor?

It could take up to 2-3 years, but it’s much up to your conditions. 

Can foreign doctors work in New Zealand?

Yes, if they pass the recognition and get the license from the Medical Council.

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