New fees and health screening changes to New Zealand visa applications

Published: 10/08/2009

Two important changes to the New Zealand partner visa application process have come into effect since the beginning of August 2009.

The first change relates to the fees for family class applications, including marriage visa and de facto partner visa applications, lodged outside New Zealand from the 17th August onwards. It is important to note that those applications received after the 17th August with the old fee will not be accepted. This change is as a result of the significant currency changes over the past few months and, as such, does not relate to applications made within New Zealand and paid for in New Zealand dollars.

The second change to affect New Zealand visa application process is connected the recently-redesigned medical forms following the implementation of the migrant health screening in 2005. Although the current medical forms will continue to be accepted until 30th November 2009, the new forms are available to download from the Immigration New Zealand website. However, they are not yet available at the relevant visa application offices, although they are expected to be well in advance of the November deadline.

The rationale behind the changes is in response to a recent review of the migrant health screening requirements, which highlighted potential additional questions that would be a valuable addition to the existing screening process for people wishing to migrate to New Zealand.  The content of the certificates has not changed and nor has the screening process itself, rather the demands of the requirements are evolving to stay in touch with its purpose.

The purpose of the certificates and screening are to ensure that applicants for temporary and permanent residence in New Zealand, through marriage and partner visas or other immigration applications, must be in an acceptable standard of health. As such, particular blood tests, X-rays and specimens are now required to establish whether the applicant’s health is considered acceptable for entry into New Zealand. This means that applicants may have to fast prior to a blood test or stop taking certain medication for accurate test results. This tends to relate to applicants that are over thirty years of age and/or have risk factors in their family or individual medical history. A medical examination with an approved doctor remains part of the requirement. The blood tests which all applicants are required to complete check for HIV 1 and 2, hepatitis B, syphilis, liver function, full blood count, serum creatinine and creatinine clearance.

These changes only relate to those visa applicants looking to stay for over 12 months in New Zealand, meaning that both temporary and permanent visa applicants can be affected. The only variation on this is if you are a citizen of or have spent more than three months in the last five years in a non-low incidence of TB country.

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