New Zealand is over-supplied with foreign doctors. Roughly 4,000 have entered since 1992, and the country as a whole requires only 6,000 doctors to meet its demand. These foreign doctors got in because a loose immigration policy did not check whether a person’s overseas qualification was recognised locally. Many of these doctors are now sitting exams to register or are unemployed. Legislation is tightening quickly. You should therefore have a job offer before leaving for New Zealand and should have your contract checked by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (P.O. Box 5251, Wellington – Telephone Number: +64 4 499 1271 and Fax Number: +64 4 499 4500).
You will need to register (or gain temporary registration) with the Medical Council of New Zealand. Visiting doctors can stay for up the 3 years for educational reasons or to supply an area of need. However, it is only on the understanding that they will return home. If attempting to gain full registration, you may well need to sit the New Zealand Registration Exams (NZREX) or enter vocational training. The NZREX exam consists of Steps I and II of the USMLE exams, an English language test and clinical examination. This provides provisional registration which leads to a 12 month probationary period.