International medical graduates
International medical graduates (IMGs) are doctors who obtained their primary medical qualification in a country other than New Zealand. This does not necessarily mean a doctor is new to the workforce. A lot of IMGs will have worked in New Zealand for many years, sometimes decades.
Explanation of terms used in this dashboard
International medical graduates (IMGs)
We define international medical graduates (IMGs) as doctors who obtained their primary medical qualification in a country other than New Zealand. This does not necessarily mean a doctor is new to the workforce. A lot of IMGs will have worked in New Zealand for many years, sometimes decades.
The country of a doctor's primary medical qualification is separate from their ethnicity and country of birth or nationality.
Workforce survey data
We ask doctors for workforce data as part of their application to renew their practising certificate. This section of the application collects detailed information from doctors about the work they are doing. This fills in the gaps not covered by register data and non-register registration data enriching these datasets.
We collect ethicity data from doctors as part of the workforce survey, completed by doctors at the time of renewing their annual practising certificate. Doctors can choose not to report their ethnicity. Ethnicity data has been linked with registration data to enable reporting on the demographic breakdown of registered medical doctors.
Doctors can report up to three ethnicities. However, when we report data, we assign each doctor a single ethnicity using a simplified version of Statistics New Zealand’s prioritisation standard. The ethnicity we use in analysis is the one reported by the doctor with the highest priority.
The priority order is:
- Pasifika (Pacific Island or Pacific Peoples)
- Other non-European
- Other European
- New Zealand European/Pākehā.
The Council supports the right of people to identify with non-binary genders and have this reflected in their official record. Doctors can update their recorded gender identity at any time through the myMCNZ portal.
There are a small number of doctors on the register with a current practising certificate who identify as gender diverse - four as of 30 June 2023. We have not presented these doctors as a separate group when data has been broken down by gender because of the small size of the group, and the need to preserve privacy.
Gender is a complex area. Not all doctors who identify as a different gender from what they were assigned at birth will have chosen to identify as Gender Diverse. Some will have chosen to record the gender with which they do identify (eg Male or Female).
Representativeness of survey data
Our workforce survey has a very high response rate - 98.1 percent in 2022. We believe the response is representative and that valid conclusions can be drawn from the data. We make this assertion based on the population size and demographic comparison of the survey data with register data.
The size of the population for our survey is the number of doctors with a current practising certificate - 18,963 as of 31 March 2023. For a population of this size a response rate of 98.1 percent should provide 99 percent certainty. Demographic comparison of the survey data to medical register data shows only very small differences.
See our workforce survey reports for more detail: