Hospitals and practices across the country are looking for doctors, midwifes, surgeons and 29 other healthcare occupations.
In fact, these skills are rated by the Government as ‘Essential’ which will make it easier for you meet the immigration requirements.
Healthworkers needed now
It’s estimated we need 380 extra specialists every year to meet the OECD average by 2021. And we’ll need up to 25,000 more nurses by 2030.
I’m an emergency medicine specialist, I’m originally from South Africa and currently I’m the Clinical Director of Waitemata DHB emergency department. I’ve been working in this organisation for 8 years now and I’m loving every minute of it.
Waitemata District Health Board is responsible for about 500 thousand people, by itself we are comfortably the largest district health board in the country.
We are located right on Lake Pupuke and adjacent to some of the best beaches in New Zealand.
Generally the lifestyle in Auckland is one of the best in the world. Auckland was voted one of the top 10 cities in the world to live in.
New Zealand is really looking to innovate and develop technologies and systems and be a world leader in terms of innovation, and we have to given the size and location of our country so, really we have a unique mix of elements that allows us to become world leaders, and we are world leaders in a lot of innovative work.
There’s lots of opportunities for Doctors, Nurses, other health care professionals anywhere in New Zealand a very large proportion of health care workforce is foreign trained.
So your walking down the corridors in a hospital in New Zealand, it’s like walking through the corridors of the United Nations.
Those arriving in New Zealand with a specialist qualification would need to look for whether their qualification is recognised in New Zealand and often times, even if it isn’t recognised at least a component of their specialist training will be recognised and, they can do bridging work to have their specialty completely recognised.
So we’re very fortunate in New Zealand where much of the focus in healthcare is on the patient rather than directly on the finances. Our decisions are based more on ethical considerations rather than financial considerations.
New Zealand has just the most phenomenal lifestyle available as far as I’m concerned. Its just a wonderful combination of outdoor living, water sports, the sea, tramping and then you’ve got the New Zealand culture which is just such a wonderful family friendly, child friendly culture and safe too.
Its surreal living here coming from somewhere like South Africa but I hear the same from colleagues that come from elsewhere in the world. We’re just so protected over here so, if you like the outdoors and you like community living I think you’re going to struggle to find a better country in the world.
With that sort of demand, there are plenty of opportunities. Check out the current healthworker opportunities on the skills shortages lists.
Remember – if your job is on either of the lists and you have the qualifications and experience to match, the work visa application process is more likely to be successful. And you may even be able to apply for a resident visa.
There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.
Healthcare in New Zealand
Dr Antonios Chasouris, Greece
One thing I like about New Zealand is, because of a shortage of skills, an all-round therapist like me can apply all his skills. For example, I have studied educational difficulties, clinical psychology and behavioural therapy, so under the mental health system in New Zealand, I can do a lot of things, which I love.
New Zealand has both a public and private healthcare system. Each offers high standards of care.
Being such a wide-ranging healthcare system you’ll find there’s an equally wide range of work opportunities for healthcare professionals covering every discipline or specialty.
In the public system, essential healthcare services such as emergency care, essential surgery, and hospital care are provided free for all New Zealand residents and those living here on a work visa valid for two years or longer. Visits to general practitioners (family doctors) are paid for by the individual patient.
Alongside the public system, private healthcare offers access to private hospitals for the treatment of both urgent and non-urgent conditions (excluding Accident and Emergency Care). The network of private hospitals and clinics provides a range of services that include recuperative care, elective procedures and a range of general surgical procedures. There are also private radiology clinics and testing laboratories.
New Zealand puts about 10% of its GDP into healthcare, a little more than the OECD average.
New Zealand hospitals and general practices are modern and well equipped. You’ll find the atmosphere positive and friendly – they’re great places to work.
Standards are high. For example, compared to other OECD countries (including the US, Ireland, Canada, Germany etc.) we rate especially well on patient safety, timeliness and efficiency.
An international workforce
You won't feel out of place working in a New Zealand hospital or medical practice. That's because overseas-trained professionals account for 41.5 percent of our total healthcare workforce, according to a Medical Council survey. And of the 21,000 doctors on the New Zealand Medical Register in 2012, over 52% received their primary qualification outside New Zealand.
The first step is finding a job. Research where your skills will best fit and which employers are looking for your expertise. And make sure that your qualifications are recognised in New Zealand.
At the same time you should register with the relevant medical body eg. the Medical Council of New Zealand for doctors, or the Nursing Council of New Zealand for nurses.
The website Kiwi Health Jobs lists job vacancies available at the District Health Boards (DHBs) around the country.
For more information about the public health system in New Zealand visit the Ministry of Health.
For more information about New Zealand’s unique scheme for covering the medical costs of people injured in accidents, visit the Accident Compensation Corporation.