The healthcare system in New Zealand is renowned for its high standards of care, and it provides a friendly environment for medical professionals. This blog will walk you through the procedure and inform you how to immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon, giving you useful details on visa necessities, employment opportunities, and the advantages of pursuing a surgical career here.

Healthcare System in New Zealand

All citizens of New Zealand have access to the country’s highly regarded, publicly funded healthcare system. The system offers top-notch healthcare and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling surgeons to provide the best results for their patients. You will have the chance to collaborate with highly skilled professionals and help the healthcare system continue to advance in New Zealand as a surgeon.

Types of Surgeons in Demand in New Zealand

  • Orthopedic Surgeons
  • General Surgeons
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeons
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Plastic Surgeons
  • Urologists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) Surgeons
  • Gynecologists/Gynecological Surgeons
  • Pediatric Surgeons

Job Opportunities for Surgeons in New Zealand

A lack of qualified surgeons in New Zealand has created a good job market for qualified individuals. The nation provides a range of opportunities in hospitals, clinics, and surgical facilities that are both public and private. Regional areas have a particularly high need for surgeons, allowing them to work in beautiful settings while impacting their communities.

Requirements to Immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon

To immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon, you must meet certain requirements and undergo specific immigration processes.

Here are the general guidelines to immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon:

  • Qualifications. You must hold a legitimate medical degree from an accredited university. You should also possess a postgraduate degree in surgery and have completed specialist training in surgery in your home country.
  • Registration. To practice, you must have an active, unrestricted license and be registered as a surgeon in your country of residence. It’s important to remember that the New Zealand Medical Council will evaluate your credentials and might ask you to take additional exams or assessments to make sure your abilities meet regional standards.
  • Medical Council assessment. The Medical Council of New Zealand will evaluate your education, professional background, and soft skills. They will determine your eligibility to practice surgery in New Zealand. An interview, a review of your education and work history, and reference checks may all be a part of this evaluation.
  • English language proficiency. You must prove that you passed an accepted English language test to prove your command of the language. Although IELTS is widely used, there might be other recognized substitutes. It is best to check with the New Zealand Medical Council or immigration authorities for the most recent requirements, as the precise score requirements may change.
  • Medical and police checks. You will be required to go through medical exams as part of the immigration process to make sure you meet the health requirements. Additionally, you will be required to present police clearance documents from your home country and any other nation you have resided in for more than a year in the past ten years.
  • Visa application. You can apply for a visa after receiving a job offer and passing the required tests. The appropriate visa category for skilled workers like surgeons is typically the Work to Residence or Skilled Migrant visa. For the most recent information, it’s important to check the New Zealand immigration website or seek professional advice. The specific visa category and requirements may change.

How to Immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon?

To immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon, you must follow certain steps and meet specific requirements. Here is a general outline of the immigration process:

Step 1. Assess Your Eligibility

Check first if you meet the fundamental requirements for immigration to New Zealand. Verify that your credentials, abilities, and experience meet the standards established by the New Zealand Medical Council and the immigration authorities.

Step 2. Register with the New Zealand Medical Council

To immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon, get in touch with the New Zealand Medical Council. To ascertain your suitability for employment as a surgeon in New Zealand, they will evaluate your credentials, experience, and abilities. This could entail a reference check, an interview, and a review of your credentials.

Step 3. Search for a Job

In New Zealand, look for employment opportunities. You can look for job openings through online job portals, medical recruitment firms, or direct contact with New Zealand hospitals and medical institutions. Get a job offer from a New Zealand employer who can prove they need your experience and skill set.

Step 4. Apply for a Work Visa

You can apply for a work visa once you receive a job offer. For skilled workers like surgeons, the Work to Residence or Skilled Migrant visa category is usually the best choice. For the most recent information on visa categories and requirements, visit the New Zealand immigration website. Send your work visa application along with the necessary paperwork, including your job offer, credentials, and results of any necessary medical exams.

Step 5. Acquire English Language Proficiency

As mentioned, to immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon, you must provide documents that you passed an accepted English language test like IELTS.

