Government's tourism levy illegal
January 28, 2020
The New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI) says the Government’s $35 tourist levy is an illegal charge and the system needs to change.
NZAMI chair June Ranson says her organisation raised its concerns about this levy being introduced to cope with the influx of tourists with Government in July 2019.
“We felt NZ needed to upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate this additional fee, which is payable by visiting migrants and has been tacked onto the immigration visa levy. We believe this is a move in the wrong direction.”
Ms Ranson says this $35 levy is a pre-payment and is nothing to do with visa services – she says the Government is making an illegal charge.
“This will lead to any applications that are declined needing to be reimbursed, creating more work for over-stretched immigration officers who are currently unable to keep up with processing volumes.
“Getting any refunds from Immigration NZ is like getting ‘blood out of a stone’.”
She says this $35 levy is not due until a person crosses our border, only then should it be charged.
“If the applicant is outside NZ, the charge is not due until the tourist granted the visa crosses our border.
“To legally handle this, a system should be set up at the NZ border where the levy can be collected. This shows the Government has not thought through the process and has approached the introduction of the levy in a very haphazard and lazy way.
“The introduced procedure is further flawed with the levy being collected at time of lodgement of the tourist visa application. For example, an application lodged in July could sit in an Immigration NZ processing queue for two months, meaning the $35 payment will be used before it can be taken legally.”