New Zealand to raise immigration fees
30 Nov 15
IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? New Zealand will increase visa fees 8.3 per cent beginning 7 December. The country will also introduce new immigration levies to be paid in addition to the fees at the application stage.
What does the change mean? The costs of travelling to New Zealand for business, work, tourism or to study will soon increase for those who require a visa.
- Implementation time frame: 7 December 2015.
- Visas/permits affected:All visas, including temporary visas (work, student, visitor), limited visas and resident visas.
- Who is affected: Visa-required nationals travelling or migrating to New Zealand.
- Impact on processing times: No significant impact; however, New Zealand has planned to make paper visa applications more expensive in some cases. To the extent this encourages more people to apply online, processing times may improve.
- Business impact: Business costs will increase with the increase in visa fees.
Background: The New Zealand Cabinet decided to increase visa fees and impose the immigration levy after undertaking a review of 2015 immigration charges. The new levies will be collected on temporary visas (work, student and visitor visas), limited visas and resident visas, unless the applicant is visa-exempt. Immigration levies, paid at the application stage, will replace migration levies, which were only paid by residence applicants after their applications had been approved in principle.
The government charges will vary not only based on the type of visa, but also on the location of the applicant. In the skilled migrant category, for example, visa fees will be 2,505 New Zealand dollars (about US$1,650) for applicants from outside the Pacific region, with an immigration levy of 580 New Zealand dollars. Applications from within the Pacific region are significantly less expensive (1,620 New Zealand dollars with the same 580-dollar levy). In some cases, fees will be lower for applications filed online.
Most of the money from the increased fees will go toward border security measures, while smaller portions will go toward migrant worker protection and marketing efforts. Visa fees were last reviewed in New Zealand in 2012 when they rose by an average of 16.7 per cent.
BAL Analysis: Employers and foreign nationals should take note of the changes and figure the increased costs into their budgets for future travel to New Zealand.
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