COVID-19 Travel restrictions and exemptions – Australia and NZ

We hope you are all keeping safe and healthy.  The advice relating to travelling to both Australia and New Zealand has been changing, we have updated our blog to give you the most up to date information.  Our team continues to work remotely from home and continues to be here for you if you have any queries or questions, please do get in touch.


The prime minister announced that only Australian citizens/permanent residents and New Zealand citizens usually residing in Australia can travel to Australia.  However, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider entry under an exemption.

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.

Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:

  • Passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
  • Case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
  • Supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.

You can apply for an exemption using this online form. Exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and must be granted prior to undertaking travel to Australia.

Along with applying for an 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 can assist with this.

Please note: You need to have your visa approved prior to applying for an exemption.

Self-Isolation requirement:

All travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities, in their port of arrival.​ Travellers 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.

It has yet to be determined how long the travel restrictions will last, we will keep up to date with developments and advise on any changes as soon as we have them.

As the above is all subject to change, we recommend referring to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for the most up to date information.


The New Zealand border is currently closed to most travellers. New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders can travel to New Zealand.   Immigration New Zealand will consider exemptions to travel.

Consideration will only be made for people with exceptional circumstances who have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand.

You must have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand, and:

  • meet health and character requirements for temporary entry
  • be a bona fide applicant
  • meet the funds or sponsorship requirements for visitors
  • meet onward travel requirements.

You can use this link provides further information on the above criteria.  You can use the filters to display country specific tips, to assist you with your application

Critical purposes for travelling to New Zealand

Essential health workers

A health care worker is a current or new employee where the employee holds a key clinical or non-clinical position working as a Medical Doctor in

  • a District Health Board
  • New Zealand Blood Service
  • hospice or palliative care
  • a primary care practice such as urgent care or a medical or healthcare centre
  • aged residential care, respite or continuing care facility.

Consideration will be given as to whether the person holds the necessary qualifications and registration (if required) to work in New Zealand.

Partners and dependent children of essential health workers who will accompany them may also be included in the request.

You can apply for an exemption here. You can make a request if you already have a New Zealand visa, if you have submitted an application for a visa, or if you do not have a visa.

Once your 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.

Self-Isolation requirement:

If you arrived in New Zealand from any country in the last 14 days, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date you departed the last country you visited.

For further up-to-date information – please see here

We appreciate this is a difficult time with everything being so uncertain.  Our team is here to help, so please do contact us if you have any specific questions or queries.  We are in this together!


COVID-19: A Message from Transition Medical

I think we can all agree that it has been a surprising and ever-changing week. We can only imagine that it is a stressful and challenging time for those on the frontline NHS. You would be forgiven for not placing your overseas move as your number one concern at a moment like this. We hope that you, your families and loved ones are well and that disruptions to your personal life have been kept to a minimum.

As you may be aware the authorities in Australia and New Zealand have implemented a travel ban placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9 pm on Friday.

We do however understand that these life-changing events may allow you to pause and reflect on what you want to be doing in your career. We will continue to offer our full recruitment service and support as we always have done and are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the current situation.

As many companies are currently, our small team at Transition Medical are working remotely. We have operated remote teams since being established meaning that our operations are somewhat resilient to the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus. You will notice no difference from the service you receive from us.

We continue to work with outstanding practices in stunning locations across both Australia and New Zealand, within fantastic locations. The medical registration and visa process to allow you to work in Australia continues to take up to 9 months, New Zealand approx 3 months to complete by which point the pandemic will have hopefully passed.

We look forward to continuing to support you.

Hear what other GPs have to say about our GP relocation service

We have recently received some wonderful feedback from a Dutch GP we’ve helped secure their new role in New Zealand. Dr Lex is currently working as a GP on NZ’s north island and has sent in a few words and a great photo. When we asked for feedback and if and how we could improve our service he responded with this…

‘Walk me through the airport and carry my bags 🙂 – no you guys were the best, I could not think of anything. You responded always, were always available when I called and came up with great ideas with me asking such as applying for a work to residence visa. Thanks Emma, Kirsty and the whole team!

We wish Lex and his family all their best for their new life down under. It was a pleasure to help them find a great new role and life in New Zealand.

