The 1000 international students allowed into New Zealand next month will pay increased MIQ fees.
For temporary visa holders like international students, the cost of a one-person stay in managed isolation will increase from $3100 to $5520 on 25 March. These international students are required to bring $20,000 of living costs and usually pay course fees of around $40,000 per year.
The New Zealand International Students' Association said that "the sudden hike in MIQ cost comes as an absolute shock to the international student community, especially now, as the second exemption cohort of 1000 international students are due to return as early as April.” They also said that “the revised fee structure only benefits the government at the expense of international students.”
In response to a question about the increased costs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “even with the hike in prices, we are still subsidising the cost of managed isolation. What we decided though is that we should reduce the amount we are subsidising.” She also said that the government has to “make a call” on where the cost should fall “between the taxpayer and the person travelling”.
Minister Chris Hipkins said “it’s a very difficult time for international education providers at the moment and for students who want to come into New Zealand to study”.
“We do have a limited allocation of space for international students, although they have to get vouchers for their travel the same as everyone else is,” he said. “This is really about fairness to New Zealanders. New Zealand taxpayers aren’t in the business of subsidising the educational experience for international students coming here.”
NZISA said that “decisions like these alienate the international communities of New Zealand and send the message that temporary visa holders can be and should be treated differently.” They noted that “the impact of this increase is further compounded by expensive flights, rising tuition fees, and the recent hike in the proof of funds required for a student visa.”