How to Obtain a Nursing Job in New Zealand

HealthStaff Recruitment engages registered nurses for many hospitals across New Zealand. The following information sets out much of the information you will need to start your working holiday in beautiful New Zealand and, of course, your HealthStaff consultant is always available to help you.

The Process

To apply for a Working Visa for New Zealand you need to hold an offer of employment for which you are qualified, and there are no suitable New Zealand citizens available. As nurses are in such high demand in New Zealand, they fall into a special category. The Government has approved nursing as a long term skills shortage category and therefore, no check is made to see if suitable New Zealand citizens are available.

In order to work in New Zealand you will need to complete the following:

  • Obtain an offer of employment – liaise with your consultant.
  • Register with the New Zealand Nursing Council.
  • Obtain a police clearance and, in some cases, a medical and chest x-ray.
  • Obtain a practising certificate from the New Zealand Nursing Council.
  • Obtain a working visa.
  • Obtain a work permit on your passport upon entry to the country.

Obtaining Nursing Registration in New Zealand

You will need to demonstrate that you are registered with the New Zealand Nursing Council, NZNC, in order to obtain a work permit. The following information applies to registered nurses. For midwifery registration, please see the next section.

Each nurse is assessed on an individual basis.  The process for overseas nurses (excluding nurses registered in all Australian states except Western Australia) takes about 12 weeks (if your paperwork is in order). You cannot apply for this over the counter. Once you are registered the NZNC will send you application forms for the annual practising certificate. This takes approx 7-10 days to be processed. You may apply for the practising certificate over the counter. A receipt will be issued to you and the certificate sent out to you after being printed. You are able to work using the receipt.

NZ Nursing Council

Postal address: P O Box 9644, Wellington, New Zealand
Street address: Level 12, Mid City Tower, 139-143 Willis Street, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 4 385 9589 – all inquiries except annual practising certificates +64 4 802 0247 – inquiries regarding annual practising certificates
Fax: +64 4 801 8502
Website: Nursing Council of New Zealand


Nursing Qualification Requirements

Overseas nurses applying for registration must have:

  • Registration with an overseas regulatory authority AND
  • An equivalent international qualification OR
  • A pass in an assessment of the Council competencies for Registered Nurses by an approved provider AND/OR
  • Successfully completed a programme approved by the Council for the purpose of assessing competencies for Registered Nurses

The Council requires evidence of your overseas nursing registration by verification from the regulatory authority where you hold registration. This verification must be sent directly from that authority to the Council. The Council also requires you to provide the original of a Police Certificate, no more than 6 months old when received by the Council, as evidence you don’t have any convictions.

Applying for Nursing Registration or Enrolment

Nurses who have gained registration/enrolment in countries other than New Zealand must apply to the Nursing Council of New Zealand for admission to the register/roll before being able to practise in New Zealand. The Nursing Council of New Zealand has an overseas registration section to process applications from outside New Zealand. Personnel who will assist you with inquiries in this area are:

International Registrations Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +64 4 385 9589


The Nursing Council assesses each applicant on an individual basis, and does not operate a system of reciprocal registration or enrolment – except if the applicant meets the requirements of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, TTMR Act (1998). Principle considerations for registration are:

  • The applicant has undertaken a nursing or midwifery programme that is similar in all specified content and length to the equivalent programme in New Zealand, and is able to meet the Competencies for Registration/Enrolment.
  • The applicant has practised as a nurse or midwife within the past five years.
  • The applicant has supplied the Nursing Council with evidence, obtained within the past two years, of ability to speak and write in the English language, when English is not the applicant’s first language. Recognised tests are CGNFS, IELTS, OET, or as part of a competency programme.
  • Applicants who do not meet the requirements for nursing registration may be required to undergo further experience with instruction through a Department of Nursing within a New Zealand educational institution. The applicant is responsible for negotiating the arrangements for the experience and instruction and for informing the Nursing Council about those arrangements.

Nursing Registration for Applicants from Australia

The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA) came into effect on 1 May 1998.  Applicants with nursing registration in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania can apply to the Nursing Council of New Zealand under TTMRA. Application forms can be mailed or downloaded from the NZNC website. Nurses from Western Australia will have their applications processed in terms of the overseas registration process until that State participates in the Arrangement.

Police Clearance and Medical Clearance

You are required to have a police clearance completed in your own country should you wish to gain employment in NZ. Some employers also require you to undertake a medical examination – you will be advised of this prior to your commencement.