Step 6. Medical and Police Checks

To meet the health requirements of New Zealand, submit to medical exams. Additionally, you will be required to present police clearance certificates from your home country and any other nations you have resided in for more than a year in the previous ten years.

Step 7. Wait for Visa Approval

Wait for the New Zealand immigration authorities to decide after submitting your visa application. Be patient during this phase, as the processing time may vary. You will be given permission to travel to New Zealand and practice surgery once your visa is approved.

How to Assess Your Eligibility to Immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon?

You must evaluate your credentials, competencies, and experience to see if you are qualified to immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon. The New Zealand Medical Council will examine your credentials to ensure they comply with regional requirements. Here is how the procedure usually goes:

Step 1. Qualifications Assessment

Give the New Zealand Medical Council specific details about your medical degree, postgraduate credentials, and surgical specialty training. These credentials will be examined to see if they meet New Zealand standards.

Step 2. English Language Proficiency

As mentioned, you can demonstrate your command of the language by providing documents that you passed an accepted English language test like IELTS.

Step 3. Assessment of Skills and Experience

The New Zealand Medical Council will assess your surgical training and experience. This may entail examining your surgical experience, evaluating your clinical expertise, and confirming the references of coworkers and superiors.

How to Find Surgeon Jobs in New Zealand?

Here are various methods to find jobs to immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon:

  • Use online job portals like Seek, Trade Me, and Kiwi Health Jobs.
  • Contact medical recruitment agencies like MedRecruit and Odyssey Recruitment.
  • Reach out directly to hospitals and medical institutions.
  • Network with professionals in the field and attend relevant events.
  • Join professional associations such as the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
  • Utilize social media platforms and online communities.
  • Consider locum or temporary positions to gain experience.
  • Tailor your CV and cover letter for each application.
  • Stay proactive, regularly check job listings, and follow up on applications.

How to Register with the New Zealand Medical Council and Get a License?

To immigrate to New Zealand as a surgeon and obtain a license to practice, you must follow the process outlined by the Medical Council of New Zealand. Here’s a general overview of how to get a license:

Step 1. Assess Your Eligibility

Make sure you meet the requirements established by the Medical Council of New Zealand before applying for a license. Having a legitimate medical degree, finishing surgery specialty training, and meeting English language proficiency requirements are typical requirements.

Step 2. Submit an Application

Start by completing the Medical Council of New Zealand’s application form. Assemble all the required supporting documentation, such as copies of your medical license, proof of your specialist training, proof of your English language ability, and reference letters.

Step 3. Assessment of Qualifications

The Medical Council will evaluate your credentials to ensure they meet New Zealand standards. Your medical degree, specialized training, and relevant work experience may need to be verified. The evaluation aims to establish whether your credentials are comparable to those needed to work as a surgeon in New Zealand.

Step 4. English Language Proficiency

By submitting documentation of your success on an accepted English language test, you can prove your proficiency in the language.

Step 5. Interviews and Examinations

The Medical Council may require you to take particular exams or attend an interview depending on how your credentials are evaluated. These tests assess your surgical knowledge, abilities, and clinical competencies.

Step 6. Registration Decision

The Medical Council will decide regarding your registration after reviewing your application, any supporting documents, and additional evaluations. If accepted, you will be permitted to register as a surgeon in New Zealand. As part of your registration, the council may impose any conditions or demands you must meet.

Step 7. Annual Practicing Certificate (APC)

To legally practice as a surgeon in New Zealand after being granted registration, you must obtain an Annual Practicing Certificate (APC). You must fulfill specific requirements for continuing professional development (CPD) to renew your APC annually.

