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Government Exploring Hike In NZ Visa Fees, Levy This Year

Representational Image | Photo: RNZ

The New Zealand government is exploring options to increase visa fee and levies in a move one immigration official says is only “appropriate” to ensure sustainability.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has undertaken “targeted consultation” on proposed fee and levy rates, says  Libby Gerard, Manager of Immigration (Border and Funding) Policy. 

“[We] will report back with final options for Cabinet to consider later this year,” Gerard told The Indian Weekender. 



MBIE is responsible for immigration in New Zealand–both for policy and Immigration New Zealand, which is the operational agency that processes visas. 

Gerard points out the government is committed to improving the immigration funding system to ensure it is efficient, self-funding, and sustainable.  

“It’s appropriate that those using and benefiting from the immigration system cover the costs of running it.

“The [ministry] has provided initial advice on potential options for increasing fees and levies so that those using immigration services more fully meet the costs,” Gerard says. 

Gerard adds this work supports the government's priority to deliver “effective and fiscally sustainable” public services.

“Any decision on changes to the immigration funding model is a decision for the Cabinet, and no final decisions have been made.”

Vandana Rai of Auckland-based Immigration Advisers New Zealand Limited says ramifications of such increases in fees are complex. 

“Such hikes may discourage skilled professionals from submitting applications, and the escalated costs could render New Zealand less attractive to international students, potentially diminishing the substantial economic benefits these students provide to numerous universities and local communities. 

Rai also questions whether an increase in fee will lead to better outcomes. “The outcomes so far demonstrate that the 2022 fee increase, aimed at improving the efficiency and speed of visa processing, has not lived up to its expectations. 

“Consequently, this raises questions about the effective use of this additional revenue planned to be generated. What assurances do we have that this income will be utilised more effectively?

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