UK visa for Kiwis now double the process cost

Last updated 08:59 05/02/2014

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The cost of the traditional Kiwi OE continues to climb after the British Government announced further hikes to visa fees.

The youth mobility visa, which many young Kiwis aged under 31 use to spend two years working in the United Kingdom, is set to rise to NZ$420 (£208).

The new price tag, which will take effect on April 6, is nearly twice the cost to Britain of processing the visas (NZ$264, £131). It is the second time in 12 months that the fee has increased after a similar jump from $391 to $403 last year.

UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper said yesterday that some visas were charged at a rate higher than the processing cost to the government "to reflect their value to successful applicants".

"This helps to provide resources to run the UK immigration system and enables the Home Office to set lower fees elsewhere.

"Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to reduce the contribution made by UK taxpayers towards delivering the immigration system by asking those who use and benefit directly from the system to make a greater contribution."

The Conservative-led Government is aiming to cut net migration to the UK to less than 100,000 per year by 2015. It cannot prevent migrants arriving from full member states of the European Union, so the squeeze is going on countries like New Zealand, Australia and others in the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister John Key made a personal plea to counterpart David Cameron over visas last year. He pressed  ameron over a growing number of skilled young New Zealanders struggling to stay in the UK after their youth mobility rights expired. 

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- The Dominion Post

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