Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I go about finding a job in Australia or New Zealand?
A: There are a number of ways to search for an appropriate role. We recommend building a strong relationship with an experienced medical recruitment agency who is a market leader, such as IMR, where you have access to the best opportunities to suit your specific requirements, as well as one on one support during your credentialing and relocation process for you and your family.
Q: How long does the recruitment process take?
A: The duration of the process can vary greatly dependent on a number of things including your specialty, seniority and current location. You should be prepared to allow a number of months, taking into account job sourcing, interviews and relocation process and it is best to get in contact with your recruitment agency at least 12 months prior to planned commencement date. As a general rule processing takes longer for Australia than it does for New Zealand.
Q: How does the recruitment process work?
A: Once your application is successful, hospitals and practices usually proceed first with a telephone interview, after which they may be in a position to offer you employment or they may offer to fly you out to attend an interview in person. This usually depends on the seniority of the role.
Once you have accepted a job offer, you will be then required to work through the credentialing process with the relevant medical colleges, registration/licensing bodies, and immigration department. These processes can be quite time consuming, and are far easier to navigate when using an experienced recruitment agency who has managed these processes numerous times.
Q: Can I find a job without using a medical recruitment agency?
A: The short answer to this is yes – it is possible for you to source a job offer yourself, however an experienced recruitment agency that is based onshore in Australasia will provide you with access to many unadvertised vacancies that you may not be aware of. In addition, the guidance that a skilled recruitment agency can provide in completing the maze of credentialing paperwork for the registration and immigration process is invaluable and will save you hundreds of hours of your own personal time.
Q: Does using a medical recruitment agency cost anything?
A: Some agencies will charge you for various services, and this is something you should certainly be wary of prior to signing up. IMR’s services are entirely free of charge and we pride ourselves on knowing that that every doctor we place is paid the exact same rates as their Australasian colleagues. We never take a percentage of your salary and we try to negotiate the best package for you every time.
Q: Does registering with more than one medical recruitment agency improve my chances?
A: You are able to register with more than one agency, but this will not in any way assist you in finding a better job. Experienced agencies like IMR will be able to represent you nationally for all roles that are available, and therefore registering with multiple agencies can often serve to cause confusion.
Q: Will my employer pay for my relocation costs?
A: In many cases your employer will offer you a generous relocation package but this can vary depending on the facility, and also the seniority of your role. The experienced staff at IMR will be able to guide you on what benefits you can expect when applying for roles.
Q: How much does it cost for medical registration/licensing and a work visa?
A: For up to date fees we recommend that you visit the following links:
Medical Board of Australia: http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration/Fees.aspx
Department of Immigration and Citizenship: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs/
Medical Council of New Zealand: http://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registered/fees-forms-and-checklists/
Immigration New Zealand: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/general/formsandfees/
Q: Will IMR advise me of the locations my application is being sent to before applying?
A: At IMR we respect your privacy and confidentiality, and we are able to tailor our approach to suit your individual requirements. After consultation, if you would like us to go ahead and make applications based on your preferences simply because you are short of time, then we are happy to do so.
Otherwise, we are more than happy to provide you with detailed information so that you can make the decision yourself prior to us sending your application. You will work closely with your own Medical Recruitment Specialist in your preferred manner to maximise the chances of you finding the best possible opportunity that meets your needs.
Q: Will IMR assist me with my CV and the interview process?
A: IMR has over a decade of experience in assisting doctors with applications and the medical interview process, and we are very familiar with the preferences of facilities in Australia and New Zealand. We will ensure that your application is as strong as it can be before putting it forward and provide you with guidance on how to best represent yourself in the Australasian healthcare market.
Q: What documents do I need to provide?
A: Initially you will simply just need to provide us with a copy of your CV. Based on your individual circumstances, we will be able to advise you as to what other documentation you may be expected to collate throughout this process. Some of the documents to think about include references, medical qualifications, passport, high school certificate and current medical registration/license.
