Moving to New Zealand as a Doctor: What You Need to Know
Currently regarded as one of the luckiest countries in the world with life virtually returning to normal, this is a huge testament to New Zealand’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is quite the contrast of other western countries around the world who are still wrestling with the devasting effects of the COVID-19 virus such as Europe and the United States.
While New Zealand's borders appear closed, they are not closed to everyone. Skilled workers in the medical sector are in high demand, with many opportunities available across all specialties.
We have compiled our top reasons why you should consider the move to New Zealand.
1. Quality of Life
With its breathtaking scenery, vibrant cities and desirable quality of life, New Zealand is a top destination choice for doctors looking for a career and lifestyle change. It’s no wonder that New Zealand has experienced a large increase in interest from all facets of the medical spectrum, with quality of life being a big driver.
New Zealand consistently leads in international quality-of-life surveys and is well known for its beautiful countryside. It is ideal for people who are looking for a better quality of life, security for themselves and their family, and a more relaxed lifestyle.
Although being similar in size to the UK, the population is much smaller, having just surpassed five million for the first time. With less pressure on space and natural resources, it means reduced pollution, congestion and health issues that a larger population might be exposed to. It's one of the reasons why New Zealand is in the top three countries of choice for ex-pats who are looking to relocate.
To reinforce this sentiment, at the beginning of the COVID-19, the New Zealand government decided to undertake an elimination strategy to ensure life would return to normal as soon as possible, and to date has been very successful. With New Zealand free of community cases, New Zealand is one of a few countries in the world where life has predominantly returned to normal. As such, this has also made it a very attractive option for those looking to come to New Zealand for the lifestyle or to get away from the pandemic.
2. Employment Opportunities
Medical jobs in New Zealand are highly sought after and it is estimated that NZ will require 380 extra Specialist Doctors every year to meet the OECD average by 2021.
With the recent general elections in New Zealand now completed, It is expected that we will start to see a lot of work on the restructure and review of the health sector, which was presented to the cabinet prior to the previous election.
It is projected that this will create a lot of employment opportunities throughout New Zealand, with the focus shifting from the major metro centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. While demand is high in those centres, provincial New Zealand which can be a 2-4-hour drive from those big cities are experiencing a significant shortage in medical professionals.
3. What are the benefits of working as a Doctor in New Zealand?
There’s something for everyone in New Zealand. New Zealand is a unique land of breathtaking scenery and diverse natural beauty. Before Covid-19, it was one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and is becoming an increasingly sought-after place for doctors to live and work.
Besides its natural beauty, there is a range of other benefits to working as a doctor in New Zealand. New Zealand’s healthcare system is considered by global standards to be a modern and efficient healthcare system across both the public and private sectors. With its well-regulated protections for employees, doctors will be protected by well-regulated hours, facilitating a good work-life balance. New Zealand also offers a good education system, affordable housing and transport networks, which makes it a great place to relocate to if you have a family. Compared to Australia, New Zealand has a relatively favourable tax system for your earnings and assets due to lower tax rates.
4. The application process and advice for Doctors looking to move to New Zealand
The two most common hurdles to moving to New Zealand are the job offer and medical registration. As part of the application process, we can help with the offer and registration documentation.
At Wavelength, we offer our placed doctors free regulatory advice from our in-house team. Wavelength has partnered with Pathways to New Zealand Immigration, so our doctors can receive a free consultation on their visa requirements.
The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) provides several registration pathways for overseas-trained specialists to work in New Zealand depending on their background and experience. Our in-house regulatory consultants will assist you with the most appropriate pathway.
Once you've got a job and registration, the rest is relatively easy. Other challenges include booking your travel to New Zealand and pre-booking your accommodation in a managed quarantine facility (MQF).
At the moment, New Zealand has a very strict border and although it is closed to most people, exemptions are available for essential workers, particularly those in the medical field. Hopefully in the near future, as the rest of the world goes back to normal, we expect New Zealand's borders to open up relatively quickly due to how they managed the pandemic.
Wavelength has longstanding relationships with hospitals across both the North and South Islands in New Zealand and can assist doctors across all medical specialties to find permanent, locum and fixed-term contract roles.
Wavelength International has over 20 years of experience in placing doctors from comparable countries such as Australia, UK and USA into medical roles in New Zealand. If you are looking to experience a change of environment, register with us and we can help you discover your next rewarding doctor job in New Zealand.