Registration processes for overseas medical staff are contributing to significant recruitment problems, say health experts.
The Human Rights Commission's Diversity Forum has been told about delays and obstacles for overseas nurses, who account for more than half of all new registrations.
Max Abbott, deputy chairman of Waitemata District Health Board, told the forum in Auckland that more needs to be done so there are enough staff to meet patient needs.
Mr Abbott says he is increasingly concerned about the future of healthcare because of employment problems.
The Nursing Council says some nurses face delays of more than 18 months to gain registration because they need to go on extra language or training courses.