Recruitment | Ko Te Rehita

International Doctors
Why you should work in New Zealand as a health practitioner

If you’re an international doctor looking to move to New Zealand, our NZLocums & NZMedJobs team can help find you a job and make your move here as easy as possible.

Our team offers locum, long-term and permanent positions in rural and urban locations throughout New Zealand.

Aotearoa New Zealand is a unique and diverse country, with a rich history that dates back to the courageous Māori voyagers who discovered our beautiful land. New Zealanders, or Kiwis as we call ourselves, are friendly and down-to-earth and we welcome visitors with open arms. We are proud of our history, our unique culture, our incredible landscapes and our native plants and animals.

Primary Health Care in New Zealand

Primary health care in New Zealand is delivered predominantly by medical practitioners in private general practices. Other providers include public health organisations, trusts, and groups working together with their communities.

Rural general practices range from sole practitioner practices to larger practices sometimes with up to six or seven General Practitioners. The practice team includes nurse practitioners, rural nurse specialists, receptionists and allied health workers. There are about 200 rural general (family) practices in New Zealand.

Māori Health

Increasing access, achieving equity and improving health outcomes for Māori is a key priority for Hauora Taiwhenua, Te Whatu Ora Health NZ and the Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority.

He Korowai Oranga (New Zealand’s Māori Health Strategy) is based on three key principles, Partnership, Participation, and Protection, which incorporate principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and an understanding that Māori will have an important role in implementing health for Māori.

There are about 240 Māori health providers in New Zealand. They tend to deliver services to predominantly – but not exclusively – Māori clients. In addition, there are a number of providers of health and disability services to Māori.

What do you need to know about moving to New Zealand?


If you are arriving in New Zealand from overseas it is highly likely that you will require a work permit or visa to work in the country.

Visit Immigration New Zealand (INZ) for more information.

Medical Indemnity (Malpractice) Insurance 

GPs working in New Zealand are required to hold appropriate medical indemnity insurance.


Your New Zealand income tax obligations will depend on your individual circumstances. We strongly recommend you obtain independent tax advice from a professional accountant regarding your personal tax situation.

If you are working as a roving locum through NZLocums & NZMedJobs you will be engaged as an independent contractor, whereas if you are contracted directly to the practice you may be either an employee or an independent contractor depending on the terms of your agreement.

The New Zealand tax department is called the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and all information, forms and enquiries can be found online at During your NZLocums & NZMedJobs Orientation course we arrange for you to speak with an IRD employee to discuss tax in New Zealand and how it will affect you personally. There is a dedicated team at IRD that deals with Non-Resident Contractors which you can contact to apply for tax exemption.

Medical Registration

To work in New Zealand as a doctor you need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). The registration process is straight forward, and usually doctors who have qualified and worked in countries with comparable health systems are not required to sit any exams to gain registration with the MCNZ.

There are four types of pathways to gain registration in New Zealand, with each requiring different criteria. NZLocums & NZMedJobs will determine the best pathway to registration (licensure) for you and discuss the requirements with you. If you have been working in any of these countries for 33 (or more) months out of the last 48 months, it is likely you will be eligible to apply for MCNZ registration.

In addition to obtaining a primary medical degree, graduates of Australian, British and Irish medical schools must have successfully completed an accredited internship in their respective authorities prior to apply for registration in New Zealand.

For those doctors who have not worked in the listed countries you may be required to sit the MCNZ registration examination before being approved for medical registration in New Zealand. If you have a post graduate qualification from any country and are practicing as a consultant / specialist in your own country, you may be eligible to apply for vocational (specialist) registration in New Zealand.

You may be required to provide proof of your English proficiency before you are able to apply for medical registration.

If English is not your first language you may first need to sit and pass one of the following exams:

In some instances, the MCNZ may allow you to be exempt from this test if you have worked in an English-speaking country for two years within the five years preceding your application.

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) requires international medical graduates applying for registration in New Zealand to have certain documents verified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, through their website EPIC, a primary-source verification service.

You will be required to have your documents primary-source verified through EPIC if you are:

  • a first-time applicant for registration, and do not already, or have not in the past, held any other form of registration;
  • registered with the MCNZ but are applying for registration in a new scope of practice that relies on a qualification that has not been previously assessed by MCNZ.

Whether you are a junior doctor or a consultant, supervision is a requirement of the MCNZ for all new registrants, (the exception is Australian graduates), and is an excellent way to integrate and familiarise yourself with practicing in New Zealand. The role of the supervisor is to assist the Council in determining that you have the required skills, knowledge and attitudes to practise safely in New Zealand to a standard comparable to your peers in this country.

NZLocums & NZMedJobs organises supervision arrangements prior to your arrival in New Zealand. Your supervisor may change if you move to a different location to work. You will be required to work under supervision for a period of 6 to 12 months depending on what registration pathway you apply under.

If you have worked outside New Zealand since you were last issued a practicing certificate, you must request a certificate of professional status from each country or board you were registered (or licensed) with during this time. Your certificate of professional status must be sent direct to us from that country or board and must be less than 3 months old at your new New Zealand employment start date.

There are two exceptions to our requirement for a certificate of professional status; where we will alternatively accept a letter of good standing from the person you reported to in the organisation or hospital you worked in.

The exceptions are:

  • if you were working overseas as a volunteer for up to three months and you were not registered for that period.
  • if you were registered while doing voluntary work for up to three months, but the overseas authority is unable to issue a certificate of good standing within a reasonable time period.

Please note: if you have worked overseas as a volunteer for more than three months, you’ll need to have a certificate of professional status.

For more information about Medical Registration visit Medical Council of New Zealand website here.

Find more information about Medical Registration
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Wellington 6140
New Zealand

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New Zealand