General information

Application forms for registration can be downloaded from the NZNC website. The website also provides answers to commonly asked questions and detailed information on the registration process. The Nursing Council of New Zealand does not assist with immigration requirements or employment opportunities. E-mail: [email protected]

Application process

The Council will process and assess your application ONLY when the application fee has been paid and all required documents have been received.

Practising certificate and fees

Once you have obtained registration in New Zealand, you will need to apply for a practising certificate. All applications for a practising certificate must be on the official Nursing Council of New Zealand application form. These are not available online. For inquiries contact:

NZ Registrations Administrator
Postal address: PO Box 9644, Wellington, New Zealand
Telephone: +64 4 802 0245 or +64 4 802 0235
Fax: +64 4 801 8502
Email: [email protected]


Obtaining Midwifery Registration in New Zealand

If your practising certificate is for part of a year, your fee will be reduced accordingly. Fees must be paid by returning a cheque with your completed practising certificate form or, by providing your credit card details on your completed application form. Please take special care to ensure that you record your credit card numbers correctly, if paying by this method, to avoid any processing delays.

All practicing midwives in New Zealand must be registered with the Midwifery Council of New Zealand and have their name entered on the Register of Midwives. Once registered, midwives will have to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) in order to practise. In order to obtain an APC midwives will have to demonstrate that they are still competent to practise.

Australian Applicants

Applicants registered to practise midwifery in all states of Australia except Western Australia can apply to the Midwifery Council of New Zealand for registration under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (TTMR) Act 1997. Application forms for mutual recognition can be downloaded from the MCNZ website. Midwives from Western Australia will have to complete an application as an overseas midwife and be assessed accordingly. Application forms can be downloaded from the MCNZ website. Alternatively you may first register in another state of Australia before applying for mutual recognition in New Zealand.

Overseas Applicants

Midwives applying for registration from overseas (and Western Australia), will be assessed according to the Midwifery Council’s policy. In order to register as a midwife in New Zealand applicants must meet the following criteria: – Fitness for registration – Qualifications for registration – Competence for registration. Detailed information, including flowcharts, and application forms for overseas midwives can be downloaded from the Midwifery Council of New Zealand website.

All midwives must hold a practising certificate before they may practise, and an application will be sent to all new registrants.

The 1st April is considered the beginning of the year for the MCNZ. Presuming all paperwork is in order, applicants from Western Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom should allow around 2 months for their applications to be processed. Applicants from other countries should allow around 3 months.

Contact details:

Midwifery Council of New Zealand

  • General information email: [email protected]
  • Phone: +64 4 499 7979
  • Post: Level 21, Grand Plimmer Tower 2-6 Gilmer Terrace PO Box 10 140 Wellington, New Zealand

Your Work Visa – Applying Offshore

After you have your registration you should apply for a work visa, and an endorsement on your passport to allow you to enter or re-enter New Zealand. To apply for a work visa you will need to complete the following forms which can be downloaded from the New Zealand Immigration Migrant Section on their Website. The NZIS can also be contacted on +64 9 914 4100.

  • Application to Work in New Zealand
  • Supplementary Application Form (provided by your employer)

As part of the application process you will need to provide your passport, proof of New Zealand Nurses Registration, proof of original nursing qualification (e.g. Diploma or Degree Certificate) and job offer stating position, salary and length of contract. Visa costs vary in New Zealand depending on your citizenship and the country from where you are applying. To determine the cost of a work visa you can visit the fees calculation section on the New Zealand Immigration Service website.

How long can I Work in New Zealand?

You will be issued with a work permit for the length of your contract, but this can be extended up to a maximum stay of three years from the date you first arrived in New Zealand.

Your Work Permit

Your work permit will be stamped on your passport at the airport upon entry to New Zealand. There is no cost attached.

What about Bringing the Family?

If you are travelling with a partner or dependants, then they must each submit a separate visa application (see the application form; there is a specific section for families/dependants). Your partner should be eligible to work full time in New Zealand and will need to apply for a partnership work permit. They will need to complete only certain sections of the same work visa application form and will need to provide evidence of the relationship and a letter from you. They will not need to provide proof of work.

Parents should complete visa applications for any dependants and submit these with together with their application. Dependants are considered as any children up to the age of 18 or up to the age of 21 if they are enrolled in a full time University course in New Zealand. Schooling for Dependent Children, the spouse and dependent children of Work Visa holders are given Visitor or Student Visas for the same period as the Work Visa holder.

