Sarah Robertson is a licensed immigration adviser for New Zealand and part of Medrecruit’s international placement team. It’s her job to help doctors trained overseas (in countries like the UK, Ireland and US) find jobs in New Zealand and Australia.
As a licensed immigration adviser in New Zealand, she has a unique perspective on opportunities for doctors ‘down under’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We asked her some commonly asked questions about working overseas, with recent events in mind.
In the current situation, Immigration New Zealand have determined that medical practitioners are essential health workers. They are very much in need in New Zealand at the moment. Hospitals are still recruiting and even if we’re looking months down the line, the potential to secure jobs in New Zealand are really good. I’d say the market in New Zealand is generally more accessible in Australia as some doctors are restricted by their medical registration and where they can work – it comes down to individual situations.
There’s so much information out there and it can be so complex that determining what is relevant to you is difficult. We’ve got so many years’ experience in dealing with this, I’d contact us first and trust us to direct you to the resources that are relevant to you.
As this situation is evolving on a daily basis, we’ll work with you, when you’re ready to move to see how to best navigate this changing landscape to get you into the country and ready to start work.
In terms of specialities, those in need include psychiatrists, radiologists, O&G, consultants (general medicine), ophthalmology, respiratory, emergency medicine – those are all really good ones.
Ones that are usually less easy to find jobs for include paediatrics, cardiology, general medicine, plastics and anaesthetics.
Yes. We work with a lot of couples – especially couples who are a couple of doctors! We place a lot of them and hospitals really like those set ups.
Generally, for more senior doctors with families, we help the doctor find a job and then the family are able to accompany them. We can’t help anyone find a job in something that’s non-medical, but we can help with almost everything else.
It’s a fast-changing situation. What we’re doing is staying on top of the new developments as they happen. There are routes for essential workers to secure visas and their family are allowed to accompany them (at this point). To be honest… there are a few bureaucratic hoops that didn’t exist before and that is making things a little bit more difficult.
Other considerations, like being quarantined for two weeks on arrival, I think we can anticipate will stay around for a while.
But what I can also say is: we’re here to do everything we can to help make that process is as smooth as possible. Honestly, this has changed every day for the past four weeks, but we’re keeping up with these changes all the time.
Definitely! We’re always looking six-to-twelve months in advance. For junior doctors, that’s usually around six months, for senior it’s more towards twelve months. If you’re considering making the move in the next twelve months or so, I’d say get in touch now. We’re really keen to start working with you sooner than we need to, so we can get everything ready and in place.
There is some paperwork that can be done now, but the more important thing is making that initial contact so that we can be on the lookout for the right job for you.
Just about always, to secure medical registration and a visa, you need a job first. So, we’ll find them a job (finding a great job is part of what takes time). In terms of processing time for registration and visas, even during ‘good days’ we allow a minimum of three months for that for juniors and six months for seniors.
This is very much for people who are looking ahead and thinking about making the move at the end of this year or the beginning of next. I’d highly recommend they get in touch now.
What I’m telling my doctors is that we talk today for the first time in the hope of securing a job and getting here in six-to-eight months. We don’t know what is going to happen with Covid, but all of the hospitals we are working with are working on the anticipation that they will still need doctors in six months’ time. So, we want to be on the front foot with that and we want to help them fill those needs when they need it… not six months retrospectively.
That’s it. We don’t see that changing at all. Certainly in the New Zealand and Australian markets because there are many international doctors who were working here who have now returned home. This has probably, in the long run, created a lot more jobs down the line. We might not be seeing them just yet, but I think we’re going to see more jobs coming out in the future.
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