If you would like to find out more about what life is like in New Zealand as a GP please do get in touch

New Zealand Medical Licencing Process Explained

To work as a GP in New Zealand you need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). The registration process is reasonably straight forward, and usually, doctors who have qualified and worked in countries with comparable health systems are not required to sit any exams to gain registration with the MCNZ. Once an application is submitted it should take around 20 days to process.

There are two main routes for GP’s applying for provisional general registration, which are the Competent Authority and Comparable Health pathways. Transition Medical will guide you through which route would be most suitable based on your qualifications.

Competent Authority Pathway

The Medical Council recognises the Irish Medical Council and the UK’s General Medical Council as competent authorities. To apply you must hold a primary medical degree from a university medical school in the UK or Ireland, have completed your internship in the UK or Ireland and meet the fitness to practice requirements.

Comparable Health Pathway

You can apply for this pathway if you have a primary medical degree from a university medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (see here); have worked in a comparable health system(s) for a minimum of 30 hours per week for at least 33 of the last 48 months; have proposed employment in New Zealand in the same or similar area of medicine, at a similar level of responsibility to the work you have done in the last 48 months, and hold a full or general registration in at least one comparable health system which contributes to this time in clinical practice.

If English is not your first language you may first need to sit and pass International English Language tests. Transitional Medical will be able to guide based on your individual circumstances.

Once the MCNZ have assessed your application and determined that you are eligible for the scope of practice that you have applied for, they will email a letter of eligibility for registration and an invitation to complete the process by attending a registration interview once you arrive in NZ. At this stage, we can also apply for your visa. Transition Medical has a specialist emigration team who will guide you through your visa application.

The registration interview allows you to complete registration formalities and apply for your practicing certificate. Once this is completed you will receive your practicing certificate and be ready to start your new role.

All doctors, regardless of seniority, are required to work under supervision for 6-12 months to become familiar with NZ practice and culture. This is an excellent way to integrate and familiarise yourself with practicing in New Zealand. During the supervised period, you will be registered within a provisional general scope of practice, once you complete your period of supervision and complete certain requirements you will be registered within the general scope.

Read More

GP Recruitment New Zealand – How are you supported into practice?

Your New Zealand GP visa questions answered 

What is life like for a GP in New Zealand?

GP Medical Registration Australia – Transition Medical 

Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand | Transition Medical

Your Guide to Shipping Your Belongings to New Zealand

So, you’re thinking about moving to New Zealand? Perhaps, you’ve already secured a job offer from one of our lovely GP clinics. Or, maybe you’re still in the early days of researching and planning?

Whatever stage you’re at in your move down under, our guide offers impartial advice on to shipping your belongings to New Zealand and starting your new life as a local GP.

Shipping your belongings down under is certainly not an easy task. It’ll take some preparation and even professional help. But, let’s start at the very beginning — figuring out what you should bring with you.

How to Figure Out What to Bring When Moving to New Zealand

Getting your life into a shipping container is a tricky challenge, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a long time. On the one hand, it can be sad to say goodbye to the old jumper you’ve had since college, but on the other hand, bringing everything with you can be extremely price.

Start by thinking about whether the cost of shipping the item outweighs the sentimental or actual value of your belongings. Some things can’t be replaced or would be pricey to do so. You may also want to have familiar items in your new home, especially if you’re moving to New Zealand with young children.

Next, think about your new life and house. What items will fit in your new home? Are you downsizing to a smaller place? If so, not all your furniture will fit. Also, remember that New Zealand houses are different from UK homes so they might have different space requirements. Your new home may also come with some items like large scale appliances or furniture.

When thinking about electrical items, it’s important to remember that New Zealand has a different electrical system. While appliances in New Zealand use the same electrical voltage as the UK, the maximum current is only 10 amps (rather than the 13 we use here). So, you’ll need to check that your appliances will work, before you ship them.

What You Can’t Ship to New Zealand

New Zealand has some strict requirements on what you can’t bring with you. These rules are in place to protect their unique and beautiful ecosystem and largely apply to items that might impact it.

