New Zealand, celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and quality of life, is a magnet for immigrants globally. It ranks 2nd in the 2021 Global Peace Index, highlighting its safety, political stability, and inclusive society. The healthcare sector, particularly nursing, is in high demand, making it a top career choice for migrants.

Surge in Internationally Qualified Nurses (IQNs)

Over the past five years, New Zealand has seen a significant increase in IQNs entering its Register. From 2,294 IQNs in 2018-2019, the figures grew to over 3,000 by 2021-2022 and a remarkable jump to 6,079 in the latest 12-month period. 

These IQNs account for 36% of all nurses with annual practising certificates in Aotearoa. The nursing workforce is expected to grow 8.9% between 2021 and 2026, indicating a sustained demand.

High Demand for Healthcare Professionals

The ageing population and expansion of healthcare services have maintained a high demand for healthcare professionals, including nurses. Specialities such as aged care, mental health, and primary health care are particularly in need, as the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) states.

Pre-Registration and Registration Process

Nursing Council - ICL Immigration

Step 1: Credential Verification with CGFNS

Internationally Qualified Nurses (excluding individuals licensed in Australia) must apply to The Credentials Verification Service for the Nursing Council of New Zealand (CVS-NCNZ) through CGFNS International, Inc. This process verifies your identity, academic and professional credentials, and nursing employment, ensuring they meet NCNZ requirements.

Documents required for verification:

  • Identity
  • Current registration(s) held in the last ten years
  • Nursing qualification equivalent to NZ qualifications
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • 1,800 hours of post-registration nursing experience

Step 2: Registration with NCNZ

After verifying your documents with CGFNS, apply to the NCNZ and complete the following:

  • Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand Online Courses: Two free online courses providing an introduction to culturally safe nursing practice in New Zealand and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Additional Requirements:

  • Fitness to practice checks, including a criminal history check.
  • Competence assessment for some nurses.

Registration Costs:

  • NCNZ application processing fee: $485 (NZD)
  • CGFNS document verification and authentication: $300 (USD)
  • International criminal history check: $159 (AUD) per country.

Visa Requirements

A valid visa is required to work in New Zealand. The Skilled Migrant Category Visa is popular among nurses for permanent residency. The Essential Skills Work Visa is an alternative for those with a New Zealand job offer.

The Care Workforce Residence Visa is a special visa for healthcare workers who are aspiring to permanent residency in New Zealand.

Finding a Nursing Job in New Zealand

Job Search Avenues:

  • Health Boards and Private Sector: Regularly post vacancies on their websites.
  • Online Job Portals: Sites like Seek and Trade Me Jobs.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Specialized in healthcare positions.

Preparing for the Job Market:

  • CV and Cover Letter: Customize these documents for the New Zealand job market.
  • Understand the Kiwi Work Culture: Emphasizes teamwork, work-life balance, and effective communication.

Salary and Working Conditions

Nurses enjoy competitive salaries, varying by experience, location, and speciality. Registered nurses earn between NZD 54,000 and NZD 77,000 annually.

Continuous Professional Development

New Zealand values ongoing education and professional development for nurses, which is crucial for maintaining registration with the NCNZ.


Securing a nursing job in New Zealand is rewarding but comes with challenges and opportunities. Enhancing your understanding of nursing courses, registration with the nursing council, visa procedures, and thorough job market readiness can significantly boost your prospects for success and foster a high quality of life within a nurturing setting.

Additional Resources:

More detailed information about Nursing Courses and Nursing Council 



About ICL Immigration

ICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration consultant with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realize their New Zealand settlement dreams. Our pricing is flat and transparent, and our expertise ensures a seamless journey towards your new life in New Zealand.

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