2 women enjoying the scenery of Mount Cook New Zealand

Is something holding you back from applying for a job in New Zealand? We understand (first hand!) that the process of relocating to a new country can feel a tad overwhelming!

We’ve broken down the main steps that are involved in the process, so that you can feel more in control about the chapter ahead.

If you are an international doctor who is tempted by a new chapter in New Zealand, but the process of moving and re-settling feels overwhelming, this blog is for you!

When I was in my twenties, I packed up my bags, said farewell to those I loved in New Zealand, and moved to England to start my first “proper” job working as a Forensic Biologist in a small town called Culham, just outside of Oxford in England. I remember the excitement and trepidation, working through the list of things that I needed to organise like a cell phone, bank account, tax, a vehicle, insurance, all those “little” things that feel rather massive when you are a foreigner. 

Flash forward 10 years, married with 2 children and 200kgs of household belongings (yes, they did let us on the plane!) I experienced a new sense of excitement of returning home to New Zealand, but again with feelings of a foreigner as so much had changed since we left. 

Having made 2 international moves I can attest that the process of uprooting oneself, saying goodbye to loved ones, and having the feeling of starting again can feel overwhelming. What I can also say, however, is that the opportunities, friendships and experiences that can come about from a big international move, makes the initial trepidation more than worthwhile. 

Breaking the process down into easy to handle steps is a good way to reduce any feelings of overwhelm and anxiety around moving to New Zealand and starting work as a doctor. Here are the steps that we advise:

1.Initial research:

Be clear in your own mind about the specifics of your ideal job as a doctor in New Zealand. Consider questions like:

– Do you want to work in a large or small clinic
– What demographic would you prefer to support
– Do you want to live in a city or in a rural setting
– How many hours a week do you want to work

Don’t forget to consider your personal wellbeing with consideration for:

– What are your hobbies and activities
– Do you want to live close to the sea, or a lake, or the mountains
– Do you want access to great restaurants and cafes or do you prefer to cook at home
– Do you need to live close to certain amenities, like good schooling for your children? 

Getting clear on these questions will help you narrow down your focus so that you are more likely to find a job that fulfils your needs professionally in an area that will bring you joy personally.

Having an agent on the ground and based in New Zealand like Good Together is invaluable in offering local advice and insight, while connecting you with clinics that have an excellent reputation. 

2. Securing a role 

Depending on the registration pathway you come in on, you may need to secure a role before starting the MCNZ registration process. 

Where possible, try to obtain offers from at least 2 clinics so that you can consider and compare the benefits of each. 

A recruitment agency like Good Together will canvas opportunities on your behalf, presenting you with the best options depending on your own specific needs. They can also negotiate contracts on your behalf, saving you both time and energy. 

3. Medical Council Registration 

While the amount of paperwork required for your MCNZ registration can seem overwhelming, a step by step, co-ordinated approach is always recommended. Good Together can support you through this process, helping you to prioritise the documentation according to the timeline, and to answer any questions that you might have. 

4. Visa Application

After you have been successful with your MCNZ registration, your next step is to obtain a visa. 

NZ immigration has had a huge rejig in the past 12 months and the great news is that doctors are eligible for a “Straight to Residence Visa”. This visa enables holders to live, work and study in NZ, and you can include your partner and dependent children under age 24 in your residence application.  

Because everyone’s situation is different, it is possible that another visa may be more suitable to your specific needs and as such, we always recommend speaking with a licensed immigration advisor before starting an application. Good Together works exclusively with an excellent advisor who will offer any doctor that is referred to by us an initial free consultation. Please email for more information. 

5. Preparing to arrive

This is an exciting time! As soon as your visa has been approved we recommend booking  your flights so as to secure the best fare possible. Depending on your contract, a relocation allowance should cover the cost of your flights.

Finding your new home and community in NZ is possibly one of the most critical steps to ensuring that you feel settled once you arrive. Depending on your employment contract, an accommodation contribution may be offered by your employer. Depending on your preference, you may choose to stay in temporary accommodation such as a hotel or motel when you first arrive, or you may choose to sign up to a tenancy agreement while still abroad. Not all NZ homes are created equal so if you are not able to view properties yourself, ask your agent if they can help with this, or if they can help arrange someone else to view properties on your behalf. 

If you are bringing pets and belongings with you (additional to your check in luggage) then you will need to obtain quotes for moving companies. Your employer may cover these relocation costs, depending on the relocation allowance that has been negotiated. It should be noted that most NZ rental accommodation is not furnished so if you are planning a permanent move and have some favourite pieces of furniture, it may be worthwhile arranging for these to be sent to NZ. 

Setting up a bank account can also be done before you arrive. Good Together recommends Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and can send you all the application forms necessary to open your account from overseas. The final step will be going into a bank branch when you arrive in NZ. 

Other boxes that can be ticked while you are still offshore include setting up your indemnity insurance, researching local groups and clubs and enrolling for schooling

6.Settling in. 

Wahoo you are here! After arriving and getting over any jet lag (yes, flights to NZ are quite long!) Your first unofficial task will be to order a famous flat white coffee and some yummy cabinet food. NZ is famous for our brunches so if the time of day allows it, be sure to chillax and order something delicious from a local cafe. 

Your first official task will be to book in your interview with MCNZ. This is a final step to verify your identity before issuing your Annual Practicing Certificate

In the coming days, you will need to organise a tax number with IRD (inland revenue department), organise a cell number

 It is likely that a hire car will be offered for several weeks as specified in your employment agreement. However, depending on where you live and how far it is from work, you may need to think about purchasing a car.

Before you start work you will undertake an orientation and induction program which will introduce you to the NZ health system, as well as ensure you are familiar with Tikanga Māori (Maōri culture and values). This will also be an opportunity for you to meet your colleagues and for an introduction to the PMS (patient management system) software that your clinic will be using. 

All international medical graduates will initially come to NZ on a provisional registration for a period that is typically between 6 and 12 months. This allows for a period of supervision so that you always feel supported, before transitional to full registration. 

The most important thing for doctors deciding to move to New Zealand is to feel supported along the way. The team at Good Together are experts at supporting doctors through the entire process of relocating to New Zealand, starting from the initial research stage, and continuing right through until work has started in NZ, and beyond!  If you are a doctor that is considering relocating to NZ but are feeling overwhelmed by the process then we would love to be your support team. Start the process by booking a virtual cuppa and let’s see where your journey will take you!

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