Items that are strictly prohibited:

  • Weapons and firearms
  • Most food items
  • Items made from animal by-products including coral, snakeskin, whalebone, shells or fur
  • Medicines using musk, horn or bone

Items that require additional documents or quarantine:

  • Herbs & spices
  • Taxidermied animals
  • Bamboo, cane, rattan, basketry and mats
  • Unprocessed wool and animal hair
  • Dried flowers or bulbs
  • Saddles and riding equipment
  • Artefacts (wooden carvings, shields, masks, etc.)
  • Camping equipment
  • Vacuum cleaners

Check the status of any item on New Zealand’s customs service website.

What to Do If You Plan on Bringing Any of the Above

If you plan to bring these items, you’ll need to declare them on your itinerary before departing. While you probably won’t get stopped at Customs, the risk isn’t worth it as you’ll face a hefty fine if they discover any of these items, undeclared, in your suitcase.

You’ll get a bill for any inspections, treatments and disposal or exportation of any items customs refuses. And, the total cost can be mind-blowing.

How to Pack Your Belongings for Moving to New Zealand

Controlled Items

As part of the packing process, it’s important to clean anything that’s come in contact with freshwater or soil. For example, you’ll need to clean items like camping equipment, fishing supplies, hiking shoes, and watersport accessories like dive suits or life vests.

After you’ve cleaned these items, make sure to pack them in the same box and clearly label what’s in the box. Customs offers charge by the hour, so anything you can do to speed up their work will reduce the overall costs if your container is inspected.


You’ll obviously want to bring along your clothes. When packing your clothes, remember that New Zealand has different seasons than in the UK. So, when it’s winter here, it’ll be summer there and vice versa.

Make sure to pack warmer/summer clothes, depending on the season in New Zealand, last so it’ll be easy to access your clothes immediately. You may also want to pack one or two bags separately and check these bags under the plane, so you’ll have clothes while you wait for your container to clear customs.

Electrical Items

As we discussed earlier, New Zealand has a different electrical system than the UK and their electrical current tops out at 10 amps, three amps less than Britain. So, you’ll need to check your devices before you pay to ship them down under and discover that they won’t work there.

You can find this information on most electrical devices or by looking up the brand/model online. Anything that needs a stronger current, above 10 amps, should be left at home. Most appliances should be fine, but pay close attention to any heat generating items like kettles, toasters, hair dryers and lamps as these typically require more energy so might exceed 10 amps.

Shipping a Car to New Zealand from UK

Should you bring your car? It may seem tempting, but most professional moving companies suggest otherwise.

Importing a car to New Zealand can be extremely expensive and complicated, making it simply not worth it. New Zealand has some tough regulations on vehicles, so bringing your car down under is very time-consuming and will require far more paperwork and money than other items.

Some companies may help you with the cost as part of your relocation package. Before you take them up on the offer, you’ll need to consider whether your car will meet New Zealand’s regulations as they have strict standards on factors like emission rates so many UK cars won’t pass the test without serious work. So, you may find it easier to buy a new car rather than ship your old one.

If you’re still thinking about shipping your car, you can find more information on the process and requirements on NZ Transportation Agency’s website.

What Documents You’ll Need Before Moving to New Zealand 

Once you’ve figured out what items you’ll take and started packing, you’ll need to contact a shipping company. Most shipping companies will help you sort custom documents and streamline the process.

But, it’s important to know the documents you’ll need to ship your household goods. Most people will need:

  • A copy of their passport & visa (so you’ll need to secure a new job before you start the shipping process)
  • A combined customs and quarantine declaration form
  • A numbered inventory/packing list
  • A personal effects supplementary declarations for consignments containing items which are a biosecurity risk.
  • Valid treatment certificates for goods that have been fumigated, heat treated or cleaned.

Your moving company can advise on any additional forms you may need.

How to Ship Your Belongings to New Zealand

When it comes to shipping your items, you have a few options depending on how much stuff you plan on bringing with you.

Sole use containers. Best for people looking to ship most of their belongings, sole use containers are one of the cheapest and quickest methods. You can use either a 20ft container, which is generally large enough to fit a 2- 3 bedroom house. Or, a 40ft container, which can hold a 3- 4 bedroom house. From door-to-door, sole use containers take eight to ten weeks to arrive in New Zealand.

Groupage. If you only plan on bringing a small amount of items (i.e. less than a 2-3 bedroom house), groupage consignment might be a good option as your stuff is grouped with other items which will reduce the overall cost. However, this method normally takes a bit longer at about 10-14 weeks.

