Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.

Healthcare Jobs

Hospitals and medical practices across the country are looking for doctors, nurses, midwives, surgeons, technicians and nearly 20 other healthcare occupations.

These skills are all on the official Skills Shortages lists, which will make it easier for you to meet New Zealand's immigration requirements. 

Healthworkers needed now

A growing population, with an increasing proportion of elderly; increasing health needs and rising health expectations; and an aging health workforce are all combining to create skill shortages across the sector.

Healthcare jobs in NZ: Waitemata
02:47

Up to one in five nurses will be looking to retire in the next five years. At the same time nurse training enrolments have been falling.

Many GPs too are retiring, creating shortages in that speciality.

Amongst specialists, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) estimates shortages at 24% with psychiatry, anaesthetics, dermatology and neurology particularly affected.

The challenges are not unique to New Zealand, but they do mean there are plenty of opportunities for healthcare professionals in our country.

Skill Shortages lists

Many healthcare roles are featured on our official Skills Shortages lists. If yours is among them it is good news for you. That is because it means the Government accepts employers need to recruit for this role from overseas because there aren’t enough qualified New Zealanders.

As at early 2021, health sector jobs on the long term and regional Skills Shortage lists include:

  • Anaesthetic Technician
  • Cardiologist
  • Emergency Medicine Specialist
  • General Practitioner
  • Lab Scientist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Medical Technician
  • Midwife
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Paediatrician
  • Physicians
  • Physiotherapist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Radiologist/Radiation Therapist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Resident Medical Officer
  • Sonographer
  • Surgeons

If your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and visa options.

For example, If you can get a job offer and your employer can demonstrate they can’t find a New Zealander for the vacancy, then you may be able to apply for a work visa.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a resident visa if you meet the criteria for our Skilled Migrant Category.

Visas to work in New Zealand

 

Job sites to explore

 
  • Kiwi Health Jobs - NZ's largest health sector job board
  • New Kiwis - a recruitment services linking NZ employers with skilled migrants, offshore and onshore
  • Seek- NZ's largest general job website
  • Trade Me - NZ’s most popular website with a large job section
  • Working in - connects offshore talent with NZ job opportunities
  • More job websites

Register to receive personalised information

Take the first step to a new life by registering to receive emails from Immigration New Zealand.

We’ll send you relevant healthcare job opportunities from New Zealand employers, and practical advice on how to choose the right visa and make the move to New Zealand.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Visa options

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
  • a Resident visa, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, lets you stay indefinitely and access more state-funded public services. You may be able to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category visa if you find a job in advance, have the right qualifications and have at least three years’ post-graduate work experience.

Visas to work

Skilled Migrant Category visa.

Healthcare in New Zealand

Migrant stories

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.

Read his full story

New Zealand has a mixed public/private healthcare model. Each sector offers high standards of care. The public system is much larger, accounting for over 80% of total healthcare spend. 

In total we have around 220 hospitals and 20 District Health Boards managing public healthcare in different region.

With such an extensive healthcare system there is a 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.

Operating alongside the public system, private healthcare offers access to private hospitals for treating 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, around the OECD average.

Hospitals

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.

Healthcare-jobs---Nurse-%26-patient.jpg

Standards are high. For example, the government’s Health Quality & Safety Commission reports that New Zealand performs well internationally on patient safety and measures of effectiveness while surveys show consistently positive results for patient experiences.

An international workforce

You won't feel out of place working in a New Zealand hospital or medical practice. For example, over 40% of the 17,000 doctors registered with the New Zealand Medical Council in 2019 were international medical graduates. Amongst practising nurses, 27% were internationally qualified.

Getting started

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.

Recognised Qualifications | Immigration New Zealand

Practising in New Zealand | Medical Council

International registration | Nursing Council

Health Sector job board | Kiwi Health Jobs

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.