Dependent children of Work Visa holders do not pay international student tuition fees until they complete secondary school. Primary or secondary students who are dependants of someone who holds a New Zealand Work Permit will be regarded as domestic students.

Tertiary students will need to meet the general requirements as an international student, including paying foreign student fees. However, they won’t require guarantees to cover accommodation and living costs, provided the Work Permit holder has the income to cover them or has met this requirement in their own application. Further information can be obtained from Immigration New Zealand and The Ministry of Education.

How long will a Permit take to Process?

Presuming all paperwork is completed correctly you should allow approximately 6-8 weeks for applications to be processed. It is wise to send applications by express post to reduce the time spent in transit.

New Zealand Immigration Services in Other Countries

You can get more information about Work Visas or Permits from New Zealand diplomatic and consular offices or from any of the NZIS branch offices. If your country is not listed here, consult the New Zealand Immigration website.

LONDON Address:

New Zealand Immigration Services
Mezzanine Floor
New Zealand House
80 Haymarket
London SW1Y 4TE

Street Map

Office hours:10 am-4 pm Monday to Friday
Phone National: 09069 100 100 National (calls charged at 1.00 pound per minute) Phone International: +44 13 44 71 61 99 International
Fax: (0207) 973 0370
Telephone Information Services: A 24-hour telephone information service is available 7 days per week. Information Calls Centres – UK: 0991 100100 calls are charged at premium rates 1.00 pound per minute – International: 0044 1344 71 61 99.  Requests for application packs are to be made using these telephone numbers.



New Zealand Consulate-General
2425 Olympic Boulevard, Suite 600 East
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Office hours: Monday to Friday 9 am – 12 noon
Phone: (310) 566 6555
Fax: (310) 566 6556
Email: [email protected]


New Zealand Embassy
37 Observatory Circle NW
Washington DC 20008
Office hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Phone: +1 202 328 4800
Fax: +1 202 328 4836
Email: [email protected]

OTTAWA Address:

New Zealand High Commission
Suite 727, 99 Bank Street
Ottawa Ontario K1P 6G3
Office hours: Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 4.30 pm
Phone: (613) 238 5991
Fax: (613) 238 5707
Email: [email protected]

SYDNEY Address:

New Zealand Immigration Service
Level 10, 55 Hunter Street
Sydney New South Wales 2001
Office hours: Monday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm
Phone: 612 9223 0144
Fax: 612 9223 0166

United Kingdom Citizen’s Working Holiday Scheme

This scheme allows 10,000 young citizens of the United Kingdom annually to be issued with work visas authorising employment for a maximum of 12 months. The Working Holiday Scheme:

  • The number of places allocated is 10,000 for United Kingdom Residents.
  • Working holiday makers under the UK scheme will be able to stay for up to two years. This brings the scheme into line with the UK one, which allows young New Zealanders to stay in the UK for two years.
  • UK working holiday makers will be able to work for a maximum of 12 months during their stay. This could be with the same employer, in one consecutive period, or spread throughout the two-year period.

Working Holiday Scheme Eligibility

To be eligible for a work visa under this scheme, applicants must:

  • Be British citizens resident in the United Kingdom at the time of applying, and
  • Satisfy the NZIS branch in London that their main intention for coming to New Zealand is to holiday, and that employment is an incidental reason for the visit, and
  • Be aged no less than 18 and no more than 30, and not be accompanied by children, and
  • Have a minimum of NZ$4200 available funds for maintenance

Holders of such permits:

  • Must not have previously entered New Zealand on a working holiday
  • Must not undertake permanent employment unless they apply for and obtain a work permit
  • Must not be accompanied by any children on the visit

New Zealand Immigration Service Representative in London

NZ Immigration Service
Mezzanine Floor, New Zealand House
80 Haymarket
London, SW1Y 4TE

Office hours: 10 am-3.45 pm Monday to Friday
Phone: 09069 100 100 National (calls charged at 1 pound per minute)
Fax: 0207 973 0370
Note: Telephone Information Services: A 24 hour telephone information service is available 7 days per week.  Information Calls centres – UK: 0991 100100 calls are charged at premium rates 1.00 pound per minute. This service is closed on public holidays. International: 0044 1344 71 61 99.
Website: Immigration New Zealand 

New Zealand Immigration Service Representative in Ireland

NZ High Commission, New Dublin
New Zealand Consulate-General
46 Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2, Ireland

Phone: 353 01 676 2464
Fax353 01 676 2489

Medical insurance

If you are a citizen of Australia or a national of the United Kingdom travelling on a Working Holiday Visa, you are entitled to publicly funded health services while in New Zealand.  If you do not belong to one of these special categories and you receive medical treatment during your visit, you will be liable or your sponsor may be liable for the full costs of that treatment. We therefore strongly recommend that you have medical insurance for the duration of your visit.