Cost of Moving Belongings to New Zealand

The expected cost varies widely based on how much stuff you’re shipping and the type of items. You’ll have to take clearance and customs duties, insurance, storage costs as well as international shipping costs into account.

Generally, most families pay between £2000 to £5000 depending on container sizes and final destination. But, we recommend shopping around to make sure you find the best deal and a company that can meet your needs.

Transition Medical — Helping GPs Make the Move Down Under

Here at Transition Medical, we specialise in helping UK GPs make the move to New Zealand. We’ll support you throughout the entire process, from connecting you with attractive GP New Zealand vacancies to providing advice on moving your family pet and finding a new school for your children.

Check out our other related blogs for more information on making the move.

Other Related Blogs 

What is life like for a GP in New Zealand. We speak to one of our UK GPs working in Auckland

We have recently had the pleasure of assisting a UK trained GP relocate to New Zealand. We talk to Dr Kate Gittins who has moved with her family to Auckland.

What made you decide to move to New Zealand?

We worked in New Zealand more than 20 years ago and had always wanted to return to work here. The opportunity arose for us to move when my husband was offered a job in Auckland. Our sons were in University and my daughter thought that it would be a great experience for her to study in another country so after a lot of family discussion we decided to move.

Tell us about a typical day in your GP role?

I now work in a large GP practice on the coast in South Eastern Auckland, my day starts at 08:30 and ends at 17:30, I see patients every 15 mins with regular breaks for tea and lunch, on average I see between 24-30 patients a day. There is no on call or visits and there is a large practice team of nurses, receptionists and administrators all available to help.

Best bit about your day?

The best bit of my day is getting home in the early evening less stressed with plenty of time for my family.

Most challenging part of your day?

I am still settling into life as a GP in New Zealand so the most challenging part of my day is learning the New Zealand way of managing patients, new pathways, which medications that are available here and ways of referring patients.

How have you and your family settled in and would you have any tips for other GPs relocating?

We have settled into life here very easily, the people are very friendly, easy going and helpful. My daughter’s school has been great and she made lots of good friends. I haven’t really got any tips about relocating, it is stressful but well worth it.

How have you found the transition from general practice in the UK to New Zealand?

General practice in New Zealand is very similar to general practice in the UK, the main difference is that here general practice is private so the patients pay to see their GP which can occasionally change the dynamic of the consultation but most of the time I just need to remember to give them the invoice! The other difference is that here the consultations are a minimum of 15 minutes which makes a big difference in terms of patient care and I feel less stressed.

Finally, how have you found Transition Medical in helping you make the move to NZ?

I found Transition Medical very helpful and made my move to New Zealand very easy and less stressful.


Further Reading

Your NZ Visa questions answered

NZ Schooling System

How are you supported into practice

What next?

If you are interested in relocating to New Zealand and would like to find out more please get in touch with one of our specialist GP recruitment team.

GP Recruitment New Zealand – How are you supported into practice?

GP Recruitment New Zealand – How are you supported into practice?

Working as a GP in New Zealand is something you’ve probably been thinking about for some time and wondering when is the right time to make the move.

Living and working down under has many benefits – a wonderful work / life balance, amazing scenery and outdoor activities and of course much more time with the family.

UK trained GPs are still very much in demand in New Zealand, and we have lots of fabulous GP jobs to choose from across both the north and south island.

Relocating to New Zealand as a GP can be a daunting process so you want to make sure you have the right team behind you to support you all the way.

Why Choose Transition Medical

Our team will support you through the entire process from initial arranging of interviews and advice on contracts through to managing your medical registration and visa application.

It’s a reasonably complex and time consuming process where the advice and support of our team is invaluable. Once we have secured you your dream job, the next step is to apply to the Medical Council of New Zealand. The MCNZ have strict English language requirements, comparability and referencing requirements. We will advise on the Registration pathway which is most appropriate for your experience, qualifications and long-term (or short term) goals for working in New Zealand.

In general, the MCNZ recognise GP training from the UK and Ireland. Unlike Australia, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the MRCGP qualification making it easier to find a post if you don’t have it. If you haven’t completed your GP training in the UK or Ireland then you are eligible if you have a minimum of 33 months recent GP experience from one of the following countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and USA.

