Special purpose - locum tenens

The special purpose locum tenens scope of practice is for doctors with an overseas specialist qualification on our approved list, who have a job offer to work in New Zealand for 12 months or less.

Is this the right pathway for me?

This scope of practice is a good option if you want recognition as a specialist in New Zealand but are not ready for, or interested in, the vocational application process (VOC3).


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.

Making an application

To apply, you need a job offer for a position that includes supervision. You and your employer need to work together to complete your application using the following forms:

  • REG1

    Application for registration in New Zealand

  • REG3

    Doctors on provisional general and special purpose scope: Employer application for approval of position and supervisor

  • CHKL13

    Checklist for registration in New Zealand - locum tenens registration

  • RP6

    Referee report for use when applying for registration.

Primary source verification (EPIC)

As well as submitting your application, you will need to submit some of your documents for primary source verification. Please see the link below for more information.

The registration interview

We will consider your application once it is complete and we have received primary source verification of your documents. We will then let you know the outcome of your 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 are able to be registered and will give you the details for your registration interview. For more information about the registration interview, please see the page at the link below.

Registration, working under supervision and variations

Once we have received all the documents from your registration interview and payment of your practising certificate fee we will register you in a special purpose 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.

If any details on your certificate need altering because your employment, position, or supervision has changed - you need to apply for a variation to your scope of practice.

At the end of your contract

Once you have completed your contract, or worked for the maximum 12-month period, your Register entry will be cancelled. Please let us know if your contract ends earlier than expected.