Nursing Council on track to deliver changes to competence assessment requirements

The Nursing Council is on track to implement changes to competence assessment requirements for internationally qualified nurses (IQNs).

The changes will be implemented from the 4th December 2023 when applications will open for IQNs to become registered under the new system.

Any internationally qualified nurse who applies to NCNZ from that date will need to successfully complete the following if they are required to undertake an assessment of competence:

  • an online theoretical exam that tests nursing knowledge, taken at an accredited exam centre overseas or in New Zealand.
  • and
  • a two-day orientation and preparation course followed by a clinical examination known as an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The OSCE takes three hours and tests a nurse’s clinical skills. These will take place in person in New Zealand at an accredited centre.

These new requirements will not affect those IQNs who have already applied to the Council and have been asked to undertake a Competence Assessment Programme (CAP).

The Council anticipates there will be an 18-month transition period where both the existing CAP and the new competence examination processes will be in place.

Nurses can only apply for registration to the Nursing Council once their identity and documents have been verified by CGFNS, an external agency. CGFNS has advised that they have a backlog of documentation to get through. As a result, nurses can expect some delays. This is likely to mean by the time you apply to the Nursing Council to become registered, the new system will be in place and you will be assessed under the new competence requirements.

Nurses with a current Australian practising certificate undergo a separate process to register.

You can find more information on the Registration for International Nurses website page.