29 May 2003

New immigration fees structure

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A new set of immigration fees is being established following the first general review of fees since 1999, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel said today.

p>The new fees structure takes effect from 1 July 2003 and will be reviewed annually from now, to ensure close alignment between actual costs and fees.

Some fees are increasing, others are decreasing, and some are unchanged. The fees structure has been simplified from four fee bands across the world to effectively two: 'New Zealand/Pacific' and 'Rest of the World'.

Fees for applications in Business categories will be reduced, by several hundred dollars in most cases.

The settlement fee, which covers the cost of providing migrants with settlement information about New Zealand, will be included in the application fee. The change means that migrants will now receive information about New Zealand when they apply, rather than after their application has been approved.

This is consistent with the government's commitment to achieving better settlement outcomes for migrants. Having information at the earliest opportunity will enable migrants to make informed decisions before they arrive. Quick settlement means migrants are able to contribute to New Zealand's social and economic development sooner than is the case now.

In addition, settlement information will be provided to people applying for temporary entry under the work-to-residence and long term business visa policies. This group, as potential future residents, also need to be able to make informed decisions prior to arriving in New Zealand.

The government will seek a legislative amendment so that the migrant levy is also paid by this group when they apply for temporary entry, rather than when they move to residence. The migrant levy funds settlement programmes, immigration research, and ESOL tuition in schools.

Approximately 70 per cent of NZ Immigration Service funding comes from application fees and levies, set on a cost recovery basis.

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