Critical health workers allowed into NZ “indefinitely”

On Saturday, Immigration NZ removed the visa exemption expiry date (previously scheduled for 31 March 2021) for critical health workers willing to move to New Zealand.

The decision was saluted by the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners, according to whom there will be fewer barriers to welcoming overseas-trained doctors into the GP workforce.

College president Dr Samantha Murton explained that this will alleviate the pressure on GP clinics across the country, who are currently struggling to recruit enough doctors.

“It essentially means now that we can have a funnel of overseas-trained doctors entering New Zealand and that’s a great thing, particularly for our underserved rural communities,” Murton said in a media release.

About 40 percent of all New Zealand’s doctors are trained overseas. The College also estimates that about one-third of GP practices in rural areas have long-term vacancies, and with a low number of local doctors available, border restrictions could have been disruptive.

“There are still many overseas doctors who are interested in moving to New Zealand and this news means our NZLocums team can continue to recruit and place them throughout the year,” Murton explained.