Visa Teaser

I have found applying for registration with the New Zealand Medical Council to be a bit like the Generation Game. It looks fairly uncomplicated, but quickly turned into a farce.

My work visa has been delayed as the New Zealand Medical Council application (equivalent of GMC) is taking months.

As my job offer is for longer than six months, both the Council website and helpful employee advised me to apply for vocational registration . So I trogged over to a solicitor to get certified copies of all qualifications, cajoled native English speaking colleagues to vouch for my vowels so that I don’t have to pass an English language test, filled in the forms. Faxed them. Sent hard copies to be on the safe side. And waited.

After a frustrating round of chasing, I discovered that vocational registration is unlikely to be granted in the near future, so I am now in the process of applying for registration under the locum-tenens pathway because vocational application can take up to six months. This is confusing, as the website and forms specifically state that this is not the application route for those who have been offered posts for longer than six months. I wish I had known months ago that I ought to apply for both concurrently.

Today I found out that as part of the locum tenens application, the Council requires several references that have been verified by my new employer. Although my NZ employer already took up references last August, the Council only accepts those on a standard reference form. I have been asked to provide references from consultant psychiatrists who are able to comment on my clinical practice in the last two years.

There is an international shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. Luckily I have been working in a teaching hospital with good colleagues, but I wonder what would happen if I was in one of the many parts of the world where child psychiatrists work in relative isolation from other specialists in the same field.

Of course I understand the need for rigorous checks and wouldn’t want to see patient safety compromised, but this application process is rather frustrating and tortuous.

So, I’ve been leaning on colleagues for references and hope all the paperwork goes through in time to start the clinical post on 4th February. Fingers crossed I’ll have my medical checks and visa in time to fly out a week before, find somewhere to live and buy some wheels.

  • Dear Visa Teaser
    I work for an organisation funded by the Australian Government to recruit General Practitioners to rural areas of Tasmania – we are the small island state to the south of mainland Australia. And no, it is not freezing down here which is a common misconceprtion. Today we are enjoying a lovely 27deg which I imagine is quite different to what you are experiencing mid winter. Any way, just thought I would let you and others know that we are looking for VR’d GPs here in Tasmania and would love to hear from any of you if you fancy a year or two living and working out here. The Australian Medical Council has introduced national guidelines which we are all learning to comply with – the medical registration bureucracy can be frustrating everywehere I think, but at least with an organisation like ours we can guide you through the mine field with the minimum frustration risk. Drop me a line if you are interested.

  • Dr Will Packer

    Dear Viza Teaser,
    Sorry to hear that you have had such problems with your application. I am a british doctor with 3 years post graduate experience and have been working at SHO level in New Zealand for 12 months.

    I applied for Provisional Registration which I was granted without hassle. This enables me to work wherever I wish the only restriction being that I cannot work as locum for the first 12 months. On arrival in the country I had my degree certificate and passport photocopied and I was away.

    The transition to working in New Zealand is effortless – the health systems being identical. The hospital is very welcoming to British graduates – fifty new British graduates arrived this August in my hospital alone.

    It is scorchingly hot today in Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand. The hospital is located in the centre of town and is just 15 minutes from the sea, 20 minutes to the forest and 2 hours from ski fields in the most beautiful mountains…
    On calls are lighter, nurses are less stressed, all imaging is privately contracted so radiologists don’t shout down the phone at you. And you get a free lunch everyday.

    So my advice is to not give up and apply for provisional registration instead. It will absolutely be worth it when you are here.