Registration of overseas-educated practitioners – how we’ve improved the process

The Physiotherapy Board is responsible for registering overseas-educated physiotherapists who meet the required standard of competence, fitness to practice and conduct requirements. The registration process has at times been longer than it should be and often challenging for applicants, resulting in frustration for those trying to gain registration and for employers.

The Board has responded to these concerns by reviewing all the steps required for overseas registration, and has introduced a range of improvements to streamline the process.

These improvements include:

  1. Communicating by email where appropriate (previously all correspondence had to be undertaken by letter)
  2. Accepting the majority of necessary supporting documents as scanned copies by email (for legal reasons the Board still requires certified copies of hard copies of some important documents)
  3. Reducing the time applicants were given to respond to requests for further information from one year to three months
  4. Mandatory initial assessment was changed from two assessors to one – who would only refer the applicant to a second assessor or moderation if they required peer review or assistance on an application
  5. Replacing the reflective statement on the Treaty of Waitangi with a referenced report

Some of these changes have been introduced in the last 18 months, and the Board’s registration performance is expected to rise further still – although our current ‘personal best’ for processing an overseas application is now down to 10 days! The introduction of the Physiotherapy Practice thresholds in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand in May 2016 will see further improvements.

Many delays in the process remain outside the Board’s control. For example, 85% of applications the Board received between 2014 and 2015 were incomplete or had inaccuracies in them. Common errors included:

  • Dates on CV, work history and validation of work history not matching up
  • Out-of-date criminal conviction records and certificates of good standing
  • Failure to provide degree curricula (or dates not corresponding with other documents)
  • Items of supporting evidence lacking evidence of authorship.

How you can help

Applicants are frequently in contact with physiotherapists in New Zealand to ascertain job opportunities before applying for registration. Informing them of the common pitfalls, directing them to the Board website or encouraging them to contact the Secretariat at the Board will ensure they are extra vigilant with their application, and help speed up the process. Incomplete documentation is the largest cause of delays.

The Board is continually looking at ways to improve the registration process while continuing to uphold the principal purpose of the HPCA Act to protect the health and safety of members of the public by providing for mechanisms to ensure that health practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions.’

The secretariat are here to assist you with your application.  Please contact us via email  physio@physioboard.org.nz or phone (+64) 4 471 2610

Further information on the registration process can be found on the Board’s website.