Working in Australia and New Zealand:
Q: Am I eligible to work, or will I need to take exams?
A: In many cases doctors are able to work in Australia or New Zealand without taking any exams, however this will depend on your experience and qualifications. For a more detailed description of the eligibility requirements, please download your FREE copy of our Doctor’s Guide.
Q: Will I need to take an English exam?
A: Generally, English proficiency requirements are based on whether you completed your education in a country that is deemed to speak English as the first or native language. Australia and New Zealand have slightly different requirements – for full details, please click on the following links:
Medical Board of Australia: http://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Registration-Standards.aspx
Medical Council of New Zealand: http://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registered/how-to-register/
Q: Can I get into training positions?
A: Each specialty college has different requirements to be considered eligible to join an accredited training program. As with many medical training programs throughout the world some training programs are more competitive than others. Our Medical Recruitment Specialists will be able to advise you further on the specific requirements of each college. You can also visit our Links & Resources page for a full list of specialty colleges.
Q: Do I need to provide references prior to being offered a position?
A: The majority of facilities will require 3 clinical references prior to offering a position, and many require references prior to moving forward with a telephone interview. We recommend that you obtain clinical references as soon as possible.
Q: Do I need medical malpractice or indemnity insurance?
A: You may be required to obtain malpractice insurance regardless of whether you are working in a public or private setting. Some public hospitals may provide you with cover you under their policy, however we recommend that you review whether you require your own “top-up” cover in addition to this.
Q: How long are most contracts offered for?
A: Generally most contracts in Australia and New Zealand are offered for a minimum of 12 months, however in New Zealand you may sometimes be able to secure a 6 or even 3 month placement.
Q: Will I only be able to work in a rural area?
A: One of the most common myths associated with working in Australia and New Zealand is that you will need to work in a rural area. Whilst there are some geographical restrictions imposed on some doctors, there are still many positions available in urban city locations. Naturally the larger cities tend to be more competitive, however as a general rule there are positions available in most areas in both countries.
Q: Can I work in private practice as a Specialist/Consultant?
A: If the position and the practice meet the requirements set by the registration/licensing board then you can certainly work in a private practice setting. Your Medical Recruitment Specialist will be happy to address any queries you have on practicing in a private setting, and will be able to provide further information based on your specific situation.
Q: When are the main intake periods?
A: The Australian clinical year commences in January, however many facilities also conduct a large intake of junior and middle grade doctors in August. The clinical year in New Zealand for Registrars commences in December, whilst for more junior doctors the year is broken into four quarters commencing in February, May, August and November respectively. Having said this, dependent on specific needs of the facility, it is possible to commence a role at any time of the year and this is certainly very common with more senior appointments.
Living in Australia & New Zealand:
Q: What are the salaries like?
A: The salaries differ slightly in Australia and New Zealand, and also vary based specialty, seniority, and the location of your role. As a general rule your package will include a base salary on top of which you can earn extra for on-call/overtime and other initiatives like salary packaging and superannuation (Australia only). For detailed salary information and a breakdown of specialties and seniorities please download your FREE copy of our Doctor’s Guide.
Q: What are the tax rates?
A: Tax rates in Australia and New Zealand differ based on what salary bracket you fall into. Please visit the following links for further information:
Australian Taxation Office: www.ato.gov.au
NZ Inland Revenue Department: www.ird.govt.nz
Q: What is the cost of living like?
A: The cost of living in both Australia and New Zealand is generally seen to be fairly inexpensive when compared to other first world western countries. Both countries enjoy very high standards of living, and the average doctor’s salary will generally allow for a more than comfortable quality of life.
Q: What is the climate like?
A: Due to the geographic size of Australia and New Zealand, the climate in both countries can be quite varied between regions. The southern parts of Australia enjoy temperate climates with distinct seasons, and can be quite cold in winter whilst very hot in summer. The northern parts of Australia enjoy a tropical climate with higher humidity and rainfall. New Zealand’s North Island enjoys a temperate climate without reaching extreme cold or heat, while the South Island is much colder, allowing for wonderful skiing.
