VOC3 Vocational (specialist) registration
We don't have a list of approved overseas postgraduate medical qualifications for vocational registration. You can apply based on overseas training and qualifications and we will assess your case on its merits.
To do this we will compare your training, qualifications and experience to those of a New Zealand-trained vocationally registered doctor holding the New Zealand or Australasian Fellowship, Diploma or Certificate in the same area of medicine.
The relevant specialist medical colleges complete these assessments and provide advice to Council. Council makes the final decision on all applications.
You can apply for registration in the provisional vocational scope of practice (leading to vocational registration) if you:
- have completed postgraduate medical training and gained a postgraduate medical qualification awarded at the end of specialist training.
- hold a primary medical degree from a university medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools
- meet legal "fitness for registration" requirements (including Council's English language requirements)
You must submit the required documents for primary source verification before applying.
Applying for registration
To apply, complete a VOC3 application form so we can assess your fitness for registration, competence and qualification.
We also recommend you review the VOC3b information document - this outlines the additional documents you'll need for your application. You may also want to review the relevant policies for this pathway to registration - these are listed at the bottom of this page.
You will need to provide three references. Please use the RP6 form for this. We will verify all of your applications as part of assessing your application.
Additional information for certain specialities
We require additional information if you are applying in the following areas:
- Emergency medicine,
- General practice
- Internal medicine,
- Obstetrics and gynaecology,
- Occupational medicine,
- Palliative medicine,
- Public health medicine,
- Sexual health medicine, and
- Surgical specialities (cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology head & neck surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic & reconstructive surgery, urology, and vascular surgery).
Please see the links below for what you need to provide:
This form lists the additional information the RACS requires if you're applying for vocational registration in cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology head & neck surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic & reconstructive surgery, urology, and vascular surgery.
We will keep you well informed about the status of your application as it proceeds. However, please be aware it can take six months for us to make a final determination on whether you are able to proceed with provisional vocational registration.
Assessment of your application
Once we have a complete application, we will arrange for your application to be assessed by the relevant Medical College (College). What form this will take will depend on whether you are already in New Zealand.
If you are overseas
We will request preliminary advice from the College if you are overseas. The College will complete an assessment of the documents you have provided and provide us with advice on whether they believe your training, qualifications and experience are likely to be equivalent to a locally trained specialist.
We will then consider this advice and advise you of our preliminary decision.
If you are in New Zealand
We will ask you to attend an interview with the College. At this interview the College will ask you detailed questions about your training, qualifications and experience. The College will then provide us with advice on whether your training, qualifications and experience are likely to be equivalent to those of a locally trained specialist.
We will then consider this advice and advise you of our decision on your application.
If we determine that you do not have training, qualifications and experience equivalent to or as satisfactory as the standard of a New Zealand-trained vocationally-registered doctor, we'll decline your application and advise you about other options for gaining registration in New Zealand.
If however we determine that your training, qualification and experience are equivalent to or as satisfactory as a locally trained specialist, you will be able to apply for one of two provisional vocational pathways - "supervision" or "assessment".
You can apply for this pathway if you:
- have qualifications, training and experience equivalent to that of a New Zealand vocationally trained medical practitioner registered in the same vocational scope of practice
- will be able to achieve registration in a vocational scope of practice within 12 months of obtaining registration in a provisional vocational scope.
To progress to a vocational scope you will need to:
- 6-12 months of satisfactory supervised practice
- enrol in the College's recertification programme.
You can apply for this pathway if you:
- have qualifications, training and experience as satisfactory as that of a New Zealand vocationally trained medical practitioner registered in the same vocational scope of practice
- will be able to achieve registration in a vocational scope of practice within 18 months of obtaining registration in a provisional vocational scope.
To progress to a vocational scope you will need to:
- complete 12-18 months of satisfactory supervised practice
- enrol in the College's recertification programme
- complete some other form of assessment suggested by the College.
Forms of assessment
Possible assessments you may have to complete include:
- a vocational practice assessment (VPA)
- the College's examination
- a period at a tertiary centre
- a logbook to be reviewed by the College at the end of the assessment period
- continuing medical education courses recommended by the College
- other forms of assessment, with evidence showing how an assessment is relevant to qualifications, training and experience.
Vocational practice assessment
A vocational practice assessment (VPA) is a one day workplace assessment, during which you will be visited by two assessors (specialists in the same area of medicine), who will interview you and your colleagues, review your records and observe your practice.
We will tell you if you have to undergo a VPA. The VPA will take place once you have completed 12-18 months of satisfactory supervised practice.
The purpose of the VPA is to assess your competence by confirming that you are:
- practising at the level of a doctor holding the New Zealand/Australasian postgraduate qualification
- practising at the level of a doctor registered in the same vocational scope of practice
- competent to practise independently and unsupervised in the relevant vocational scope of practice.
Application for provisional - approval of employment and supervision
If we decide you are eligible for provisional vocational registration, you will need to apply for approval of your employment and supervision. If you are applying down the "assessment" pathway, the College will be involved in this decision. This is to ensure your intended employment is suitable for any assessment requirements you need to meet. For example, if you need to work in a tertiary hospital, we would not consider employment in a rural hospital suitable.
Use the REG7 form to apply for approval of your employment and supervision.
The registration meeting
If your application for provisional vocational registration is successful, we will send you an 'eligibility for registration' letter. This confirms for other agencies like Immigration New Zealand that you are able to be registered and will give you the details for your registration meeting. For more information on the registration meeting, please see the link below.
If you are already registered in New Zealand (i.e. on a locum tenens special purpose scope), we may not require you to attend a registration meeting.
Registration, working under supervision and variations
Once we have received all the documents from your registration meeting and payment of your practising certificate fee we will register you in a provisional vocational scope and issue you with a practising certificate. Your practising certificate will include an endorsement requiring you to work under supervision in the position you have been approved for.
You will need to apply for a variation to your scope of practice if any of the details listed on your practising certificate need to change as a result of a change to your employment, position, or supervision. If you are on the "assessment" pathway, we will ask the College for advice on your proposed arrangement to ensure it is still suitable for your assessment requirements.
Progression to vocational scope
You can apply for registration in a vocational scope once you have completed all the requirements set by Council. To apply, complete a COS5 form and send this to us. In some cases, the College may have to sign off your application to to confirm they agree you have met all of the requirements.