It can be a tough choice for Psychiatrists deciding between Australia and New Zealand. Picking which one has the best jobs for Psychiatrists will come down to what is most important in your life. With similar cultures, great weather and strong economies both locations should be considered for a career move. Eventually you will obtain the same qualification, namely RANZCP whether you move to Australia or New Zealand however the pathway is very different. Various factors impact this but you should consider which is the best option for your own circumstances. Below are some of the factors Psychiatrist should consider when looking to work in Australia or New Zealand.

Locations – NZ for cities and Australia for regional work

Australia and New Zealand both have excellent cities, towns and rural areas to live and work. This is most likely the main attraction and location will count for a lot. Due to the shortage of Psychiatrists in both countries there are great number of vacant posts. However, New Zealand has more roles in the major cities than Australia. The best jobs for Psychiatrists in Australia tend to be in the regional areas.

College – NZ pathway is quicker, smarter and easier

Due to recent changes made by the College (RANZCP) there are some location restrictions in place in Australia. You might not be able to work in some locations depending on your college assessment outcome. Psychiatrists assessed as Partially Comparable are unable to work in designated Area of Need positions. The colleges’ reasoning for this is that Area of Need Psychiatrists have less support and need to be Substantially Comparable to be effective in this environment. Many people believe that this change was made to simply restrict the number of Specialist International Medical Graduates (SIMG) from entering the system.

The college assessment process in Australia takes 3-6 months to obtain an outcome. It compromises of a paper based application and interview. Most applicants don’t apply to the college until they have been offered a post as the application costs several thousand dollars. In addition to the college assessment, applications need to be made to the Australian Medical Council and Medical Board of Australia. While Australia does offer some of the best best jobs for Psychiatrists in the Southern Hemisphere, a Psychiatrist moving to Australia would be lucky to complete the whole process in under six months.

New Zealand Pathway Options

Psychiatrists moving to New Zealand can obtain registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand through two pathways.

  1. The Vocational pathway is the standard pathway and involves an assessment of intentional psychiatry training in a similar way the RANZP assesses applications in Australia.
  2. Special Purpose Locum Tenens pathway is open to Psychiatrists who trained in the UK, Canada, USA, UK and Ireland. This option does not involve a college assessment and doctors can complete it in under four weeks. There is a 12 month practice restriction on this type of registration but it allows you to move to New Zealand start working and complete the vocational registration from within New Zealand.

From a regulatory point of view the New Zealand pathway is much quicker, smarter and easier. This alone is often enough to make Psychiatrists move to the Land of the Long White Cloud.


Psychiatrists relocating with family members will have to consider the occupation of their partner and schooling for their children. In Australia schooling is not free for non-residents even in local government schools. Certain occupations may not be available outside of the major city or even in that country. Recent changes to visa pathways in Australia have also added further confusion – especially concerning spouse visas, English language assessments and the pathway to permanent immigration. People may also need to consider what the immigration policies are for parents/grandparents should they decide to stay on.

The process does not finish once you start working in your new job. We assist Psychiatrists in the following areas:

  • College assessments
  • Permanent residency
  • General or Specialist Registration
  • Finding the best jobs for Psychiatrists
  • Transition to private practice or locum work
  • And much more


You’ll find everything you might want to know about your income prospects in our dedicated article on Psychiatrist Salaries in NZ. And no matter whether you choose to make Australia or New Zealand your home, check out our article on 10 winning habits of successful doctors. Who knows, you might pick up a new idea helping you stand out in your new work environment and progressing faster in your career!


Both countries promise a great lifestyle. At Medipeople we are mindful of your interests outside of your career which are important when selecting a destination. If you have always dreamed of living near the beach or the mountains, it’s our job to make that happen!

Finding the Best Jobs for Psychiatrists like you!

If you are thinking about making the move or would like to talk about which job is best for you then please get in touch.