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New Zealand continues to be an attractive choice for expats from around the world and is home to over quarter of a million UK nationals – as well as people from many other nations. Attracted by the country’s high quality of life, steady economy, relaxed pace of living and dramatic landscapes, New Zealand’s expats make up around a fifth of the country’s population as a whole. Currently the New Zealand government is welcoming skilled expat workers with personnel needed in a variety of sectors including oil and gas, healthcare, construction and tourism among others. The cost of living is broadly similar to many places in Europe and in some cases it can be a bit less.
New Zealand’s healthcare system is a mix of private and taxpayer-funded public provision. The public health system allows for free hospital based care and treatment in medical emergencies for people who are permanent residents. Prescription drugs are subsidised under the public health system.
For foreign nationals to gain free access to the public healthcare system the requirements include a visa entitling them to be in the country for two years or longer. In addition, a health test is also required in order that people entering the country are ‘unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand’s health services’.
Despite the quality of service available through New Zealand’s public healthcare system, the waiting times for treatment can be long – and waits for some elective procedures can exceed a year. Waiting times have encouraged increasing numbers of people to purchase some form of health cover.
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