Special purpose scope policy
This policy sets out our requirements for doctors wishing to enter New Zealand to:
• teach as a visiting expert
• undertake post-graduate training and/or experience
• carry out research
• work as a locum tenens for up to 12 months
• work in an emergency or other unpredictable, short-term situation
• work in a pandemic or disaster
• provide teleradiology services to New Zealand patients, for up to 12 months.
To qualify for registration within a special purpose scope of practice you must:
- hold an acceptable primary medical degree from a university medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.
- satisfy our English language requirements
- be fit for registration
- be competent to practise within a special purpose scope
- in addition to the points above, satisfy all of our requirements for the particular special purpose scope in which you wish to practise.
Our particular requirements for each special purpose scope are given below
Download English language policy (March 2014, PDF)
Teach as a visiting expert
You must be invited by an organisation or institution we have approved. They must specify the nature of any patient contact.
Download More requirements for teaching as a visiting expert (January 2012, 158 KB)
Do post-graduate training
The requirements for post-graduate training are more extensive and are available at the following link.
Carry out research
Your research project must have the approval of a formally constituted ethics committee in
New Zealand. Also, the patients’ informed consent must be gained, if any patient treatment is involved.
Work as a locum tenens
- have an acceptable postgraduate qualification in the branch of medicine in which you want to work
- have been working in active clinical practice (20 hours per week) relevant to the branch of medicine in which you are applying, for at least 22 of the past 36 months
- in the 12 months preceding your application, have had at least 6 months’ practice under the jurisdiction of another medical regulatory authority, with evidence of satisfactory participation in any recertification programmes required by that authority during that time. Or, where no recertification requirements have been set by that authority, you must provide separate evidence of ongoing professional development during that period of practice.
- be appointed to a supervised role that is not able to be filled by a New Zealand resident doctor
Note: you may work in a specialist role for a maximum of 12 months (within an 18 month period). If you want to practise in New Zealand beyond 12 months, you will need to apply for registration within a vocational scope of practice.
Work as a teleradiologist
Registration to provide teleradiology services to New Zealand patients and health consumers may be provided for up to a year.
The requirements for teleradiology are extensive, more information is available in our Teleradiology requirements section.
Assist in an emergency or other unpredictable, short-term, situation
You must have qualifications appropriate to the requirements of the emergency or other unpredictable situation, as set out by us.
Assist during a disaster or pandemic
- hold an acceptable primary medical qualification, be registered with the Council and hold a current PC; or
- have completed at least 5 years of study at a recognised NZ medical school; or
- have previously been registered with the Council; or
- hold satisfactory registration with another medical profession regulator; and
- meet any other criteria set by the Registrar and published on the Council’s website or in such other way as is practicable.
Conditions on registration within a special purpose scope of practice
If you are working within a special purpose scope of practice you must work:
- in a New Zealand hospital, general practice, educational institution or other organisation approved by us
- under the supervision of a registered doctor approved by us
- only for the duration specified for your particular special purpose scope
- within a Council recognised scholarship or fellowship programme.
You will be unable to undertake any clinical work other than that approved by us.
Limits on registration within a special purpose scope
You should be aware that registration within a special purpose scope of practice is not a pathway to registration within a general or vocational scope of practice.
Time registered within a special purpose scope of practice will therefore not be counted towards gaining registration within any other scope of practice in New Zealand.