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Becoming a doctor in New Zealand as an International Medical Graduate

Becoming a doctor in New Zealand as an International Medical Graduate

Becoming a doctor in New Zealand:

Becoming a doctor in New Zealand as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) involves a comprehensive process. Here’s a detailed guide:

Step 1: Eligibility Assessment:

Process: Confirm that your medical qualifications are recognized by the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ).

Apply for an eligibility assessment through MCNZ, providing the necessary documents and information.

Consideration: Ensure that your qualifications meet the standards set by MCNZ.

Expense: Eligibility Assessment Fee: NZD 745 (as of the last update).

Step 2: English Language Proficiency:

Process: Demonstrate proficiency in English through an approved language test such as IELTS or OET.

Meet the required minimum scores specified by MCNZ.

Consideration: Adequate language skills are crucial for effective communication in a healthcare setting.

Expense: English Language Proficiency Test Fee: Varies but approximately NZD 385 to NZD 400.

Step 3: New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX Clinical):

Process: If required, sit for the NZREX Clinical exam, a practical assessment of clinical skills and knowledge.

Prepare thoroughly for the exam, which assesses your ability to practice safely in New Zealand.

Consideration: Success in NZREX Clinical is a key milestone for international medical graduates.

Expense: NZREX Clinical Exam Fee: NZD 5,950 (as of the last update).

Step 4: Provisional Registration and Internship:

Process: Upon passing NZREX Clinical, apply for provisional registration with MCNZ.

Participate in the Resident Medical Officer (RMO) recruitment process to secure an internship position.

Consideration: The internship is a supervised practice period crucial for gaining practical experience.

Expense: MCNZ Registration Fee: NZD 745 (as of the last update).

Step 5: Complete the Intern Year:

Process: Undertake the intern year, which is a supervised practice period.

Expense: Living expenses during the intern year.

Step 6: Vocational or General Registration:

Process: After completing the intern year, apply for either Vocational or General Registration with MCNZ.

Expense: MCNZ Registration Fee for Vocational or General Registration: NZD 1,145 (as of the last update).

Step 7: Full Registration:

Process: After completing the internship, apply for full registration with MCNZ.

Fulfils all requirements, including continuing professional development and meeting necessary standards.

Consideration: Full registration allows for independent practice as a doctor in New Zealand.

Expense: Application fees for residency programs may vary.

Step 8: Postgraduate Training and Specialization:

Process: Consider pursuing postgraduate training or specialization in your chosen medical field.

Apply for training programs and positions, adhering to the specific requirements.

Consideration: Specialization enhances expertise and career prospects.

Step 9: Continuous Professional Development:

Process: Engage in ongoing professional development activities to maintain registration.

Expense: Costs associated with attending conferences, workshops, and courses for professional development.

The total estimated expenses for the entire process can range from NZD 10,000 to NZD 20,000 or more, depending on individual circumstances, lifestyle choices, and the pathway chosen.

Additional Considerations:

Visa Requirements: 

  • Ensure compliance with New Zealand’s visa regulations for international medical practitioners.
  • Apply for the appropriate visa to reside and work in the country.

Challenges and Considerations:

Competitive Nature:

Securing internship positions and postgraduate training can be competitive.


Adjusting to the New Zealand healthcare system and cultural nuances is essential.

Financial Planning:


Budget for exam fees, registration fees, living expenses, and potential costs associated with relocation.

Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Explore available scholarships and financial aid options for international medical graduates.

Part-Time Work:

Explore part-time work opportunities during studies (keeping in mind visa regulations).

Loan Options:

Investigate loan options for international medical graduates.


Becoming a doctor in New Zealand as an IMG involves a multi-step process, from eligibility assessment to full registration and potential specialization. It requires dedication, language proficiency, and a commitment to meeting the standards set by MCNZ. Stay informed about the latest requirements and regulations to navigate the pathway successfully.

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