New Zealand Summary

Here we share a brief overview of working in New Zealand. Our premium members can gain access to our Ultimate Guide to Working in NZ - learn all about the medical registration process, applying for visas and key considerations when moving to New Zealand

POPULATION: 4,885,300 (2017)

CURRENCY: New Zealand (NZD)

LIFE EXPECTANCY & CAUSE OF DEATH: New Zealand has a high life expectancy, comparable to other developed nations. You can find more on the life expectancy for Maori and non-Maori people here. The leading cause of death in NZ is ischaemic heart disease. For a detailed breakdown of the major causes of death, see here.

POLITICAL STRUCTURE: Unitary parliamentary representative democracy

SAFETY NZ is a very safe country by international standards

New Zealand (NZ) is a fertile and mountainous island of the southwestern Pacific archipelago, with snow-capped mountains, coastlines cut by fjords and stunning landscapes dominating this larger than life country. NZ is heavily influenced by the rich and vibrant culture of its Indigenous Maori people. With endless access to the outdoors and boundless opportunity for exploration and adventure, NZ should be the top pick of places to work overseas. In this summary, we’ll take you through the key points you need to know for applying to work as a doctor in New Zealand.

Why should I work as a doctor in New Zealand?

NZ boasts a strong healthcare system with both public and private sectors. Working conditions for doctors are good, with well-regulated hours and proactive unions that support health care staff. NZ is divided into District Health Boards (DHBs) spanning both metropolitan and rural areas. Beyond work, NZ has a plethora of activities with endless access to the outdoors; vibrant cities and great food and wine. No wonder that tourists and professionals continue to flock to NZ. For an extensive outline of all NZ has to offer, check out this website. Also, see the Te Ara Encyclopedia of NZ for a complete guide to the history, culture and peoples of NZ.

How do I gain registration as a doctor in NZ?

In brief, as an international medical graduate (IMG), you’ll need to gain registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). You must show that you that you hold a medical qualification listed on the World Directory of Medical Schools. There are various registration pathways, depending on your qualifications, training, experience, and whether you intend to work in NZ permanently or just for a short time for a specific purpose. It should also be noted that most registration pathways require you to have a job offer in NZ before you can apply for registration. Here  you’ll find a breakdown of the registration process and requirements. If you do not fit a particular pathway, you will need to sit the NZREX exam, which you can find more information on here. Here you can find an assessment tool that guides you on your eligibility and appropriate pathway towards registration. This page also outlines some of the practical things you’ll want to consider before making your move.

Do I need a visa to work in NZ?

Yes, you will need a visa to work in NZ. For general information on visas, see this website. This article from Auckland Doctors gives an overview of the process specifically for doctors applying for visas. This ( handy tool takes you through the process of applying for specific visas. Lastly, Immigration NZ has a useful guide to living, working and moving to NZ.

Will my personal healthcare be covered while I’m in New Zealand?

UK citizens requiring emergency health care whilst in New Zealand are financially covered under the reciprocal agreement. If you have a work visa that allows you to work continuously in New Zealand for at least 2 years (UK citizen or otherwise), you will be eligible for emergency health care, primary care cover and may be covered for other publicly funded services under certain criteria. See this website for more information on the reciprocal agreement and what is covered. You can assess your eligibility for health care cover and find more information on travel insurance options if you are not eligible on this website.


Would you like more information on applying to work as a doctor in New Zealand? As one of our premium members, you can access our Ultimate Guide to working in New Zealand, including the medical registration process, applying for visas and key considerations when moving to New Zealand. If you are not a member with us yet,  sign up now!