Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists (OTs) in New Zealand work in a wide variety of settings, including community centres, charitable organisations and trusts, hospitals, mental health services, rest homes, private clinics, rehabilitation centres, schools, workplaces and patient’s homes. The number of OTs working in New Zealand increased by more than 25% between 1996 and 2006, but this job still features on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list

1. Registration

To practise as an occupational therapist in New Zealand, you are required by law to be registered by the Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ) and to hold an current annual practising certificate.

Check out our flow chart and see below for more information on the registration process.

Australian applications

If you are currently registered to practise in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia, you are eligible to apply for registration in New Zealand under the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA).

Please contact the OTBNZ for more information.

Other overseas applicants

All other overseas applicants are considered on a case by case basis. You application will be assessed by the OTBNZ’s Competence Assessors who will determine if your qualification is comparable to New Zealand qualifications.

If you are unable to satisfy the OTBNZ that your qualification meets New Zealand standards, you may be given the opportunity to undertake a competency examination.

Requirements for registration:

  • You must be competent to practise under the HPCAA scope of practice
  • If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate language proficiency. You will need to achieve an overall IELTS score of 7.5 and a minimum score of 7 in each band
  • You must be screened for criminal convictions
  • You must be able to perform all functions required of an OT
  • You must be of good standing

The whole process of applying for registration and a practising certificate usually takes less than eight weeks. However, it can take longer, so you should keep this in mind when making travel and employment plans.

2. Job offer

After you have gained registration with the OTBNZ, you can begin looking for a job. Visit the national health job website to begin your hunt today.

3. Work visa

To be eligible to work in New Zealand, you will need a work visa. You can apply for work visas from Immigration New Zealand. If you are an Australian national, you do not need to apply for a work visa. 

Got a question? Check out our forum to see if your question has already been answered or contact us directly.


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