As part of our expert GP Recruitment team, we have a Licenced Immigration Advisor who will advise on the most appropriate visa for you and your family and ensure this application is processed seamlessly.

Once your visa has been approved, we will support you in arranging Professional Indemnity Insurance, setting up new bank accounts, arranging your final Medical Council interview and much more.

Once in New Zealand, you will be allocated a Supervisor within the practice who will be on hand to ensure your smooth transition into practice. All new doctors entering New Zealand have this requirement and find it extremely useful whilst getting to grips with the new Healthcare system.

We have many years experience finding GPs jobs in New Zealand and managing all the paperwork associated. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your next steps don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Further Reading:

What is life like for GPs in New Zealand

8 Reasons to GPs to move to New Zealand

How does the Cost of Living compare in New Zealand to the UK

Your New Zealand GP Visa questions answered

GP Visa Options for New Zealand

As a GP relocating to New Zealand, there are both temporary and permanent visa options open to you, so long as you meet the criteria. The occupation ‘General Practitioner’ is on New Zealand’s Long-Term Skill Shortage List which gives you allows you eligibility to apply for a visa.

To meet the required standard, you need to hold NZ registration within a relevant provisional general, general, provisional vocational or vocational scope of practice with the Medical Council of New Zealand. This is something we will advise on once we have helped you secure a GP job in New Zealand.

NZ Temporary Visa Applications

The Essential Skills Work Visa is the most commonly used visa type if you have been offered a job and you are planning on a temporary stay. You must have the necessary skills and experience and be registered accordingly. This visa will be granted for the length of your contract up to a maximum of 5 years. You will also be required to meet general requirements such as character and health criteria.

You will be able to support visa applications for your Partner and any dependent children. With this visa you can work for an employer who has offered you a full-time position deemed as 30 hours per week or more.

Will I need a Medical?

If you are planning on staying in New Zealand for longer than 12 months then you will be required to have a medical examination and chest x-ray. Children younger than 11 and pregnant women do not need a chest x-ray unless a special report is needed. All medicals and chest X-rays are required to be completed by a Panel Doctor. We will advise you further of this and recommend where to have your medical done if required.

Bringing Partners and Children to New Zealand

If you are applying for a New Zealand visa based on your relationship, you and your partner will need to meet certain criteria.

  • Your partnership needs to be genuine and stable.
  • You must be living with your partner.
  • You must meet health and character requirements.
  • You must have the support of your partner.

A marriage certificate is suitable as evidence of being in a committed relationship. If you do not have this then you will need to provide evidence of living together. We will advise directly on your current circumstances.

Your dependent children can apply to join you in New Zealand. Generally, dependency is shown to be up to the age of 19 and fully dependant on you financially.

NZ Permanent Resident Visa Applications

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa allows you to live, work and study indefinitely in New Zealand providing you are 55 years of age or under. Your partner and dependent children aged 24 years and under can be included in your residence application. This is a points-based application currently requiring 160 points or above.

Work to Residence Visa is a temporary visa for up to 30 months but will allow you to apply for residence status after 24 months if you have a permanent or long-term job offer and you meet the work, qualification, age, health and character requirements.

Essential Skills Work Visa would be an option if you have been offered a job and you are planning on a temporary stay only. You must have the necessary skills and experience and be registered accordingly. This visa can be approved for up to five years duration.

How we Help

Here at Transition Medical, we don’t just find you the GP job of your dreams, we also manage your paperwork from start to finish. We have a specialist team on hand to guide you through the registration paperwork and once complete our Immigration Advisor at the Emigration Group will advise on the most suitable visa for you and your family. And this is all free of charge!

For further information or to discuss your circumstances directly please get in touch with one of the team here at Transition Medical.

Further Reading

Read our Other Blog Posts

Find out what life is like for GPs in New Zealand

8 Reasons to move to New Zealand

Is there an age Limit for GPs in New Zealand



Moving Your Family Pet to Australia or New Zealand from UK

As anyone with a family pet knows, leaving them behind simply isn’t an option. Yet the process of moving your pet to Australia or New Zealand can be complicated. You’ll need to find a pet transportation company, ensure your pet meets the essential criteria and has the right vaccinations, apply for an import permit, and send your pet through quarantine. With so much to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at first.

Our guide will explain the basics, connect you with the right resources and help you get started on the process of moving your pet to New Zealand or Australia.