Working Conditions for Surgeons in New Zealand

In New Zealand, surgeons typically operate in a professional and well-governed setting. The following are some significant aspects of the working conditions for surgeons:

  • Work settings. In New Zealand, surgeons can work in various facilities, including clinics, private practices, and public and private hospitals. Depending on specialization, employment opportunities, and personal preferences, the choice of work environment may vary.
  • Working times. A surgeon’s working hours may change depending on the particular job and specialty. They frequently put in long and erratic hours, including on-call shifts, weekends, and evenings. Flexible thinking and the capacity to react quickly to patient needs may be necessary during emergencies and surgical procedures.
  • Team collaboration. Surgeons work closely with other medical specialists like anesthesiologists, nurses, radiologists, and support personnel. Coordinated patient care and successful surgical outcomes depend on effective teamwork and communication.
  • Patient load and case complexity. In New Zealand, surgeons may deal with many patient cases, from simple to complicated surgical procedures. The workload may change depending on the surgical specialty, patient demand, and hospital resources.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Surgeons are urged to participate in ongoing professional development activities to stay informed about the most recent developments in their field. This may entail participating in conferences, workshops, and educational programs to enhance their knowledge and abilities.
  • Technological progress. New Zealand surgeons have access to cutting-edge medical technology and equipment, allowing them to carry out operations precisely and effectively. To give patients the best possible care, staying current on new surgical methods and technologies is critical.
  • Work-Life balance. Even though being a surgeon can have high demands, finding a work-life balance is crucial for overall health. New Zealand’s culture strongly emphasizes finding a work-life balance, and there are initiatives in place to assist doctors in leading healthy lives.

Settling in New Zealand

After you immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon, there are a number of crucial actions you must take after your arrival to adjust to your new life. These include locating appropriate housing, enrolling children in school, acquiring required licenses or permits, and becoming acquainted with the community’s healthcare system. Connecting with the surgical community and looking into opportunities for cooperation and professional advancement is also crucial.

Best Cities in New Zealand for Foreign Surgeons

Here are some cities in New Zealand that are known for offering good opportunities for surgeons:

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Hamilton
  • Dunedin
  • Tauranga
  • Palmerston North
  • Napier-Hastings
  • Nelson
  • New Plymouth

How Much is the Salary of Surgeons in New Zealand in 2023?

In New Zealand, a surgeon typically makes around 313,000 NZD per year. The salary ranges from 150,000 to 492,000 New Zealand Dollars. 

  • With less than two years of experience, surgeons can expect to make about 176,000 NZD annually.
  • A surgeon with two to five years of experience is predicted to make 250,000 NZD.
  • A surgeon with five to ten years of experience earns 328,000 NZD annually.
  • Professional surgeons with ten to fifteen years of experience earn a salary of 403,000 New Zealand dollars.
  • The anticipated salary is 429,000 New Zealand Dollars for those with fifteen to twenty years of experience.
  • A surgeon earning 470,000 NZD annually has over twenty years of professional experience.

However, depending on seniority, hours, location, and on-call or emergency cover frequency, surgeons’ and registrars’ pay varies.

  • A district health board (DHB) registrar’s annual salary ranges from $81,000 to $192,000. This will increase from $86,000 to $197,000 in 2023.
  • The typical salary range for qualified surgeons working for a DHB is between $164,000 and $244,000.

Note: Private sector surgeons may make more money than this.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Surgeon: Let’s Recap

As a surgeon, moving to New Zealand presents a special chance to advance your career in a friendly and encouraging setting. For skilled surgeons looking for new opportunities, the nation’s flourishing healthcare industry, breathtaking natural scenery, and high standard of living make it an appealing destination.

You can take the necessary actions to turn your dreams of becoming a surgeon into reality by being aware of the immigration procedure, employment opportunities, and advantages of living and working in New Zealand.


Can I bring my family when immigrating to New Zealand as a surgeon?

You are welcome to bring your family along. Families of skilled immigrants have various visa options available in New Zealand.

Is it easy to obtain permanent residency as a surgeon in New Zealand?

Obtaining permanent residency may take time and effort, but New Zealand has a welcoming immigration policy for qualified professionals, increasing your chances.

How long does it take to complete the recognition process for overseas qualifications??

It is advisable to start the process as soon as possible because the Medical Council of New Zealand’s recognition of overseas qualifications can take several months.

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