Special purpose - locum tenens
You can apply for registration through this pathway if you have an overseas specialist qualification on our approved list, and have a job offer to work in New Zealand for 12 months or less.
If you intend to work in New Zealand for more than 12 months and wish to be registered as a specialist, then you will need to apply for provisional vocational registration: VOC3 Vocational (specialist) registration | Medical Council (mcnz.org.nz)
You can apply down this pathway if you:
- intend to work temporarily in New Zealand for up to 12 months maximum
- have an approved postgraduate qualification for the special purpose locum tenens scope of practice, in the area of medicine in which you wish to work
- have been in active clinical practice for at least 20 hours per week for 22 of the last 36 months, relevant to the area of medicine in which you wish to work
- have had at least six months' practice under the jurisdiction of another medical regulatory authority, within the 12 months preceding the application - and provide evidence of satisfactory participation in any recertification programmes required by the authority. If no such requirements have been set, evidence of ongoing professional development during that period is required.
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 for 12 months or less that includes supervision.
Before you apply for registration, please refer to Checklist 13 (online applications) to find out what documents you and your employer will need to submit for us to consider your application.
To make an application, you will need to apply online through Council’s online portal, myMCNZ . Click here to request a PIN so you can establish a myMCNZ account if you don't already have one.
You must work with your employer to complete your application online, as there are sections of the application that can only be completed by your employer.
Employer application for approval of position and supervisor (UK & Irish graduates and locum tenens pathways)
Checklist 13: Special purpose - locum tenens - only for use with online applications made via myMCNZ
Referee report for use when applying for registration.
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
Eligibility for registration
We will consider your application once it is complete and then let you know the outcome of your application. Our processing time is 20 working days from the time we receive a complete application.
If your application is successful, we will send you an 'eligibility for registration' letter. This confirms for other agencies like Immigration New Zealand that you can be registered and give you the instructions for your registration meeting.
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 special purpose locum tenens 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.
All international medical graduates coming to New Zealand to practise medicine for the first time must attend a registration meeting and be able to produce the information we've asked for.
Working under supervision and variations
You must work under supervision while registered within the special purpose locum tenens scope of practice.
Further information about supervision is available here.
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 special purpose locum tenens scope of practice and any requirements imposed by Council specific to you. If your employment, supervision, position or location changes, you must apply for an amendment or variation to the endorsement on your practising certificate.
You must apply for a variation, at least 20 days in advance of your planned change. You must wait for Council to confirm that the change has been approved before commencing under any new arrangements.