July 2019 saw the introduction of the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). A $NZ35 contribution to New Zealand’s infrastructure and natural environment preservation expenses.
The IVL is collected when travellers apply for visas through Immigration New Zealand (INZ) or for visa free travellers, arriving post 1st October 2019, when they apply for an Electronic Travel Authorities (ETA).
New Zealand, Australian citizens and residents are exempt along with:
– Resident and Transit visas
– Diplomatic, military, medical, and humanitarian visas
– People travelling to Antarctica under the Antarctic Treaty (including people
travelling on the Antarctic Traveller Transit Visa)
– Recognised Seasonal Employment workers
– Business Visitor Visas (including APEC business travel cards)
– Ship and airline crew
– Most visas for dependents (partners and children) of work and student visa
– Travellers whose visa requirements have been waived by INZ
– United Nations laissez-passer document holders
– People from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall – Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, — Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu.
Delays with processing visa applications
Recent media reports highlight delays at Immigration New Zealand particularly for work, partnership and student visa applications.
The INZ published timeframes for completion of 95% of visitor applications is 45 days, four months for fee paying overseas students, partners of New Zealanders, partners of students and essential skills work visa applications. A year for skilled migrant applications.
Add on the time to attempt to recruit within New Zealand, time to prepare an application and employers face staff gaps in excess of half a year.
I acknowledge that striking the correct balance between facilitating visa applications and protecting New Zealand is difficult. Determining value is also complex. It is however time to define an acceptable risk based on the fact that INZ can’t get it right 100% of the time. What is important is that when mistakes are made they are readily corrected, people are compensated and compliance action taken against those found in breach of our laws.
Allowing delays to continue will see overseas students abandon New Zealand educational institutes, splitting families is never good and for employers desperate to recruit offshore delays cause uncertainty and loss of production. Anxiety levels for clients, family, employers and INZ staff will increase and that in itself becomes counterproductive and reduces wellbeing.
The American politician, attorney and educator Eliot Laurence Spitzer says it best “Delay is the enemy of progress.”
Disclaimer: Mary Noonan is Heartland Immigration Ltd Managing Director and her views, expressed in this article are not intended to replace the professional service provided to individual migrants by a Licensed Immigration Advisers.