Comparable health system
You can apply for registration through this pathway if you have recent experience in a comparable health system.
Council currently recognises 24 countries as having health systems comparable to New Zealand. Please check the list to ensure your experience qualifies you for registration.
You can apply for registration through this pathway if you:
- hold an acceptable primary medical qualification; and
- have practised clinically for at least 33 months, for at least 20 hours per week, during the 48 months prior to application, in one or more comparable health systems; and
- have practised in the same or a similar area of medicine, and at a similar level of responsibility to the proposed New Zealand position for those 33 months; and
- hold current full or general registration with the regulatory authority of at least one of the comparable health systems worked in during the 48 months, or
- are satisfactorily participating in a training programme recognised by the American Boards or the Canadian specialist colleges or be registered by the Irish Medical Council as a specialist trainee; and
- meet our “fitness for registration” requirements.
Alternative pre-requisites for general practitioners
If you do not meet the above prerequisites, you can apply for registration through this pathway to work as a general practitioner if you:
- have completed a formal postgraduate training programme and been awarded a postgraduate qualification in general practice in a comparable health system within the preceding three years immediately prior to application; and
- have practised in a comparable health system, for at least 33 months (for at least 30 hours per week) of the 48 months prior to application, including at least 18 months (full-time equivalent) of practice in general practice in an area in which the range of presentations and patient base is not restricted; and
- hold current full or general registration with the regulatory authority of at least one of the comparable health systems worked in during the 48 months; and
- meet our “fitness for registration” requirements.
Any doctor applying for registration in New Zealand must be fit for registration and fit to practise medicine. It's a legal requirement on us to ensure they are. We determine this as part of our assessment of your application for registration.
Applying for registration
You can apply for registration via this pathway if, you:
- meet all the prerequisites; and
- have a job offer that includes supervision.
Before you apply for registration, please refer to Checklist 4 to find out what documents you will need to submit for us to consider your application.
You must work with your employer to complete your application, as there are documents that can only be completed by your employer.
Application for registration in New Zealand
Checklist 4: Comparable health system - checklist for registration in New Zealand.
Checklist 5: Practice profile form for use by doctors applying down the comparable health system pathway.
Primary source verification of documents
You must send the required documents for primary source verification through the EPIC system before you submit your application. The verification process can take time and we cannot start processing your application until we have received evidence that this process is underway.
Doctors who hold overseas qualifications and who want to apply for registration in New Zealand must have key documents verified from their primary source.
Special instructions and FAQs for applicants to the Medical Council of New Zealand
The purpose of the registration meeting is to confirm your identity, complete registration formalities, apply for a practising certificate and to discuss your supervision requirements while working in New Zealand.
Following the meeting and once payment for your practising certificate has been received, we will grant you registration within the provisional general scope and you will be issued with a practising certificate. Please allow three days after your meeting for your practising certificate to be issued. You can’t practise in New Zealand until your registration has been confirmed and you have a practising certificate. You can only work within the endorsement and any conditions specific to you noted on your practising certificate.
Working under supervision
You must work under supervision while registered within the provisional general scope of practice. Please see the link below for further information about supervision.
All international medical graduates (IMGs) registered in a provisional general, provisional vocational and special purpose scope of practice must be supervised. This is to support their practice while they become familiar with the New Zealand health system and the expected standard of medical practice.
Your practising certificate will include an endorsement allowing you to work under approved supervision and employment.
You cannot work outside the requirements of your provisional scope of practice and any specific requirements imposed by Council. You must apply for a variation to the endorsement on your practising certificate if your employment, supervision, position or location changes.
You need to apply at least 20 days in advance of your planned change. You must then wait for Council to confirm that the change has been approved before commencing work under the new arrangement.
Progression to general scope
Progression to registration in the General scope of practice is not automatic. You can apply for a change of scope once you have:
- completed 12 months fulltime equivalent working within the provisional general scope of practice, and
- received three satisfactory supervision reports for the nine months of medical practice completed immediately prior to applying for registration in the General scope of practice, and
- been recommended for registration in the General scope of practice by your Council-approved supervisor.
If you do not achieve these requirements within a 12-month period, you need to continue to work under supervision until you have.
Application for general scope of practice for doctors on a provisional general scope of practice (excluding Interns).
Conditions on general scope
Your general scope of practice will be limited to the area of medicine you worked in during your provisional period of registration (unless you worked in general practice, in which case your general scope of practice will have no limitation).
General scope without limitation
You must complete six months of satisfactory supervised practice in medicine and six months of satisfactory supervised practice in surgery during your provisional period of registration to qualify for an unlimited General scope of practice. This means that, after you have been working in New Zealand for six months in the area of medicine you are eligible to work in, you would need to make an application to:
- work in an area of medicine where you do not have recent experience in a comparable health system. For example, if you initially worked for 6 months in internal medicine, you would need to work the subsequent six months in a surgical scope at the level of a house officer or senior house officer (PGY1 and PGY2 levels);
- work in a Council-accredited hospital which provides prevocational training. This will ensure you receive adequate support, training and opportunities. Please note, you will not need to work in accredited clinical attachments. However, you will need to obtain approval from the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital where you work, confirming your role has adequate supervision and assessment.
If you wish to gain an unlimited General scope after you have gained registration in the General scope of practice, you must work under supervision for a further six months and fulfil the above requirements.
Policy on changing the scope of practice for doctors registered within a provisional general without limitations
This policy outlines the requirements you must meet in order to be issued a general scope without limitations.
You don't need to work under supervision once you're registered in a general scope. However, you must continue to meet the Council’s recertification requirements. The Council requires this to maintain the high standards of competence and fitness to practise of doctors in New Zealand.
You can meet our requirements by participating in either:
- the Inpractice recertification programme , administered by bpacnz, or
- an accredited vocational training programme.
See the link below for more information around recertification requirements for doctors on the General scope.
This page sets out the recertification programme requirements for doctors registered and practising in the General scope of practice only. This is typically either participation in a medical college vocational training programme, or in the Inpractice recertification programme.