International students and workers can expect a rise in immigration fees later this month, after the Department of Labour’s review of its visa processing fees.
The manual yearly permit applications for non-Pacific students increase by $80 for student and work permits (from $120 to $200), student visas increase by $60 ($140 to $200) and work visas increase by $40 ($160 to $200). Immigration fees for Pacific students will increase by $10, and work visas by $20.
While electronic student permits will remain $70, education providers and marketers in the international education industry are apprehensive about the 70 per cent increase in New Zealand processing fees.
“It’s disturbing that the government continues to lay additional financial burdens on international students,” says VUWSA International Officer Genevieve Fontanier.
“They’re getting more students who study here for only a year through governmental partnerships, so the change won’t affect those students or their countries’ relationships. But for the rest of us, fees of most kinds – like insurance and tuition – fluctuate year by year, and that can cause serious problems for some students.”
Education New Zealand, the key company which markets the New Zealand education sector abroad, also disagrees with the fee increase. The company believes that “maintaining a competitive advantage in immigration policy and practice is critical to the industry”.
To counter the Department of Labour review, Education New Zealand will commission a comparative immigration research project, comparing New Zealand’s immigration policy – including fees and changes – with those of Australia, USA, and the United Kingdom.
Education New Zealand wants the outcome of this review to focus on better lobbying and marketing strategies.
Matthias Nebel from Victoria International Visa Office believes the fee increases will not impact on international students looking to study in New Zealand. Currently, over 80 per cent of international students apply for their visas through the university, at a cost of $120.
Of this, New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) takes a cut and the remaining goes towards university administration. NZIS has guaranteed Nebel that this cut will remain the same.
The new fees come into effect on July 30.