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I want to become a healthcare Assistant and quickly settle in New Zealand. What steps should I take to make this happen?

New Zealand is an amazing country with a spectacular landscape that would make anyone fall in love with life. In the recent past, there has been an increase in the number of people migrating to New Zealand in search of jobs or with the intention of pursuing higher education. If we were to take statistics of Indians in New Zealand, we would probably find the majority population to be nurses. And it’s not without good reason. If you are a nurse who has heard just enough to make you pounce on the next opportunity to migrate to this country, we’re here to help you. 

Becoming a healthcare assistant in New Zealand comes with its own perks. A growing population, NZ’s population consists of an increasing proportion of the elderly, which implies increasing health needs and health expectations. The workforce in the health sector also combines to create an overall skill shortage across the sector in the country. Some of the sectors where you can actively apply for the role of a healthcare professional are District Health Boards (DHBs), private hospitals, aged care facilities, primary care clinics etc. 

A District Health Board (DHB) in NZ is a government-funded organisation that is responsible for providing healthcare services to people of their respective regions. Such facilities employ a range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and allied professionals. They also offer a range of services, including hospital care, mental healthcare services, community care and public healthcare services. For elective surgeries, diagnostic services and specialist care, a private hospital is the most reliable facility in NZ. They often cater to patients with private health insurance or who are willing to pay for their own treatment. At aged care facilities, which are also known as care homes or rest homes, elderly people are provided with residential care. They are obliged to give medical care, personal care and social activities to the aged people who require assistance with daily activities or who have complex health needs. As for primary care facilities in New Zealand, general practitioners provide medical consultations, prescriptions, diagnostic tests, and prescriptions and refer patients to specialist care as and when required. 

While there is a shortage of nurses in the country, it has to be borne in mind that the country wouldn’t accept you without going through a daunting process. But do not worry. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you reserve a place in the country’s healthcare sector. To become a health assistant in New Zealand, you can pursue the New Zealand Diploma in Health and Wellbeing or the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing. The diploma is a Level 6 qualification that offers training in mental health and addiction support and it covers topics such as mental health assessment, the effects of drugs and alcohol on mental health and strategies for promoting mental health and well-being etc. On the other hand, the New Zealand Certificate in health and wellbeing is a Level 4 qualification that provides training in advanced care and support and it covers topics such as infection control, communication skills for healthcare professionals and palliative care. 

To study these courses, you may need to qualify for certain entry requirements set by the institutions offering the courses, including levels of English proficiency, academic qualification or relevant work experience. Now if you’re specifically wondering how much money you would have to spend on the education that will get you into the country’s best healthcare facilities, here are certain facts you need to know. Though the fees and duration of diploma and certificate courses can vary depending on the institution and programme you choose to study, a general overview will certainly help. The fees for healthcare programmes in New Zealand can range between NZD $5,000 and NZD $20,000 per annum, depending on the institution and the level of study. International students will have to pay additional fees too. The duration of the programmes can range between a few months and two years, which also depends on the level of study and the programme. While certificate programmes usually take around six months to a year, a diploma programme can typically take one to two years to complete. With a certificate or diploma in health and wellbeing, you may be able to work in roles such as support worker or caregiver, specifically as an enrolled nurse in a range of healthcare facilities. With additional education and experience, you can progress in your career and take on more senior roles, including a registered nurse or healthcare manager. Further, you may also specialise in a particular area of healthcare as per your interests, such as aged care or mental health through further study or on-the-job training.

A person who has completed a healthcare assistant program can work as a healthcare assistant, senior caregiver, senior healthcare assistant, healthcare support worker or hospice support worker. You can also find roles related to community services such as community support worker, aged care support worker, or residential care support worker. You can also be a community Karitane, counsellor, youth support worker or diversional therapist. Further, under addiction rehabilitation services, you can take up the role of an addiction support worker or mental health and addiction support.

A healthcare assistant in New Zealand is entitled to earn an average annual salary of around NZD $44,000, according to data from PayScale as of March 2023. However, do keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on the level of experience of the employee, the specific employer and the location of the facility. 

In terms of residency options for healthcare professionals in the country, there are many pathways available based on your individual preferences and circumstances. The most common and most preferred pathway can be found through the Skilled Migrant Category, a points-based system that takes into account several factors such as age, education, work experience and language ability. To become eligible, you will need at least 160 points on this system. If you don’t have your hopes on this system, you can rely on another pathway known as the Essential Skills Work Visa, which will allow you to work as a health assistant in New Zealand for up to five years if you have a job offer from an employer based in New Zealand. You will also need to meet specific requirements. 

Now if you’re already on a student visa, you may be easily able to get jobs after completing a healthcare programme in New Zealand. Almost 90% of the students are placed before completion of the course. And what’s even better? They can apply for residency after two years of work through the Work to Residence category. They can work as health service assistants such as caregivers, health support workers, community support workers, aged care support workers, and youth support workers among others. After two years they can apply for residency through work through the residence category. The salary for such students who get placed after their course is on average between NZD $27 and NZD $32 per hour. 

Hoping we have covered enough of what you wished to know about the healthcare sector in New Zealand. If you’ve made up your mind to migrate to the country, give us a call right away. Our expert immigration consultants will help you with all the questions you have.

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Interested in kicking off your career?


Our brochure explores everything you need to know including an outline of study options, key information about enrolment, and all our campuses spread around New Zealand


Download Brochure

Interested in kicking off your career?


Our brochure explores everything you need to know including an outline of study options, key information about enrolment, and all our campuses spread around New Zealand


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