Professional and lifestyle opportunities for GPs in New Zealand.

One of the most important things to consider when looking for a new role is knowing what you are worth, and what you should be asking for.  

For international doctors, it can be especially hard to know what should and shouldn’t be included in a contract.  If you are a GP who is currently based overseas and thinking about moving to NZ, this post is for you. 

Statutory Requirements

Annual Leave Four weeks’ annual leave is the minimum allowance in New Zealand, but in some instances additional leave can be negotiated. The full entitlement comes after 12 months of continuous employment, but most employers will allow you to take accrued leave. Having time off to relax, travel, and explore the country is so important, so holidays are encouraged! 

Bank Holidays There are 12 public holidays in New Zealand which you are paid for if they fall on a day you would normally work. If you are working 8/10 (32 hours a week) and your day off is normally Monday, then you would not be paid for the public holiday if it falls on a Monday. 

Sick Leave Ten days’ sick leave is the minimum in New Zealand. In some cases, this is available from the day you start your job, in others the sick leave entitlement applies after 3, or sometimes 6, months of employment. Sick leave can be taken to care for yourself, your partner or children, or other dependants. 

Parental Leave If you’ve worked for your employer for six months and a minimum of ten hours a week you are entitled to 26 weeks paid parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child under 6 years of age. 

Bereavement Leave All employees can use bereavement leave after 6 months’ continuous employment. There’s a maximum of 3 days however you can make arrangements with your employer if you need more time.  

Additional Inclusions (on a case-by-case basis)

Continuing Medical Education Most employers will contribute toward your CME. A contribution between $1000 and $2000 as well as up to five days of paid leave is a reasonable expectation. 

Relocation Allowance This can cover airfares, moving your personal effects to NZ, and a settling in allowance for accommodation and a rental vehicle. The amount is negotiable and varies from employer to employer however as a minimum, $5000 should be expected. 

Visa Costs The cost of a visa and licenced immigration advisor fees can be significant, sometimes up to $10,000. Employer contribution toward these costs is commonly negotiated. 

Vehicle  Sometimes there is a Practice vehicle available for use while you buy a car or consider your transport options. Otherwise, an additional allowance for a month’s car rental is sometimes paid. 

Accommodation Again, sometimes a Practice has access to a furnished house which could be available long term or until you have decided where you want to settle. In some instances, an initial accommodation allowance can be negotiated. 

APC The cost of your annual practising certificate is typically covered by your employer, however MCNZ application fees generally are not. 

Indemnity Insurance The cost of your annual cover is typically paid for by your employer. 

On/Call Depending on the area in which you are working, you may need to contribute to the on-call roster. The frequency of the commitment will vary from area to area and may or may not be open to negotiation so be sure to discuss this with your employer. Participation in the on-call roster is paid in addition to your base salary. 

Schedule A GP’s day in NZ is typically broken down into 2 four-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each session typically includes a 15-minute break, and between 30 minutes and 1 hour for paperwork. In most clinics patient appointments are 15 minutes, however some higher needs areas have 20-minute appointments. As such, the number of patients that you are rostered to see is normally a maximum of 13 per session.  The schedule for each clinic varies, and there is a degree of flexibility to accommodate a doctor’s preference such as how long their lunch break is, and when, within the session, their break and paperwork time is rostered. We encourage you to have a conversation around how your day will be structured.

Please note that all international medical graduates will have time for orientation and induction as well as a period of supervision. Time will be given for you to ease into your eventual schedule. A clinic that is experienced in hiring overseas doctors will often have a well-established settling in period. 

When considering if a practice is the right fit for you, think about whether the location is a good fit too. While a good employment package is essential, it is equally important to be settled in an area that will meet your needs outside of work. When choosing an area to live, consider if local offerings match your hobbies and interests. It might sound obvious but if you love surfing, working in a lake location may not be the best fit! If you love to ski, the far north may make regular trips to the ski field a challenge! 

Whatever your interests, NZ is touted as a wonderful place to live, with a lifestyle and natural environment that is the envy of many. The variety in landscape and climate makes so many activities accessible, so that when you’re not working, you can make the most of whatever it is you love doing.  

If you would like support in finding a clinic that is a great match, in an area that will bring you joy, Good Together would love to help! Email Moana on  to start the process!

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