Postgraduate training

Two-year limit on postgraduate training

This special purpose scope of practice is available for a maximum of two years only, and has certain restrictions. Therefore, if you are eligible for a permanent form of registration, we strongly suggest that you apply for the permanent option.

Special purpose postgraduate training registration is available for doctors looking to come to New Zealand on a temporary basis, to gain experience and skills to take back to their home or sponsor country.


The postgraduate training pathway has very specific requirements. It is only available to you if:

  • you are being sponsored by, or on behalf of, a country or organisation to which you will return after the proposed training period, OR
  • you are enrolled in a formal vocational training programme in your own country, OR
  • you hold a formal postgraduate qualification accepted by the Council as indicating competence in the branch of medicine you will practice in New Zealand, OR
  • you have worked for at least 12 months in an institution that has an exchange programme with a New Zealand hospital or medical school.

You must also meet all of the following requirements:

  • hold a primary medical degree listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools
  • have an offer of employment in New Zealand that confirms your fellowship or other training position
  • have been registered and actively practising in your home or sponsor country for a minimum of one year immediately prior to application
  • have confirmed employment in your home country that will commence after your proposed training in New Zealand is finished. We will need evidence of this.
  • meet our "fitness for registration" requirements including our Policy on English Language.

Additional requirements

In addition to the requirements above, there are other requirements that must be met by you and your employer. These are:

Employer approval:

  • within a hospital, your post-graduate training application must be approved by the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, or their delegate. They must confirm that the position is part of a fellowship or training programme, and that the main purpose is for you to gain postgraduate experience (as opposed to delivering a service)
  • within an organisation other than a hospital, we require high level sign-off from an appropriate person or organisation (at the discretion of our Registration Manager).

Induction and supervision:

  • your proposed supervisor must provide a robust onsite induction and supervision plan that includes details of your orientation to the New Zealand health system.


  • your employer must confirm to us that your training will not be funded by the Investment Relationship and Purchasing arm of Health Workforce New Zealand.

Night cover:

  • You must not take part in night cover for the first three months of your employment, and after that only if it is safe for you to do so.

Relief clinical attachments:

  • you are only permitted to work in a relief clinical attachment during your registration if your training is in a cardiothoracic surgical training unit.

Limit on trainee numbers:

  • there is a limit on the number of post-graduate trainees who can be placed at any one centre. A doctor holding a special purpose postgraduate scope of practice cannot make up more than a 1:3 ratio of doctors on a service.


  • if you have special purpose postgraduate training registration you will not be able to enrol in a vocational training programme offered by a New Zealand or Australasian College
  • your employer must confirm that you will take part in at least 2 hours of teaching each week, and you will attend any relevant tutorials and grant rounds. Your reports must confirm that this is happening.
  • you must report to us every three months, using our approved reporting form. Your reports must include your progress against learning objectives (delivery and outcomes) and give details of your supervised practice.
  • Policy on night cover

    Policy for doctors registered in the special purpose postgraduate training scope in relation to working nights.

Applying for registration

Before you submit your application you must have a job offer and proposed supervision. You must also submit training objectives with your application, commensurate with the length of your proposed training in New Zealand, and specify how your training will be monitored and the outcomes measured.

You and your employer will have to put together a complete application using the Checklist 11. Once your application is complete, and you have submitted your required documents for primary source verification, you can submit your application to Council.

The forms that you need to complete are included below.

  • REG1

    Application for registration in New Zealand

  • REG3

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

  • CHKL11

    Postgraduate training - Checklist for registration in New Zealand

  • PGT Objectives Guide

    This guide is for supervisors who are creating robust training objectives for doctors applying for registration in New Zealand under the Special Purpose Post Graduate Training pathway.

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.

Practising in New Zealand

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 recording that you are required to work under supervision in the position that was approved in your application for registration.

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.

Once you have completed your contract, or worked for the maximum 2 year period, your registration will be cancelled.

We will not consider any applications to extend your post-graduate training registration beyond two years.

Registration within this special purpose scope of practice is not a pathway to permanent registration. If you want to continue practising in New Zealand, you may wish to consider applying for admission to NZREX Clinical – our registration examination. Note: an application to sit NZREX Clinical will not be accepted while you are still registered within the special purpose postgraduate training scope of practice.