What Countries Have a Shortage of Vets? Is it Easy to Get a Job?

by Dr Holly Anne Hills MRCVS

Veterinary surgeons are in demand in every corner of the globe. The pandemic has prompted a boom in pet ownership and dramatic staff shortages, as well as forcing travel to a halt. With fewer veterinarians emigrating, vet practices globally are even thinner on the ground. Other political factors, such as Brexit, have also left big gaps in the profession. Shortages of veterinary staff threaten animal welfare and can have devastating impacts on the food chain.

But it’s not all pandemics and politics – there has been a veterinary recruitment crisis for some time due to a myriad of complex reasons. The good news for vets with the travel bug is that there are a whole host of opportunities out there for you as countries are keen to fill their shortfall. So, let’s look at the countries needing vets, and how likely it is that you’ll be able to get a job there!

New Zealand

According to the New Zealand Veterinary Association, there is a shortage of about 100 veterinarians across the country. Seasonal demands increase this due to their busy calving and lambing periods. New Zealand’s vet school, Massey University, will have 25 more places on their course this year, but this still falls drastically short of the number of veterinarians needed to meet current demands. With a decline in vets travelling from abroad due to the country’s strict travel restrictions, they have struggled even more over the last couple of years.

But with New Zealand’s quarantine restrictions set to ease this year, there are more opportunities opening up for veterinarians. It’s easy to find a job in New Zealand and employers offer attractive relocation packages and assistance with visa applications. It is a particularly popular destination for large animal vets due to the thriving agricultural industry. But small animal veterinary jobs are also easy to come by. New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and laid-back culture are a huge pull for vets looking for a better work-life balance!

For more information Get in touch today and see our Vet Jobs in New Zealand


Another hugely popular destination, Australia is also short of veterinarians. It’s thought this is down to the huge number of people leaving the profession as a result of demanding hours and emotional stresses, pressures which have dramatically increased since the start of the pandemic. Australia granted exceptions to around 800 overseas vets to help fill these gaps and support the local staff in the last year.

Aside from the pandemic, it’s never been particularly challenging to find a vet job in Australia. High clinical standards and the wide range of species treated is a big attraction for many vets. Wages in Australia are good, and many clinics will offer relocation and visa support. Australia offers the best of outdoor life, as well as boasting rich wildlife and a laid-back culture, making it a great place to work!

For more information Get in touch today and see our Vet Jobs in Australia


Although according to the AVMA there is no shortage of veterinarians per se, they do state more production animal vets are needed in rural locations. Of course, these are less desirable locations to live and work. But the USA has a thriving agriculture sector and there are exciting opportunities there for veterinarians with an interest in production animal medicine. There are also high-tech hospitals offering care to domestic pets.

It is relatively easy to find jobs in America, and there are plenty of vacancies. However, getting there can be a trickier and longer process. To work in the USA, you must obtain accreditation from the AVMA (the country’s governing body) through sitting exams known as the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Exams). Not only does this mean you need to study and pass the exams, but you also need to pay for them (although many employers will assist with costs). Depending on where you qualified you may not need to sit these exams, so it is worth looking into this if you are considering working in America.

For more information Get in touch today and see our Vet Jobs in the USA


Canada has a long-standing and growing shortage of veterinarians. This is thought to not be a result of vets graduating from university, but in fact due to the increased demand for veterinary services from the public. And like for many other countries, the pandemic has disrupted the flow of vets coming into the country.

Canada offers stunning landscapes and bustling cities, so there is something for everyone, making it a hugely appealing part of the world in which to work. With its large-scale agricultural operations and focus on production animals in rural areas, there are some interesting opportunities for large animal vets, whilst there are also clinics offering high standards of pet care.

As with the USA, you must obtain accreditation with the AVMA and take the NAVLE in order to practise in Canada. So, whilst it is easy to find a job there and clinics offer attractive packages including relocation support, it is worth first checking out what exams you might need to take!

For more information Get in touch today and see our Vet Jobs in Canada


Ireland is also suffering a shortage of veterinarians due to increased demand and poor staff retention. Its only vet school, UCD, graduates 100 new vets each year, which is not enough to meet current demands. And things in Ireland are further complicated by Brexit. With changes to pet travel and movement of meat and animal products between the EU and the UK, an extra workload has been added to an already understaffed service.

This means there are plenty of jobs and it is quite easy to find work. If you enjoy country life, there are plenty of opportunities in Ireland’s beautiful countryside, but it is easy to find work in urban areas too. So if you’re looking for adventure closer to home, check out what Ireland has to offer!

For more information Get in touch today and see our Vet Jobs in Ireland


The veterinary profession is suffering a shortage of staff across the globe for several reasons, so you’re likely to find numerous Vet job opportunities wherever you choose to head including other opportunities to work abroad as a vet. But always check entry/visa requirements and any necessary exams or registrations to work in specific countries!

Get in touch with The Vet Service today to see how we can help with your vet recruitment. We have lots of opportunities available!