Immigration NZ Visa Fee Hike Hinted

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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Immigration Minister Erica Stanford faces scrutiny over possible visa fee increases, with concerns raised over $120m savings. The National party proposes user-funded visa processing to save $492m. Finance Minister Nicola Willis hints at cost recovery to align with fiscal goals. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

Here we go again in this NZ immigration news, with the government trying to squeeze a bit more cash out of the system, and this time, it’s the visa fees under the microscope. Immigration Minister Erica Stanford is tight-lipped about whether these fee hikes will contribute to the $120 million a year savings target set by National. Yet, it's pretty clear where the wind is blowing.

Stanford’s been through the motions, consulting with interest groups and preparing to pitch her case to Cabinet. The National Party promised big savings from Immigration ahead of the election, aiming for nearly $500 million over four years. How? By making visa processing "largely user-pays" and capping costs at no more than 90% of Australia's fees.

Let’s break it down. The government's current spend on subsidising visa costs is just under $20 million annually. But National’s grand plan is to save $119 million a year. The numbers don’t quite add up unless you start hiking those visa fees significantly.

We’re talking substantial increases here. Partner visa fees could skyrocket from under $3000 to over $8500, post-study work visas from $700 to $1856, and student visas from $375 to $660. That's a massive jump. Skilled migrant and working holiday visas would remain the same, though.

Stanford's latest comments hint at a shift towards full cost recovery, potentially even beyond that 90% benchmark. This suggests the government is indeed eyeing visa fee hikes as a significant revenue source, though she’s not spelling it out just yet.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nicola Willis has signalled more work is underway to secure New Zealand’s financial footing, including "enabling full cost-recovery for immigration visa processing." So, it's pretty clear that visa applicants will be footing more of the bill in the near future.

Labour’s Phil Twyford is watching closely, predicting that visa fee increases are on the horizon. He warns that these cuts and hikes could strain the immigration system, impacting the government’s ability to deliver on its promises.

So, while Stanford remains coy about the specifics, the writing is on the wall. Visa fees are set to climb, and significantly so, as the government scrambles to meet its fiscal targets. It’s a move that’s sure to stir up some strong reactions from those affected.

For those who might be affected, plan ahead and apply now if you can, and don't forget to subscribe and follow me for immigration updates like this. Ka Kite Ano.

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Last modified on 11 June 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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