Requirements for Overseas Healthcare Staff in New Zealand

Official Requirements

Official Requirements for Overseas Doctors, Nurses and Midwives in New Zealand


Official Requirements for Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

People wishing to work in nursing jobs in New Zealand will need to go through the three steps listed below. Please also check the information about visas at the bottom of the page. (The procedure for nurses currently registered in Australia is slightly different – please see below).


1. Secure an offer of a nursing job in New Zealand

With our extensive network of contacts and many years of experience in the New Zealand healthcare sector, IHR Group will be able to help you obtain an offer of employment. Just start looking at the medical jobs in New Zealand listed on our website, send us an e-mail or give us a call.


2. Meet the registration requirements for nursing jobs in New Zealand

In order to work as a nurse in New Zealand, you must successfully register with the New Zealand Nursing Council (NZNC). There are two steps to the registration process:

  • You should make an online application. You need to complete an online application form, pay a fee and attach certified copies of your passport and your nursing registration certificate from your own country, along with an English language certificate (see below), your CV, references and a letter from your current employer.
  • When the Nursing Council has received your completed online application, they will send you an email. The email will ask you to contact the nursing registration authority in your home country and the institution where you trained to be a nurse so that they can send certain documents to the NZNC. If your application for registration is successful, you will then be asked to undergo a criminal record check (see below).

More details about the registration process are available on the NZNC website.

When the NZNC receives your forms, it will begin its assessment process (see below). The assessment process can take up to 30 working days.


3. Apply for an Annual Practising Certificate

If you pass the assessment, you will be granted registration. The next step is to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate. You will be sent information about how to do this when you have successfully completed the registration process. You must have an Annual Practising Certificate before you can start nursing in New Zealand. Please note that you need to pay an additional fee to receive this certificate.


The Assessment Process for Those Seeking Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

Each applicant is assessed on an individual basis by the New Zealand Nursing Council (NZNC). The NZNC does not have any system of reciprocal registration or enrolment with any foreign health authorities. The only exception to this rule is for nurses registered in Australia (please see below). When conducting the assessment, the NZNC will normally expect you to meet the following requirements:

  • You should have completed a training programme that is similar in length and content to that completed by nurses who have qualified in New Zealand.
  • You should be currently registered as a nurse in your own country.
  • You should have practised as a nurse within the last five years. (no less than 2,500 hours of practice in total)
  • If you are applying from any country except Australia, you must provide proof of your English language competency. To do this, you must provide a certificate showing that you have passed either the IELTS (International English Testing System) or OET (Occupational English Test) examinations at the required level within the last three years. You must have scored at least a 7 in each section of IELTS or at least a B in each section of OET. Please note that you have to meet this requirement even if you are a native speaker of English.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you may still qualify to work in nursing in New Zealand by completing a Competence Assessment Programme (CAP). This is a period of supervised work experience, usually between 6 and 8 weeks, with a New Zealand medical institution. The CAP will include both theoretical and practical components and you will have to pay a fee to the CAP provider. There is a list of approved CAP providers on the NZNC website. It is your responsibility to arrange your CAP placement and to inform the NZNC about it.


Criminal Record and Health Checks for Nursing Jobs in New Zealand

Anybody wishing to work in nursing in New Zealand must go through an International Criminal History Check for each country they have lived in for six months or longer. Please note that there is a fee for this process. Certain employers may also ask overseas workers to undergo a medical examination before a definite job offer is made.

Official Requirements for Nurses Currently Registered in Australia

Nurses who are currently registered in Australia may apply to work in nursing jobs in New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMR). This will allow you to go through a streamlined registration process, in which you will need to do the following:

  • Complete the TTMR application form. This can be found on the website of the New Zealand Nursing Council (NZNC).
  • When you submit your application, attach certified copies of your passport, registration certificate and current practising certificate.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Undergo an Australian Criminal History Check. Details of how to do this are on the NZNC website.
  • When you receive your registration, you will need to apply for your New Zealand Annual Practising Certificate. The email you receive with your registration will tell you how to do this.

Please note that you can begin to work in a nursing job in New Zealand before you receive your full registration. When you have submitted your registration application and paid the fee, you will be given a reference number. You can use this number to work while you are waiting for your application to be processed.

Official Requirements for Midwifery Jobs in New Zealand

Anybody seeking a midwifery job in New Zealand will need to apply to the Midwifery Council of New Zealand for registration. Full details can be found on the Midwifery Council’s website. In order to gain your registration, you will need to:

  • Make an application online at the Midwifery Council’s website.
  • Ask the educational institution where you completed your midwifery qualification to send full details of your training programme to the Midwifery Council.
  • Provide a portfolio of the post-registration experience you have gained in your own country. This portfolio should include a CV, full details of the work experience you have acquired, and details of any professional development training you have undertaken. You should have completed at least two years’ post-registration midwifery practice within the five years previous to your application for registration in New Zealand.
  • Submit a certified copy of either your passport or birth certificate.

