An insider's guide to living and working as a psychiatrist in New Zealand.
If you’re up for a challenge, New Zealand can offer you a happy and satisfying career as well as a lifestyle that psychiatrists in most countries can only dream of.
Great opportunities for psychiatrists
Your skills are highly sought-after in New Zealand – there are psychiatrist shortages throughout the country, and demand is growing.
Psychiatrists primarily work in public hospitals and community mental health services, while some also work in private practice or private hospitals, or in medical schools. Many psychiatrists are part-time, especially those with children.
Rachel and her husband, Chris, had visited New Zealand while on a round-the-world trip a decade ago and decided it was where they wanted to live if they started a family.
Psychiatrists are on New Zealand’s skill shortage lists, so if you have a full-time job offer – and the right experience and qualifications – it may be easier to apply for a visa.
Psychiatrists in New Zealand have a varied case mix, opportunities to work flexibly, and the support they need to thrive professionally and personally.
New Zealand’s high-quality public health system is made up of 20 districts that provide health services in hospitals and the community. The country also has a strong private health sector.
It’s a supportive environment that emphasises health, safety and professional development. Public sector patients are given half-hour appointment times, which reduces the likelihood of occupational overuse issues.
There are vacancies around the country, so you may be able to choose what size of the hospital you want to work in and whether you’d like to live in a big city, a fast-growing regional centre or a relaxed country town.
Many psychiatrists work part-time, especially those with young children.
Interested in coming to New Zealand?
Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.
Working hard and getting ahead is important to us. We’re a well-developed, well-connected country with all sorts of opportunities to advance your career. But New Zealanders also believe life is for living. It’s about balancing a good day’s work with time for family and friends plus easy access to some of the world's most stunning landscapes.
Safe and secure
New Zealand is rated as the world’s second safest country to live in on the 2021 Global Peace Index.
New Zealand consistently rates at the top of lists of the world’s most peaceful and least corrupt countries. While feeling safe is a luxury in many places, it's one that New Zealanders are accustomed to. Our strict border controls and low level of crime means safer communities, greater personal freedom and peace of mind for you and your family.
New Zealand ranked second on the 2021 Global Peace Index of safest countries to live and tied top of Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index.
New Zealand is the world's second most desirable place for families - HSBC 2015 Expat Explorer survey
If you have a family, New Zealand is probably one of the best choices you could make. Along with affordable, quality education, your children will be able to get close to nature and enjoy an incredibly diverse range of activities.
It’s why so many Kiwis living abroad come back home when it’s time to start nesting. They know that children here enjoy many things other countries just can’t offer.
We make fitting in and getting set up in your new country easy. And less commuting plus a better work-life balance means you get to spend more time with your family.
New Zealand is the world's second most desirable place for families, according to HSBC's 2015 Expat Explorer survey. One family-critical topic of the survey covered was 'healthcare', where our system was rated as the best in the world.
Space to breathe
We're similar in size to the UK but with only a fraction of the population
We're similar in size to the UK and have all the benefits of an advanced Western economy - but with only a fraction of the population, so you'll have space to breathe.
Auckland, our largest city, is consistently ranked in the top 5 cities in the world across many international surveys.
New Zealand’s renowned natural beauty is never far from view. Over thirty percent of New Zealand is dedicated to national parks, boasting fertile green countryside, majestic forests and snow-capped mountains, and no part of New Zealand is more than seventy-five miles (120km) away from the ocean.
A very warm welcome
Nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations
New Zealanders open their hearts to newcomers. The Maori people have a saying “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata” which translates to “What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”
Our warmth and hospitality are a product of our size. Living on the edge of the world as we do, it’s second nature for New Zealanders to reach out and make connections.
It's not surprising then that nine out of ten migrants find the welcome they receive meets or exceeds their expectations.
Psychiatrists in New Zealand tend to work in small, friendly teams, so it’s easy to meet people and make new friends.
There may be a number of visas you are eligible to apply for – each with its own criteria and application process.
Your 5 step plan to make it happen
Psychiatrists must be registered to work in New Zealand under vocational (specialist) registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand. The Medical Council will then ask The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) to assess your qualifications, training and experience, and provide advice to the Medical Council to help inform its decision on your registration. Fellowship of RANCP is not a requirement for vocational registration.
If you're in a hurry or have short-term work, you may be able to gain a temporary specialist registration on the Council's approved list.
Psychiatrists are needed in many of the country’s 20 district health boards and in the private sector. You may be able to choose what size of the hospital you want to work in, or whether you’d like to live in a busy city or a relaxed rural area. Whatever you prefer, you’ll need a job offer before you can apply for a work visa. To discover where you could work as a psychiatrist in New Zealand, check out these job websites:
Good news - psychiatrists are on New Zealand’s skill shortage lists. That means applying for a visa may be easier, providing you have a full-time job offer and the right work experience and qualifications. You may also be able to bring your partner and children with you.
The cost of living may be different to back home, depending on where you’re from and where you plan to live in New Zealand. Use our calculator to find out what your income and expenses might be in New Zealand.
You love your job as a psychiatrist, but does it come at the expense of time with your family and friends? Do you want to make a difference in patients’ lives, while still having the time and energy for a life of your own? New Zealand could well be the answer.
NZ Ready online planning tool
NZ Ready is a free online tool to help you plan your move to New Zealand, ensuring you know how things work here and have a hassle-free move.