Overseas workers and migrants hoping to return to New Zealand say a spike in managed isolation costs for temporary visa holders is dishonest and not compassionate.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said on Tuesday that it would increase the fee for a stay in managed isolation as quarantined from $ 3100 to $ 5520 from 25 March.
The increased fee will apply to people with visitor visas, such as partners of New Zealand citizens and residents, and people with visas for students, work or disabled.
Good spoke to several migrants about temporary visas that were affected by the compensation peak. Some had left New Zealand before the borders were closed in March 2020, and have sought an exemption to return.
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For Jyotsna Jalali, who has been stuck in India since returning to visit her sick mother-in-law at the end of 2019, the reckoning she faces is another obstacle she will have to face in order to return to her life in New Zealand. Zealand.
Jalali said she felt “hurt”, “cheated” and “frustrated” by the increase in fees.
She came to New Zealand in 2015 to study and has since secured a job as an operations supervisor and is on a work visa.
“I’ve spent my whole life in New Zealand,” said the 38-year-old, who was unable to return to NZ after repeatedly failing to attend border crossings.
Jalali, who had no income last year, said even if an exemption was granted, the costs of MIQ would put her in further debt, in addition to the rent she still pays to keep her accommodation in NZ.
“How do they expect us to generate that kind of money?” Sei se.
“She (the Prime Minister) keeps saying we’re part of her, this team of 5 million … but where’s our share of compassion?”
“They take advantage of the situation because they know people want to go back and are willing to do anything to get back.”
Zee Pathan, a 37-year-old visa holder, is in a similar situation, stranded in India with her husband and daughter, as she returned to visit her sick mother on March 12 last year, just days before borders were announced .
Pathan, who has also been denied border exemption multiple times, says the increase in MIQ fees is “pathetic”.
Her family had no income for the past year and had to take out extra loans to pay for her hair in Christchurch – proof of address in NZ that she felt was needed to increase her chances of exemption.
She said if exemption is granted, she will have to take on more debt to pay MIQ costs.
Both Pathan and her husband are struggling to find work in India because the country has been through shackles and is still full of Covid-19 community transmission.
“How can a family that has one year of trouble …. from where can I arrange this money?”
She believed that Ardern had “completely ignored” migrants.
“We have invested in the economy through international fees, but now it is a fully-fledged anti-migrant approach that the government is following,” Pathan said.
Wellington nurse Mohamed Elfaioumy believes he is still expected to pay due to the increased fees to get his wife and two daughters to join him in NZ.
Critical health care workers, such as Elfaioumy, are exempt from the pay increase, instead of the current $ 3100 fee.
However, MBIE has not said whether this exemption will apply to the family members of critical workers.
Elfaioumy, who has only worked in NZ for a year, said he would save three to four months to pay the estimated $ 10,000 only for his family’s MIQ allowances, following the latest increases.
“It’s not fair at all,” he said, one year separated from his family, with young daughters aged 5 and 9.
“We are all human beings, separating from your wife and children is (difficult) for everyone,” he said.
Elfaioumy said it “makes no sense” for the government to announce exemptions for increasing MIQ fees to health care workers, but not to their families.
In an earlier statement, the ministry said the new compensation was in line with that of critical workers.
“The government is reimbursing some of the costs of managed isolation to share the costs in a way that benefits both the New Zealand people from having a robust system and those who leave and enter the country. , quite reflective, “read the statement.
“The new fees better reflect the actual cost of managed isolation, although the government still subsidizes some of the cost.”