Pet Import Requirements: Moving to New Zealand or Australia with a Dog or Cat

New Zealand and Australia are considered rabies-free countries, which means that there are strict requirements in place to ensure they stay that way. Thankfully, the United Kingdom qualifies as a category 3 country (an approved country where rabies is absent or well-controlled), which means that it’s relatively easier to relocate a pet from the UK.

In addition to being vaccinated against rabies, dogs must also:

  • Be over 9 months old (New Zealand only)
  • Not a hybrid
  • Not predominantly or wholly belonged to a banned breed (Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, perro de presa Canario, or American pit bull terrier)
  • Not pregnant or less than 42 days pregnant (New Zealand) or less than 30 days pregnant (Australia)

You can find out more about pet import requirements for New Zealand here or pet import requirements for Australia here.

Finding a Pet Exporter for Pet Relocation to Australia or New Zealand

While it’s possible to move your pet to Australia or New Zealand without the assistance of a pet exporter, hiring a company to tackle all the logistics certainly makes the process easier. We recommend shopping around to find one that suits your needs but here’s a list of some of our favourite pet exporter companies.

  • PetAir UK. Run by professional veterinarians, PetAir UK are experts at comfortably and safely transporting your pet anywhere in the world. They’ll help you handle all of the logistics and even create custom creates tailored specifically to your pet’s needs.
  • AirPets. Based in the UK’s largest airport, AirPets offer convenient and luxurious pet transport. Their door-to-door service and dedicated personal pet travel consult will take all of the hassle out of moving your pet to Australia or New Zealand.
  • Animal Airlines. Operating from nearly every major airport in the UK, Animal Airlines have been transporting pets internationally since the 1960s. They’ll handle everything from airline reservations to documentation and arranging quarantine.

Step One of Moving to Australia and New Zealand with Pets: Book Quarantine

Every animal arriving from outside New Zealand and Australia will need to spend ten days in a government approved quarantine facility. You’ll need to reserve their space and receive a confirmation letter before you can apply for an import permit. If you’re using a pet exporter company, they’ll handle this part of the process.

In New Zealand, pet quarantine facilities are privately owned which means you’ll have a range of options to choose from. An MPI approved list is available here and you can often make a booking online or via email.  We recommend reading the online reviews to make sure you select one that can meet your and your pet’s needs.

Australia only has one government approved quarantine facility, located in the Melbourne suburb of Mickleham. You’ll need to obtain an import permit and your pet will need their rabies vaccinations and RNATT certification before you can book quarantine. The facility fills up quick quickly so it’s important to make a reservation before planning your move to Australia. We recommend booking as soon as possible, but at least two months before your arrival.

Step Two of Pet Relocation to New Zealand and Australia: Book Your Flight

Both Australia and New Zealand have strict regulations about the airlines that can import animals and the airports animals can arrive at.

For New Zealand, it’s likely that your pet will have to enter New Zealand via Auckland as only certain airlines, like Air New Zealand, are allowed to import animals into the country. As the only quarantine facility in Australia is located in Melbourne, your pet will need to arrive at Melbourne International Airport, undergo the mandated quarantine period and THEN travel to its final destination.

A pet exporter can help you find the best flight and plan the safest route for your animal to travel.

Step Three of Moving Pets to Australia and New Zealand: Vaccinations

About 18 to six months before you relocate, you’ll need to start the rabies work. As New Zealand and Australia are rabies-free countries, all animals must receive a rabies vaccination before arrival.

Dogs and cats arriving from the United Kingdom are required to have their primary rabies vaccination at least six months (seven months for Australia) and a rabies blood sample at least three months (one month for Australia) before flying.  Even if you’ve had your animal previously vaccinated, it’s likely you’ll need to do it again as vaccinations must be given within the 12 months before travel.

Step Four of Moving to Australia or New Zealand with Pets: Veterinary Checks

Before travelling, you’ll need to have a veterinary check completed. The veterinary checks for Australia and New Zealand vary slightly.

For New Zealand, Dogs will need to be tested for Leptospira and heartworm and receive treatment against ticks and internal parasites while cats will need to be treated for ticks and worms (about three weeks before flying). Both dogs and cats will also need to be microchipped.