If your application is successful, you will be entered into the New Zealand Register of Midwives. You will receive a confirmation of registration and a registration certificate, and will be informed about any further conditions that may apply to you. Some overseas midwives may be asked to undergo an additional assessment before they can receive their registration. This could involve sitting an examination and/or undertaking a period of supervised employment lasting six to eight weeks.

When you have gained your registration, you will need to apply online for an Annual Practising Certificate. Please note that a fee is charged for this process and that you must have received this certificate before you can work in a midwifery job in New Zealand.

All overseas midwives will then need to complete the Overseas Competence Programme. This must be completed within 24 months of receiving your first Annual Practising Certificate. This programme will be undertaken in conjunction with your work; you will be mentored and expected to attend certain workshops. You must include a plan of how you intend to complete the Competence Programme in your application for your first Annual Practising Certificate.

Please note that the registration procedure is slightly different, and easier, for midwives who are registered in Australia. This is because of the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA). Details of how to apply under the TTMRA are given here. Australian registered midwives, however, still need to complete the Overseas Competence Programme.

Overseas professionals interested in working in midwifery jobs in New Zealand should also refer to the information about applying for visas below.

Official Requirements for Doctors’ Jobs in New Zealand

Overseas doctors wishing to work in New Zealand should apply to the Medical Council of New Zealand for registration. The steps you will need to take are listed below:


1. Find a Doctor’s Job in New Zealand

Before you begin the process of registration, you must have a job offer. With our extensive knowledge of the New Zealand Healthcare Sector, IHR group can find you a job anywhere in the country that matches your specialisations, your experience and your personal circumstances. Please feel free to start looking for medical jobs in New Zealand on our website, give us a call or send us an email.


2. Use the self-assessment tool on the Medical Council of New Zealand’s Website

The tool can be accessed here. You will be asked to answer a series of questions then your most appropriate pathway for registration will be suggested. A diagram of the pathways can be seen here.


3. Complete and submit the necessary forms and other documentation

The application forms can be downloaded here, along with information about certificates, fees, references and checklists. There are many different documents here and you will need to choose the right ones for you depending on your circumstances.


4. Wait to receive your registration

When the Medical Council have received your application form, your supporting documents and your fee, they will make a decision about whether you meet their registration requirements. If the Medical Council feel you meet these requirements, they will send you a letter confirming you are eligible for registration, but you will still need to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (see below) and attend an interview.

Factors that will be taken into account when deciding whether to grant you registration include your knowledge and experience in the area of medicine you wish to work in, your ability to communicate in and understand the English language, your health, and whether you have any criminal history or have ever been the subject of any professional disciplinary proceedings.

If you have not graduated from a medical school in Australia or New Zealand or previously been registered in these countries, you may at first be granted registration within a provisional scope of practice. This means that for a period of two years you will need to work under supervision and might not be permitted to do certain tasks.


5. Apply for an Annual Practising Certificate

When you have received your registration letter, you must apply for an Annual Practising Certificate. You cannot start working in a doctor’s job in New Zealand until you have this certificate. Please note that you need to pay a fee when you make this application. If successful, your application should be processed within five working days.

As part of the application process for your first Annual Practising Certificate, you will need to attend an interview. In the interview, a Medical Council staff member will check your documents, ask about your practice intentions and take your fee.

Applying for Visas for New Zealand

The visa application system for New Zealand is somewhat complex. It is best to consult the website of Immigration New Zealand to gain a better understanding of the various visa options that may be open to you.

You may find you fall into the skilled migrant category. Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visas are granted to people who are 55 or under, in good health, of good character and proficient in the English language. A points-based system is used to determine who qualifies for such visas, with points awarded for criteria such as age, experience and qualifications.

Certain healthcare professionals may qualify for a Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa. This visa enables you to apply for residency after working for two years. This visa can be applied for through the post or online and it should be processed within 25 days. Your employer in New Zealand would also need to complete a form for you to get this visa.

Other visas you may qualify for include Silver Fern Visas – aimed at skilled workers between 18 and 35-years old – and the Working Holiday Visa. The Working Holiday Visa is aimed at people between 18 and 30 and it allows them to stay in New Zealand for up to 23 months. It is only available to people who are citizens of certain countries, such as the UK, the USA and Canada.

The Temporary Work Visa is available to people who have a firm job offer in New Zealand, are looking for work experience, or are going to New Zealand to join a partner and would like to find work.

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