Is now the right time for Kiwi doctors to move to Australia?


02 Jan 2021
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The first half of 2021 could be the right time for Kiwi doctors to move to Australia.

New Zealand and Australia fared similarly during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and soon, as both governments talk vaccines and travel bubbles, movement between the two should become easier.

Few New Zealand doctors know that they can live and work in Australia. Similar healthcare systems and regulatory requirements mean it’s relatively easy to jump the ditch.

What’s more: there’s a shortage of doctors in Australia and only Kiwi doctors can easily fill this gap right now.

Can New Zealand-trained doctors work in Australia?

As a New Zealand-trained doctor, you can work in Australia provided you meet requirements and register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA – Australia’s MCNZ).

There’s a bit of paperwork to prepare first (like CVs and references), but once that’s complete the registration process takes on average 6–8 weeks. Getting the paperwork sorted and applying for registration is something Medrecruit helps with, alongside finding jobs that match your criteria.

Why is now the best time to move?

The Covid-19 pandemic has made global travel difficult – even for essential workers like doctors. It’s deterred many from travelling for work.

Australia relies on overseas-trained doctors to fill important roles right across the country, so there’s likely to be a larger shortage of doctors as fewer International Medical Graduates (IMGs) seek work in Australia.

Conversely, we’ve noticed that locum and permanent doctor jobs in New Zealand are filling up more quickly than usual. It could be because many Kiwis living abroad returned to New Zealand with their families in the wake of the pandemic. Whatever the reason, finding a job in New Zealand is possible, but a bit more competitive than usual.

Doctors who want to try living and working in Australia will therefore have the upper hand – it’s easier for them to move to Australia than for other ‘non-Aussie’ doctors and there’s more jobs and locations to choose from.

What are the perks for Kiwi doctors working in Australia?

The main benefit for Kiwi doctors locuming in Australia is the money. You could be earning three times more locuming in Australia than in New Zealand – as much as $2800 per day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to squirrel away some extra cash towards your first home or a bucket-list adventure.

If you choose to locum, the opportunity to travel and explore parts of Australia is another draw card.

Doctors taking on permanent roles in Australia can expect good remuneration too. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see how a slightly different healthcare system works, develop your skills and progress your career, without straying too far from good ol’ Aotearoa.

What do I need to do to live and work in Australia?

As with many processes in medicine – there’s a bit of paperwork to get though. We can help you with this and point you in the right direction (the paperwork can vary depending on where you want to work in Australia and what your speciality is).

You will need to arrange your own flights and travel to Australia. But, once there, accommodation and travel between placements is often covered. We’ve got dedicated teams in Australia and New Zealand so if you’ve ever stuck or need a hand, your personal Solutions Specialist is never more than a phone call away.

Best of all, Medrecruit’s service is free for doctors.

Tips for Kiwi doctors thinking about moving to Australia

Get in touch sooner rather than later. Now’s the time to start getting your paperwork ready if you want to enjoy late summer in Australia.

Have some savings set aside for your move. You’ll need to pay for things like flights and your AHPRA application and if you plan to stay long-term, you might want to buy a car on arrival. That said, once you get to Australia it won’t take long to earn this back because pay rates are good.

Think about how long you’d like to stay in Australia. It’s up to you, but we think you’ll want at least three months to make the most of your experience. Lots of doctors we work with locum for a year before deciding whether to stay long-term or to return to New Zealand.

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