How to Apply for a Working Visa

To make an application you MUST supply all of the following:

  • A valid British Passport (which must be valid for at least two years and one month from the date of application)
  • A completed Working Holiday Scheme application form.
  • A recent photo.
  • Include the appropriate fee  payable by personal cheque, Bank draft, Postal order or Credit Card, such as Visa, delta, Eurocard/Mastercard.
  • A pre-paid self addressed envelope.
  • Proof of sufficient funds, in the form of a bank statement, savings book.

Failure to produce the above will result in your application being returned to you.  You should hear back from the NZ High Commission within 4-6 weeks. Successful applicants will also be required to provide the following on arrival in New Zealand:

  • Evidence of your return or onward travel ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one.

Countries with Reciprocal NZ Working Holiday Visa Schemes

  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • UK

Some Important Points

  • You must arrive in New Zealand within 12 months from the date of issue of the Visa.
  • You are able to enter and freely exit during your 12 month period. Please remember, however, that your permit is valid for 12 months from the initial date of entry, for multiple journeys. The 12 month period is not accumulative.
  • You will not be eligible to return to New Zealand for a further working holiday under the scheme.
  • You MUST have your return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one and cover your travelling expenses. You CANNOT be sponsored by a New Zealand citizen or resident instead.
  • You should not attempt to make any travel bookings until you have received your passport back.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is the largest union and professional organisation of nurses, midwives and caregivers.

Address: Level 3 Wilbank House 57 Wills Street PO Box 2128 Wellington
New Zealand
Phone: 0800 28 38 48
Fax: 04 382 9993
Email: [email protected]

Medical Care and Insurance

If you are a citizen of Australia, a national of the United Kingdom, or hold a temporary permit that is valid for two years or more you are entitled to free or subsidised medical treatment under the public healthcare system in New Zealand (NZ). You do not need to enrol for this care. When visiting a GP you will be charged approximately $40 for the consultation and you will also be charged for any prescriptions. Children under the age of 5 years are entitled to free GP visits. If you do not belong to one of these special categories and you receive medical treatment during your visit, you will be liable or your sponsor may be liable for the full costs of that treatment. We therefore strongly recommend that you have medical insurance for the duration of your visit.

There are many private healthcare companies although you need to be in NZ for at least 3 months prior to enrolling with them.

The following websites can also provide you with details on the New Zealand health system, and the range of private health insurance options available.

Income Tax

When you work in NZ, the NZ Taxation Department (Inland Revenue Department = IRD) must tax you. To ensure you are paying tax, firstly you need to get an IRD number. You do this when you arrive in NZ. It will take about 10 days to get your IRD number. For enquiries and detailed information please visit the Inland Revenue Taxation website. From here you can download the relevant form (IR 595). For income tax and general enquiries you can contact the department by phone on +64 4 801 9973 from overseas and 0800 227 774 within New Zealand or 09 263 3439 if calling from a New Zealand mobile. Goods and Services Tax GST is a tax charged on all goods and services supplied by businesses.

Driver’s License

If you are only here for a temporary period you can drive on your own driver’s license.   There is little or practically no point in gaining an International Driving Licence, as this has to be accompanied by your home license at all times anyway. If you are staying longer than 6 months it is important that you apply for a NZ license. This can be done through the Automobile Association (AA) once you are in NZ. You will need to contact your local AA office (see your local telephone directory) or check out New Zealand AA website.

We also suggest you obtain a New Zealand LONELY PLANET GUIDE – available at all good book shops for about $35.00. This provides you with everything you need to know about NZ, it’s culture and people, where to travel, what to do and see.

For Personalised information and Services please feel free to contact us using one of the following methods:

  • PO Box 1257, Noosaville BC,  QLD 4566
  • Freecall within Aus 1800 330 533
  • Freecall from NZ 0800 223 381
  • Freecall from UK 0800 028 8376
  • Freecall from Canada 1 866 286 7349
  • OR contact us through our quick contact us form.