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The process and facts part 1

Updated: Aug 9, 2023


When Covid-19 came to Norway the Norwegian government chose to close the borders for nearly 1,5 year. We had more freedom than in The Netherlands, we could still go outdoors for a hiking trip or meet people outside as long as the 1,5 m rule was applied but we couldn’t travel home. In a way it helped us because we had to speak Norwegian and could not book a plane ticket for an escape to Amsterdam to relax and speak Dutch (to learn a new language takes a lot of energy, especially during the first 6 months). As I mentioned earlier, we had a steep learning curve regarding the Norwegian language and culture. But after Corona it started to feel like Norway would not be our final destination. We did miss family and friends but contact was easy to maintain through Messenger or WhatsApp. We experienced that friendships and contacts deepened, even more than expected.


The fact that we were able to maintain a good relation with family and friends gave us the confidence to dream about a next step. On LinkedIn you have the option to choose if recruiters are allowed to send you a message in combination with the country you would like to work in. So I switched to a YES and chose for NZ. In May 2021 was I approached by a recruiter from Geneva Health ( He asked me if I would like to have an obligation free chat. ‘ Of course!’


After a TEAMS-meeting with the Staffing Manager at Geneva we were assigned to one of their Recruitment Consultants who would assist us to secure a role in NZ. At the same time we started the process to get our Nursing Registration at the New Zealand Nursing Council (NZNC, If you go to the website of the NZNC you can find information about the standards/requirement to be eligible to register as an Internationally Qualified Nurse. A part of the application process is to provide evidence of your English language competence. You can do this by passing a NZNC approved language test. You can choose for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS, or Occupational English Testing system (OET, We chose for IELTS. If you want to move to NZ to work as a Nurse I'd recommend that you start preparing for the test early. When you’ve passed the exam are your test results are valid for two years but you have to apply at the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS, within 1 year after receiving the test results. The test consists of 4 parts: Listening, Reading, Writing (Task 1 describe information and Task 2 write an Essay) and Speaking. The minimum score for each part back then had to be a 7. Mireille passed the exam at once whereas I had to take the test 4 times before the summer of June 2022. My scores were good and every time I scored an average of 7 and 7.5 but for the writing part I didn’t get a higher score than a 6.5. This was very frustrating because I took lessons, booked flights, Airbnbs, had to undergo the stress of the test and pray that the results would be good this time because we really wanted to move to NZ and had a job offer waiting for 6 months at a hospital on the North Island.

On our way to Italy during the summer of 2022 we decided to stop the whole process. I was kind of angry/frustrated and believed my English was good enough to be able to work on the ED. The IELTS organisation felt by this time like the maffia to me. I had to pay a lot for everything, I wasn’t allowed to review my test results to be able to improve, I felt there was little, better said, no transparency at all. At the end of this blog (part 2) you can read about all the costs we’ve made. We wrote an email to our Recruitment Consultant about our considerations and received an answer from her after 6 weeks: “We would like to contact the NZ Health Minister with regards to your case- You off course have all the skills / experience to work as an NZ nurse in a high demand area. Your English speaking / in written from what I have observed in our many conversations- is excellent. The DHB also agree with me on this. I am hoping if we present your case to the minister, along with some of your publications etc we may be able to push this.”

To keep a long story short, as from 19 August 2022 the NZNC announced a refresh of its English Language Competence policy. The minimal score for the writing part was lowered to a 6.5. We interpreted this as a sign from Heaven and could start the application at the CGFNS!

Me on the ED in Rotterdam.

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