ACE recommends you read all other information available on the ACE website relating to the application as well as the information provided in this section. The bottom of this page also addresses many of the common misconceptions Australian graduates have about applying to and working in New Zealand.
For information about gaining registration in New Zealand, check out Medical Council New Zealand's Registration information for final year Australian medical students.
As a medical graduate from an Australian University, you are eligible to apply via the ACE programme for a first year House Officer position in New Zealand. Below, ACE has put together some pertinent information that should help you when preparing and completing your ACE online application. This is not an exhaustive list of what is required, however, as an overseas applicant there are some specific requirements that must be met for your application to be accepted. You will also find information provided by Medical Council of New Zealand regarding the registration process in the ACE Resources section.
The policy set by the New Zealand District Health Boards (DHBs) is that each applicant is required to identify, discuss and agree with three of the Senior Medical Officers (SMO)/ General Practitioners (GPs) who have supervised them clinically in their final year, to act as referees. The referees must be vocationally registered in the speciality within which they are working and have observed your clinical work in an Australian health setting or in an equivalent setting recognised by the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). To see a list of MCNZ Comparable health countries please click here
ACE will allow a few exceptions to this if you are on an overseas clinical work experience position during the first half of your final year:
- One of these three references may be from the second half of your third year.
- One reference may be from your overseas elective provided: it is from a hospital that is included in the MCNZ list of comparable health system countries; OR the clinical supervisor providing a reference for an elective in a non-comparable health country possesses a current practising certificate and has vocational scope of practice with either the New Zealand Medical Council, Australian Medical Council, General Medical Council (GMC) or Irish Medical Councils.
When completing the online application you will be required to enter the details and email addresses of your three nominated referees. It is important to ensure that you have the correct email address as an automated request will be sent to your referee and most delays in receiving references result from errors in submitted email addresses. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that the referees submit your reference to ACE as soon as possible and before the closing date for applications.
For more information on references please visit the FAQs section.
As an applicant from an Australian University, you must obtain your academic transcript from your university, ensure that it is certified by a lawyer, Justice of the Peace, court registrar, or police officer and attached it to your application. An uncertified transcript will not be accepted and this will result in your application being incomplete and you will not take part in the match process.
Please ensure that you request the document in plenty of time as we are unable to extend the close of applications for any reason.
Late start applicants
Applicants should be able to commence employment at the start of the relevant training year. Orientation will start from 18th November 2019 and employment from 25th November 2019. If you are unable to start on the date orientation commences you must indicate this and the reason why in your Cover Letter (s) as well as in your ACE application. Late start applicants’ information will still be sent to the DHBs and will be clearly marked as a late start. This way, District Health Boards still have the option to rank these applicants if they are happy to accommodate the late starter.
Under the ACE Principles and Eligibility, Category 2 applicants are unable to re-apply through the ACE process if not successful in their first application attempt. Prior to commencing your ACE application please review the eligibility criteria available in the ACE Principles and Eligibility section to ensure you are eligible to apply through the scheme.
Common misconceptions regarding Australian graduates applying to NZ:
Misconception 1) Why have so many overseas Doctors chosen to make New Zealand their home?
Is it for the unspoilt beauty of the beaches, snow-capped mountains and regional parks? Yes, it is probably hard to resist the healthy (and safe) outdoors lifestyle and all the excitement and convenience urban centres have to offer: fabulous food, arts and culture, sports, museums and everything in between. New Zealand is home to some of the world’s best beaches, skiing, mountain biking and other adventure activities. Add these to a world-class health system and excellent training opportunities and you have an unmissable opportunity.
Not only this, but everything is within an easy distance, making it possible to disappear to world class holiday destinations just for a day or a weekend.
And in case you are thinking of starting a family, New Zealand is also a great, safe place for children, with so many recreational activities and a world-class education system.
Misconception 2) New Zealand is a nice holiday destination but it doesn’t offer the best training programmes and technologies…
New Zealand’s health sector is internationally recognised as a provider of high quality, trusted services that are delivered cost-effectively and which successfully compete with some of the most technologically advanced countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in terms of overall health technologies, quality of care, coordinated care and patient-centred care (according to the Common Wealth Fund). UNESCO ranks New Zealand third highest in the world for the number of science graduates produced as a proportion of the population. Two excellent medical schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago have an established reputation for world-class research and for developing innovative processes and technology tools. Their MBChB programme is accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC).
Misconception 3) As an Australian graduate, there is no way I will obtain a position in New Zealand…
Last year 71% of the ACE applicants graduating from an Australian medical school were offered a first year House Officer position through the ACE match process or via the Talent Pool.
Misconception 4) It is impossible to obtain a position in the Auckland Region…
Almost half (42%) of the graduates from Australian medical schools who began their career in New Zealand in 2018 accepted an offer from hospitals in the Auckland region, so is it impossible?
Auckland may be a very popular region, but it also has the greatest population and therefore employs the greatest number of Medical Graduates.
Misconception 5) I will be in competition with NZ graduates who have been interns for a year…
All ACE applicants are required to rank a minimum of 6 DHBs. As such, New Zealand graduates are also competing with other New Zealand graduates who have completed their internship here, thus, ALL ACE applicants compete with each other.
And don’t sell yourself short. A great application can be very powerful!
Misconception 6) Why should I complete a lengthy application when my chances at being matched are so low…
The ACE application has been continually streamlined over the past 12 years since its conception. It is an incredibly simple and time-effective way to submit one application to 20 DHBs. Just imagine if you still had to submit 20 individual applications like your predecessors did!?
The environment surrounding the employment of Medical Graduates into NZ DHBs is ever fluctuating, and as Australian Citizen’s/Permanent Residents with no Visa requirements to work in NZ the chances of a Match remain good. But you can’t win the race if you’re not in it!