The government has cleared the air on whether the mandatory Managed Isolation and Quarantine charges will have to be paid for by 1000 international students recently approved to return to New Zealand.
A Managed Isolation and Quarantine spokesperson confirmed last week in response to a query sent by the Indian Weekender following the announcement by Education Minister Chris Hipkins last week that those international students who left NZ before border closures would be exempted from the MIQ cost.
Earlier on Thursday, January 14, Minister Hipkins said, “The students will return to New Zealand in stages, starting with a cohort of 300 that will be able to return from April, with the remaining students returning throughout the year as MIQ accessibility allows,” while announcing the decision allowing 1000 previously enrolled international students back into the country.
“Through the allocation system, students would need to book their space and the standard fees for managed isolation would be billed,” Hipkins said.
This announcement created some confusion, particularly as it appeared to contradict the government’s previous announcement in July last year at the time of the establishment of “co-payment of MIQ fees” that exempted all temporary visa holders who were ordinarily resident in NZ and had left shores before the closure of the borders on March 19, 2020.
International students are still required to do more to support themselves in New Zealand, with living expenses now raised to $20,000-up from $15,000 for international students to be granted a visa, along with persistently exorbitantly higher travel costs in the current limited global travel environment.
The Indian Weekender sought clarification from the Ministry of Education’s office, which was eventually answered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s office.
The Government is recovering some of the costs of managed isolation to share costs in a way that fairly reflects the benefits of having a robust system for both the New Zealand public and those who leave and enter the country.
“Temporary visa holders will have to pay, unless they left New Zealand on or before March 19 2020, and were ordinarily resident in New Zealand as of March 19 2020. Ordinarily resident means having lived in New Zealand for 183 days (six months) in a total of the previous 12 months,” the official spokesperson said.
This reaction reveals confusion. Now, all those international students who were enrolled in universities and educational institutions and lived in NZ and were harmlessly caught overseas at the time of the border-closing will be exempted from MIQ charges according to government policy.
Details of Border Exception
Students with questions should contact their providers about this border exception. The Ministry of Education will continue to work to manage this process with tertiary education providers.
To be eligible for this border exception:
- Students must hold, or have held a visa to study in 2020.
- Must be studying towards a bachelor’s degree level or above qualification.
- Must have studied in New Zealand in 2019 or 2020 toward their current qualification.
- Must be returning to study with their current provider.
- Must need to be in-country to complete their study.
- Priority will be given to students who are closest to graduation.
Charges for managed isolation
For the first or only person in the room (whether an adult or a child), $3,100 with $950 for each additional adult and $475 for each additional child (3-17 years of age, inclusive) sharing that room, all-inclusive of GST. If they are staying with another person in a room, there will be no charge for children under 3.