Dogs will also need to attend the vet about two weeks before flying to be tested for Babesia and Brucella. Both dogs and cats will need to see the vet two days before flying for a final check and treatment for ticks. This final check-up is required for the UK DEFRA export paperwork.

For Australia, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet about 52-43 days before travelling so that the vet can examine your dog for ticks and apply an anti-tick treatment. Make sure that your vet issues the right treatment as the Australian government has regulations about the treatments they can accept. As an entry requirement to Australia, your dog will also need to be vaccinated against Leptospira. During this initial vet appointment, you’ll also need to get the DEFRA export paperwork.

About a month before flying, you’ll need to return to your vet to have blood samples completed to confirm that your pet does not have any diseases like Ehrlichia, Leishmania or Brucella. Dogs and cats will also need to receive another tick and internal worm treatment.

The final veterinary check happens five days before your flight. At this appointment, your animal will receive a general check-up to ensure they’re healthy to fly and do not have any infectious or contagious diseases. Your vet will also need to complete the UK export paperwork.

Step Five of Moving a Dog or Cat to Australia or New Zealand: Import Permits

Pets travelling from the UK to Australia New Zealand will also need an import permit to fly. To apply for the permit, you’ll need to provide the quarantine confirmation letter and initial vet documents.

The vet documents need to confirm that your pet has been microchipped, has been vaccinated against rabies and has passed the Rabies Titer test. The documents also need to include an Official Veterinary Declaration (OVD).

For New Zealand, it can take up to a month to process the import permit and we recommend applying at least 20 days before arrival. The import permit is only valid for ten days from your intended arrival date so if you have a change in plans you’ll need to apply for another permit. Import permits for New Zealand are about half the price of Australian import permits and typically cost around NZ$220.74.

For Australia, the process typically takes about 42 days so we recommend applying two months before arrival. It’s also a relatively expensive application with Australian import permits costing around $480 AUD.

More information about the import permit and other steps you need to take to move your pet to New Zealand can be found in MPI’s handy guide and information about Australian import permits can be found here.

Have Questions About Moving to New Zealand or Australia as a Doctor?

At Transition Medical we help GPs, and their pets, make the move down under. Over the years, we’ve assisted many GPs move to New Zealand and Australia and have experience dealing with complicated issues like visas and pet relocation. Speak to one of our specialist recruitment professionals today to find out more or browse our current job openings.

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Moving to New Zealand from the UK: How Does New Zealand’s Education System Compare?

A crucial part of preparing to move to New Zealand with children is considering how they might adjust to the change. Naturally, you’ll have questions about New Zealand’s education system? Will your children be able to start school immediately? How does New Zealand’s education system differ to the UK’s?

Our blog article takes an in-depth look at the New Zealand education system for international students with a particular focus on how it differs from the UK. We hope it eases any concerns about emigrating to New Zealand and are happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

New Zealand’s Education System at a Glance 

Each year the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) assesses and compares educational systems across the world. Here’s how New Zealand’s education system measured up for early childhood education and schooling:

  • New Zealand ranked in the top third of OECD countries for early childhood indicators like participation and expenditure
  • New Zealand’s education system has some of the lowest teacher-child ratios
  • Youth employment, when compared to other OECD countries, remains high and New Zealanders are more likely to leave school sooner to pursue employment or further education opportunities
  • New Zealanders, between the ages of 15 to 29, not in employment, education or training (NEET) is lower than the OECD average

Overall, these results are quite positive. Students studying in New Zealand can expect to receive more individual attention from teachers due to the low teacher-child ratios and continue on to promising employment and education opportunities post-graduation.

Moving to New Zealand with Children: How Does New Zealand’s School System Work?

New Zealand provides free access to education for students between the ages of six to 16. Unlike British students, who typically start school between the ages of 4 to 5, New Zealand students don’t start school till after their 5th birthday and parents can choose to delay their education till the age of six.

Similar to the UK, the New Zealand education system also includes 13 years. Students typically attend primary schools from year 1 to 8 if it’s a ‘full’ primary school or year 1 to 6 if it’s a ‘contributing’ primary school. Pupils at ‘contributing’ primary schools then attend an intermediate school for years 7 and 8 before moving onto secondary school.

