Overseas Doctors

To practise medicine in New Zealand as an overseas graduate you first need to complete the USMLE (American entrance exam), as well as an English language exam. You then need to complete the NZRECS (NZ entrance exam). You can obtain further information regarding these and other registration requirements from the Medical Council of New Zealand website or by email to

Having completed registration requirements you are then eligible to apply for positions in NZ. Depending on your level of experience this may be as a junior house officer, basic surgical trainee (pre-surgical education and training (pre-SET)), advanced surgical trainee (SET), a Medical Officer of Special Scale (MOSS), or a Clinical fellow position. Each of these is appointed via different pathways:

Junior house officers are appointed via the various hospital boards.

Pre-Set’s must go through a selection process like all candidates applying for a surgical position in NZ. Pre-SET’s are then eligible to apply to become SET trainees in their chosen speciality once basic requirements have been met. If selected, SET’s undergo a five-year training programme (SET 1-5), culminating in the Part II RACS exam. The part I RACS exam will have to be passed before advancing to the SET2 level. On completion of their training SET's are awarded a Fellowship of the RACS and can practise in NZ as independent specialists. You can obtain further information regarding the surgical training schemes from the RACS website at or by email to

Some practitioners who are planning to spend only a year or two in NZ may choose to apply for a Clinical fellowship position. These practitioners would generally be very experienced in ORL having completed their training in their home country. NZ Medical Registration requirements still apply. There are several positions available in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin (see separate information on ‘Fellowships’ on this website).

Finally, some overseas trained senior clinicians (having completed training in their home country) who wish to practise long term in NZ choose to become a MOSS. These positions are appointed by individual hospital boards and vary in availability. They are supervised positions within the public hospital system and these practitioners cannot practise outside the area to which they are appointed. Some MOSS's choose to remain in these positions long term whilst others apply to the college to be able to sit the Part I & Part II RACS exams after a period of supervision. In doing so they can become Fellows of the RACS and practise independently.