LOCATION New Zealand

Working as a GP in New Zealand

Want to find out more about working as a GP in NZ? Here we explain a little more about the what the country can offer. New Zealand is consistently rated as a country with one of the highest qualities of life in the world. It offers a safe environment for the whole family offering a great outdoor lifestyle. New Zealand is an increasing multicultural society that appeals due to its diversity, laid back way of life and temperate climate.

New Zealand offers GPs the opportunity to enjoy a genuine high quality work – life balance in either a fixed term contract or working holiday or for those making a permanent move.

New Zealand is made up of two main islands and numerous smaller ones: the North Island (known as Te Ika-a-Maui in Maori) is the more populous of the two, and is separated by the Cook Strait from the somewhat larger but much less populated South Island (or Te Waipounamu).

There are just 5 million New Zealanders, scattered across 270,534 sq km: bigger than the UK with one-fourteenth the population. New Zealand is the land of extremes with sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and glaziers. It is relatively easy to travel around with distances between different towns and cities not being too great, transport networks are well developed with airports throughout the country and well maintained highways.

Why work as a GP in New Zealand?


The majority of the country enjoys mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and many hours of sunshine. The far north experiences subtropical weather during the summer and it gets cooler the further south you go. Most places receive over 2000 hours of sunshine each year! Summer months average between 20 – 30 degrees whilst winter is cooler between 10 – 15 degrees.

Quality of Life

Many of our GPs move to get that enviable work / life balance. Most GPs in NZ, work 32 hours per week over 4 days. The working day is much more relaxed with standard 15 minute appointment times and built in time for tea breaks and paperwork.

No Geographical restrictions

In New Zealand, GPs can work in any location, with no restrictions on where you can work. This means you can work in a leafy suburb of Auckland, in the trendy city of Wellington or live by the beach in Tauranga or work in a more rural setting. The choice is yours! The wonderful outdoors! – New Zealand has so much to offer. A relaxed lifestyle, stunning scenery, great food and wine, outdoor sports and activities and friendly communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to apply for a job in NZ where can I work?

Anywhere, there are no restrictions on where you can work. Options are city based GP jobs, rural jobs or something in-between.

How long are the contracts?

Minimum contracts tend to be 12 – 24 months. You can sometimes find 6 month GP jobs but this will limit your options.

How long does the paperwork take?

We suggest approximately 3 months from job acceptance to visa approval.

What is MCNZ registration?

The Medical Council New Zealand (MCNZ) is the national organisation responsible for doctor registration and accreditation. To practise medicine legally in New Zealand you must be registered with the MCNZ.

Will I work under supervision?

In NZ you will work under supervision while registered within the provisional general scope of practice. After around 9 months you can apply for general scope of practice.

Why do I have to meet English language skills registration standards?

To be registered as a health practitioner in NZ you must be able to demonstrate that your English language skills will enable you to safely practice your profession. If you’ve taken your original medical diploma in English, then you don’t need to take a language test. If not, then you will need to prove otherwise.

If you are currently practising in a non-English country then it’s likely you’ll need to sit an English exam such as IELTS / OET. If you’re working in the UK but completed your Medical training elsewhere then you may be able to meet the English language policy via references. You can click here for further info for the English Language policy for NZ

Can I work part time on the visa?

To work in NZ, you are required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week. Most of our doctors sign an 8 session per week contract which is 32 hours per week or 4 days.

Is there an upper age limit for the work visa?

No there are no age requirements on the temporary visa. However, if you want to apply for residence at a later date there is an upper age limit of 55.

Do I need private health insurance?

If you’re a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand then you’re eligible for a range of publicly funded healthcare services. However, having private health insurance may allow you more control over where and how you want to get treated, and which specialist you want treatment from.

New Zealand has a reciprocal agreement with the UK and Australia so if you live in either of these, you are entitled to range of publicly funded services.

How will I be taxed?

New Zealand works on an incremental tax system with proportions of tax calculated at 17.5%, 30% and 33%. Anything earned over $180K is taxed at 39%. We can provide you with a calculator to work out how much income you’ll have after tax – please get in touch for more information.