Q: Can I bring my family with me on my work visa?
A: Yes, we gladly assist you in bringing your immediate family with you, including your spouse and dependent family members.
Q: Can I bring my pets with me?
A: You are able to bring your beloved pets with you, and both countries have different quarantine regulations. For more information please visit the following links:
DAFF Australia: http://www.daff.gov.au/aqis/cat-dogs
Biosecurity New Zealand: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/enter/personal/pets
Q: What is the education system like and how much does schooling cost?
A: Australia and New Zealand boast world class education systems, with public and private schooling options readily available in both countries. Public schooling is often free of charge or provided to temporary residents for a small fee, whilst private schooling fees can vary and are usually charged on a yearly basis.
Q: Is it difficult to find accommodation?
A: Rental accommodation is readily available in most areas of Australia and New Zealand and rental prices usually sit well inside the average doctor’s disposable income range.
Q: What happens to my pension payments?
A: In most cases you are able to transfer previous pension payments from your overseas fund into your fund in Australia or New Zealand. Pension payments (superannuation) earned whilst working in Australia and New Zealand under a temporary work visa can often be accessed once you leave the country and are no longer on that temporary visa.
Q: Can I stay permanently?
A: Many doctors who come to work in Australia or New Zealand on a temporary basis decide that they would like to stay permanently and in most cases the transition to Permanent Residency is quite straight forward for doctors and is seen favourably by immigration departments in both countries.
Q: Can I drive on my current overseas driver’s license?
A: In some cases you are able to drive on your international driver’s license for a period of time before being required to obtain a local license. There are however different regulatory authorities for New Zealand and each state of Australia, and therefore we recommend that you check individual requirements once you are aware of your work location.
Q: Will I need private health insurance in Australia and New Zealand?
A: It is a requirement that individuals applying for a Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa (subclass 457) maintain adequate health cover for the duration of their stay in Australia, and there are guidelines that govern the minimum level of cover required.
For further information on the health insurance requirements associated with 457 visa, please visit the Australian Immigration website at www.immi.gov.au.
International Medical Recruitment can provide you with an obligation free quote on private health insurance to meet your individual needs. Please email credentialing@IMRmedical.com for more information.
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) exist between the Australian Government and some other governments to cover medically necessary treatments for ill-health or injury which occur while you are in Australia and require treatment before you return home.
The Australian Government has signed RHCAs with the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy. These agreements entitle you to some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment while visiting Australia. New RHCAs may be negotiated at any time.
Private health insurance in Australia usually starts at around $1,100/year for singles and $2,800/year for families. Higher level cover is available which can include additional extras such as dental. For detailed information on private health insurance in Australia please go to www.privatehealth.gov.au/
New Zealand Citizens, Permanent Residents, or temporary residents who hold a work visa that either entitles them to remain in New Zealand for two years or more (work visas start on the person’s first day in New Zealand) OR entitles them to remain in New Zealand for a period of time which, together with the time that person has already been lawfully in New Zealand immediately prior to obtaining the visa, equals or exceeds two years are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.
New Zealand has reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom (UK). Under each, certain services may be publicly funded for people covered by the agreements. Those services may be funded to the same extent as for a national of the country they’re visiting or staying in temporarily. As neither reciprocal agreement provides full coverage, private health insurance is still recommended. Not many insurers based in New Zealand offer visitor cover, so you may wish to discuss your plans with your insurer in your home country before researching options in New Zealand.
If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, or do not meet the 2 year work permit criteria mentioned above, it is highly recommended that you obtain adequate health insurance coverage. International Medical Recruitment can provide you with an obligation free quote on private health insurance to meet your individual needs.
Email credentialing@IMRmedical.com for more information, or visit www.dol.govt.nz/immigration/knowledgebase/item/1110