Making the move to New Zealand – Dr Lynn Wong’s experience

Dr Lynn Wong - making the move to NZ

Around two years ago, Dr Lynn Wong started looking for opportunities to live and work in New Zealand.   Originally from Malaysia, Dr Lynn had trained in London (UK) for three years as well as in Malaysia. Her partner lives and works in Auckland (NZ) and Lynn had heard that New Zealand’s medical system was somewhat similar to the UK’s system. She knew that living in New Zealand would give her an opportunity to be closer to her partner, continue her career in a system she was familiar with, and live in a country with great lifestyle opportunities.  

The process of moving to New Zealand

She says she realised quite quickly that finding work as a doctor in New Zealand was “very difficult.”   Dr Lynn reached out to Medrecruit, a medical recruitment agency, to help her navigate the process. “Even though I got my degree in the UK, I was a student and so not registered with the medical council there,” so Dr. Lynn spent time completing the Medical Council of New Zealand’s (MCNZ) requirements, which would make her eligible to work in New Zealand. Medical recruitment companies like Medrecruit can only work with doctors who meet strict conditions and qualifications outlined by the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and other governing bodies.

“I tried to find jobs on my own, but I got rejected a lot. I wanted to work near my partner in Auckland, but was turned down a few times.” Dr. Lynn called Medrecruit again and told the team that she’d completed MCNZ’s processes, but was still struggling to find work. Sarah Robertson (from our International Medical Graduate team) found a great role for Lynn in Whangarei, a bustling and cultural city north of Auckland.    

Working with a medical recruitment agency 

One of the main benefits of working with a medical recruitment agency like Medrecruit is that the team is full of experts on the regions that doctors are looking to work in. For example, it’s often difficult for IMGs to find work in Auckland, because the city is popular with locally trained doctors, but Sarah knew to look further afield when helping Lynn find her first role in New Zealand. Many IMGs don’t realise that New Zealand is a small country – getting around is easy and the regions often have a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle and job opportunities.

“Sarah has been very helpful; she understands what I want to do and she sets realistic goals,” says Lynn.   “I’ve been in Whangarei for one month so far. It was initially overwhelming and the accent is hard to understand! But everyone has been very supportive and open-minded.

“I’m very grateful that I got this job here. It’s near Auckland, where my partner is. It’s not terribly busy, but it’s a good-sized hospital that covers most of Northland. Really, it’s the perfect place to start my career in New Zealand.”   Lynn adds that having the support of Sarah and the Medrecruit team has helped her realise her dream of living and working in New Zealand.

“Everyone at Medrecruit has been so kind and understanding. They’ve guided me through every step and Sarah is very responsive – she replies to emails quickly!”    

Tips for starting a role in a new country

Lynn has ICU and anaesthetics experience, so is currently working in that field, but she’s keen to grow and explore the different career opportunities available to her. She says the hospital she’s working in is a little “luxurious” compared to hospitals in Malaysia.

“I would say it is very, very different. There’s a different mentality, modern equipment and lots of tests we can order. We’re very spoilt. People I work with are also more open – there’s no hierarchy and I call my bosses by their first name.” She says she was anxious when starting her new role. Her advice to others is to “be open minded.” “Don’t scare yourself. Things take time to settle so take things one step at a time.”

She adds: “If you have a dream of moving to a different country – take that first step. I look back and am amazed that I’m here now. I’m really happy and grateful.”

IMG doctor resources

If you are an IMG looking to practice medicine in New Zealand or Australia the first step is to determine if your medical qualifications are recognised by the country’s medical boards. Our dedicated IMG team would love to hear from you if you are interested in working as a doctor in Australia or New Zealand to help bring your goals to life.

Find out everything you need to know about moving to Australia or New Zealand in our free IMG Guide.
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Bethany Rogers
19 July 2019Article by Bethany RogersMedrecruit Editor