Working as a doctor in New Zealand

Read our detailed guidance about how to work in New Zealand as a doctor.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Thursday 5 January 2023
Career Progression Article Illustration


There are two medical schools in New Zealand, one is based in Auckland and the other in Dunedin. 

There are no registration categories in New Zealand. Instead, doctors are registered in scope of practice. Your scope of practice will depend on your qualifications, experience and the purpose and duration of your employment in New Zealand. 

New registrants

All new registrants, except New Zealand and Australian graduates who have completed an internship in New Zealand or Australia, must work under supervision for a period of time in New Zealand to become familiar with the New Zealand health system. 

During this time they are registered within a provisional general scope of practice and their performance will be assessed by senior consultants. They will be required to complete certain requirements to be registered within a general scope. 

NZREX (New Zealand Registration Examination)

If doctors do not satisfy the requirements for registration within a provisional general scope of practice, another option may be to sit the NZREX.

Eligibility is reliant on:

  • holding a medical degree listed in the Avicenna International Medical Education Directory
  • meeting English language policy requirements, which may include completing the IELTS test (International English Language Testing System) or the OET (Occupational English Test)
  • having passed the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) steps one and two (clinical knowledge).

In addition they may also:

  • have passed the Australian Medical Council MCQ examination
  • OR have passed the Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board Part one, administered by the General Medical Council within the last five years.

Vocational registration

Doctors who satisfy the requirements for admission to a branch or sub-branch of medicine (specialties) can apply for provisional vocational registration.

The doctor's qualifications training and experience will be assessed by both MCNZ (Medical Council of New Zealand) and the relevant New Zealand or Australasian College and a period of supervision or assessment may be required before the doctor is granted registration in a vocational scope.

In New Zealand, general practice is considered a branch of medicine, therefore GPs can apply for vocational registration.

In New Zealand all applications for registration (except vocational) are processed only when a doctor has a confirmed job offer under supervision in an approved hospital, practice or educational institution.

The registration application should be submitted to the prospective employer, who will check it and send to the MCNZ with a supporting application.

Registration and the NZREX examinations are regulated by the MCNZ.


Finding a position

The New Zealand Rural GP Locum Scheme arranges locum placements for rural general practitioners.

Find a vacancy