Current Covid-19 travel restrictions – what this means for doctors wishing to relocate to New Zealand and Australia.

Due to the ever-changing guidance around travel we felt it might be good for those interested in relocating to Australia or NZ to answer some frequently asked questions. We hope you find it helpful,  if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch 
Q. Can I still apply for a new GP Job? and once I have a job offer and my visa approved, am I eligible to travel?  
A. Yes – Australia continues to have border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community, however there are exemptions we can apply for to enable us to continue to recruit and fill vacancies throughout Australia.  There continues to be a strong demand from healthcare employers in Australia to recruit International Medical Graduates.
Travel exemptions as determined by the Commissioner:
  • Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
  • Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
  • Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
  • Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia and their immediate family
  • ​Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

We have a fully committed immigration team who will manage the visa applications on your behalf and be available to help with any queries regarding exemptions. Please note exemptions must be granted prior to undertaking travel to Australia.

You can apply for an exemption using this online form.  Exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

To supplement your application for exemption, you will need to provide evidence that your employer requires you to start immediately for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response, we will request and assist with this on your behalf.

Q. Do I need to quarantine on arrival?

A. Yes  – All travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities, in their port of arrival.​ See here for specific detals.  Upon arrival, you will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. This requirement applies to anyone, including Australian citizens/permanent residents and temporary residents exempt from the travel ban.

Q. Are there any caps on international passenger flows?

A. Yes unfortunately there are – In order to manage and maintain quarantine arrangements across the jurisdictions of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, National Cabinet agreed to implement caps on international arrivals, and an extension of current international passenger flight restrictions into Victoria. There has been a reduction in the number of flights available into and from Australia however the national government will review this policy on 24th October 2020.
Q. Can I still apply for a new GP Job in NZ and once I have a job and have my visa approved, am I still eligible to travel?
A. Yes – Like Australia there continues to be a strong demand for GPs in New Zealand and we have continued to recruit throughout this year for positions in both the North and South Island. Our immigration team are on hand to advise and support border exemptions and visa applications.
The New Zealand borders are closed for all but critical travel — protecting public health in New Zealand. However, we can apply to the INZ for border exemptions and critical purpose visas to enable entry as GP’s are considered as a critical health worker who hold a key position required to deliver critical services within the NZ health system.  If you have a dependent partner or children, you can also include them in the request. You must be able to prove you are in a genuine and stable relationship with your partner.
Once your border exemption application has been submitted, an immigration officer will assess your request and if they are satisfied that you are eligible to travel to New Zealand, they will contact you with information about what to do. As they are dealing with high numbers of requests for assistance, they are currently aiming to respond within two working days, however, this timeframe may be longer depending on enquiry volumes and the complexity of requests received.

Before submitting a request, please consider the availability of flights to New Zealand and travel restrictions for any country you may need to transit on the way to New Zealand.

Q.  Will I need to quarantine on arrival and what can I expect?
A. Yes – To help stop the spread of COVID-19, people who do arrive in New Zealand legally must complete at least 14 days of managed isolation or quarantine at an isolation facility. You will be assigned a room in a managed isolation facility for the duration of your stay. This will take into account how many people are with you. Everyone who is entering on a border exception as a critical worker will have to pay for the quarantine costs. You will receive an invoice after their departure from managed isolation and will have 90 days to pay.  Feedback from GP’s who have recently left quarantine have advised that its comfortable and have been well looked after.
As the above is all subject to change, we recommend referring to the below websites for the most up to date information.
If you are considering a move to Australia or NZ, either ready to move or just consider your options please do get in touch via email ( or phone +44 (0) 7983 685945 to see how we can help.  We have GP positions across both Australia and NZ offering amazing work life balance and generous salaries.