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 www.mcnz.org.nz.

Registration Pathways

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 the following countries for 33 (or more) months out of the last 48 months, it is likely you will be eligible to apply for MCNZ registration: Countries with a comparable health system.

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.

English Language Requirement

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

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English test – Academic version

Pass, within one result, by achieving the minimum grades as per below:
– Speaking  7.5
– Listening  7.5
– Writing  7.0
– Reading  7.0

Find out where to sit this exam at www.ielts.org

Or, Occupational English Test (OET) – Medical Module

Pass, within one result, by achieving the grades as per below:

– Speaking  A or B
– Listening  A or B
– Writing  A or B
– Reading  A or B

Find out where to sit this exam at www.occupationalenglishtest.org

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 & NZMedJobs 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.

Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC)

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.

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 & NZMedJobs 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
  • Review and discuss patient notes
  • Discuss patient and staff feedback
  • Observe consultations as far as is practical
  • Encourage personal growth and development
  • Provide assistance settling into a new culture and work place.

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

Been practising overseas?

If you have worked outside New Zealand since we last issued you a practising 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:

  1. if you were working overseas as a volunteer for up to three months and you were not registered for that period.
  2. 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 see Medical Council of New Zealand website here.

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