Secondary school, also sometimes referred to as ‘college’ or ‘high school’, covers years 9 to 13. New Zealand has a great teacher-student ratio for years 7 to 10 with most classes only having 16 students per teacher — well below the teacher-student ratios in the UK. Legally, students in New Zealand are allowed to leave secondary school before finishing year 13 but are not allowed to leave school till after their 16th birthday.

Types of Schools

The New Zealand education system has three types of schools:

  • State schools. State schools, also known as public schools, are owned and funded by the government. 75% of New Zealand students attend state schools. Education is free, but parents may need to pay for supplies or uniforms.
  • State integrated schools. Integrated schools are schools that follow a certain religious belief, teaching style, etc. These schools are funded by the government but may charge a compulsory fee of NZ $1,500/year for upkeep.
  • Private schools. Only 5% of New Zealand students attend private schools. Some schools have boarding facilities while others are only for day students. As private schools are not government funded, parents need to pay tuition which typically costs NZ$20,000 per year.

Key Takeaway: In general, New Zealand’s school system is very similar to the UK so students, as well as teachers, can seamlessly transition between the two.

New Zealand Education System: Smaller Class Sizes, More Individual Attention

New Zealand has a fantastic student-teacher ratio. In fact, one of the most notable differences between UK and New Zealand school systems is class sizes. Most New Zealand classes only have between 17 to 30 pupils and the official OECD ratio is 1:14 for secondary schools. On the other hand, the UK is known for large class sizes and OECD reports reveal that British schools have some of the largest class sizes in the developed world.

As such, students studying in New Zealand can expect to get plenty of focused, personal attention. Smaller class sizes can allow students to achieve better academic results, feel more supported and develop a closer relationship with their teachers.

New Zealand National Curriculum 

State and integrated schools throughout New Zealand use a national curriculum focusing on values, key competencies and subject areas. Students are encouraged to think creatively and analytically while building skills in core subjects like maths, English and science.

New Zealand also emphasises ecological sustainability, community and local cultures. As such, students are often taken on educational trips to explore New Zealand’s unique natural beauty and learn about local plants and animals. Studying in New Zealand will allow your child to learn about the nation’s Maori culture, history and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Key Takeaway: Attending a state or integrated school allows your child to learn about your new home’s incredible natural beauty and local culture.

Moving to New Zealand from the UK: Different School Days and Holidays

As a country in the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s seasons are almost the exact opposite of UK seasons. Summer in New Zealand runs from December to February while winter is from June to August. This also impacts school schedules:

  • Term 1: Late January to early April (two-week break)
  • Term 2: May to early July (two-week break)
  • Term 3: Late July to late September (two-week break)
  • Term 4: Mid-October to mid-December (six-weeks summer holiday)

Similar to the UK, Students still get a six week summer holiday. However, unlike the UK, the summer holiday happens between mid-December and late January!

For exact school holiday dates, check the Ministry of Education’s website.

How to Enrol Your Child in School

Once you’ve secured a job and know which town you’ll be living in, you need to start the enrolment process. Each school follows slightly different procedures so you’ll need to contact them directly and get their enrolment forms. When your child can start school will depend on whether they’ve had previous schooling.

Children Starting School Without Previous Schooling

Children in New Zealand typically start school on their fifth birthday, but parents can choose to delay their child starting school till their sixth birthday when they’re legally required to be enrolled in school.

Some schools allow students to start at any time of the year after their fifth birthday, while others have ‘cohort’ entries which means that all students start at the school at the beginning of the year. If your child is attending a school using the ‘cohort’ system, you can still choose to delay their entrance till their sixth birthday.

Children Starting School With Previous Schooling

If you have an older child that’s already received some previous schooling, you can enrol them in New Zealand schools at any time of year. They’ll be placed in the same year as other similarly aged students; for example, ten-year-olds will be placed in year 5 or 6.

Does Your Child Need a Visa to Study in New Zealand?

Whether your child can attend a state or state integrated school for free will depend on if they qualify as a domestic student. To be a domestic student, your child must be a New Zealand resident, permanent resident, citizen or obtain a student visa based on your temporary work visa.

As the child of a GP on a work visa, your child will qualify for a dependent child student visa and will be able to enrol in school as a domestic student.

Emigrate to New Zealand as a GP

Ready to start the process of emigrating to New Zealand from the UK? View some of our latest job vacancies or speak to one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have or help you get started on the move down under!

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