New Zealand citizens and residents planning on returning to Aotearoa will need to stay in the country for at least 180 days to be exempt from costly managed isolation fees, it was announced on Wednesday.
Currently, any citizen or permanent resident returning from overseas - who has not been in New Zealand since August 11, 2020 - is not liable to pay charges for managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) if they remain in the country for at least 90 days.
That period will be doubled from June 1, 2021, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Before they are permitted to enter the community, returnees are required to stay in a MIQ facility for at least 14 days upon arrival and undergo frequent testing. The process minimises the risk of a widespread outbreak by ensuring new arrivals are not infectious with COVID-19 when they are released from the facility.
The 14-day stay comes with a $3100 price tag for the first adult in a room. A further $950 is added to the bill for each additional adult, as well $475 for each additional child aged three to 17.
However, the Government has now decided to increase the fees for temporary entry class visa holders, effective from 12:01am on March 25, 2021.
Temporary entry class visa holders who are partners, spouses, legal guardians or children (aged under 18) of New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, or a critical health worker - and are sharing a room with that person - will continue to be liable for the lower MIQ rates ($950 for each additional adult to a room and $475 for each additional child, aged three to 17).
However, if a temporary entry class visa holder is travelling separately, they will be charged a higher fee of $5520 for the first or only person in a room, plus a further $2990 for each additional adult, and $1610 for each additional child (all including GST).
The spokesperson said MBIE can grant a full or partial waiver of the fees in cases of financial hardship or other special circumstances.
The ministry can also arrange an installment plan or deferment of payment for anyone who is liable for MIQ fees, excluding critical workers.
"This change will support the Government's aim of making the MIQ system more financially sustainable," the spokesperson said.
"It is estimated that extending the minimum period to 180 days will affect about 3 percent of returning New Zealanders."
- $3100 for the first or only person in the room (whether that is an adult or a child)
- $950 for each additional adult sharing that room
- $475 for each additional child (3-17 years old, inclusive) sharing that room
- no charge for children under the age of three
- all fees are GST inclusive
- these fees apply to returning citizens, permanent residents, and temporary entry class visa holders who are partners, spouses, legal guardians or children (aged under 18) of citizens, residents, or critical health workers - if they are sharing a room with that person in a managed isolation facility.
- If a temporary entry class visa holder is travelling separately, they will be charged:
- $5520 for the first or only person in the room
- $2990 for each additional adult sharing that room
- $1610 for each additional child sharing that room
- all fees are GST inclusive
- these increased fees are effective as of 12:01am on March 25, 2021.