Medical Registration

Are you eligible?

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 generally 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.

The following is a guide only, as policies may be subject to change by the MCNZ. Further information is available on the Council website at

There are four types of pathways to gain registration in New Zealand, with each requiring different criteria. NZLocums will determine the best pathway to registration (licensure) for you and discuss the requirements with you.

If you have been working in any of the following countries for 33 (or more) months out of the last 48 (international graduates) it is likely you will be eligible to apply for MCNZ registration:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Israel 
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

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 practising as a consultant / specialist in your own country you may be eligible to apply for vocational (specialist) registration in New Zealand. Contact us for more details.

International English Language Testing

If English is not your first language you may first need to sit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English test – Academic module.

The following scores in the Academic Module of the IELTS test are required within one examination:

Minimum requirements:
– Speaking 7.5
– Listening 7.5
– Writing 7.0
– Reading 7.0

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 NZLocums team will be able to provide you with more information about this if required.

You may need assistance in preparing to take this exam. Listening to English radio and TV channels is a good start however you may also wish to investigate the option of some professional support.

Supervision for overseas Doctors

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 organises supervision arrangements prior to your arrival in New Zealand. Your supervisor may change if you move to a different location to work.

As a part of your supervisory relationship, supervisors are available to:

  • Discuss difficult or unusual cases
  • Randomly review and discuss patient notes
  • Discuss patient and staff feedback
  • Observe consultations as far as is practical
  • Encourage personal growth and development

You will be required to work under supervision for a period of 6 to 12 months depending on what registration pathway you apply under.

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