It is no secret that New Zealand and Australia stand together on many issues. Being close neighbours, it is understandable that politics could bleed across the Tasman, but will the NZ Government follow the lead of Australia in charging international student fees to children of migrant workers?
Education Minister for South Australia Dr. Susan Close has announced that 457 visa workers earning a household income of more than $77,000 will have to start paying school fees of up to $6100 from next year, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
(The 457 visa is the equivalent of a NZ Essential Skills Work visa)
This move brings South Australia into line with WA, NSW and the ACT.
Explaining her reasons, Dr Close said that it was “fair to ask 457 visa holders who make a temporary home here to make a modest contribution to the cost of providing public education…The money will help fund early childhood education, which is one of the most crucial areas of our education system.
With the NZ government committed to producing a ‘profit’ in the national accounts, so that tax rates can be lowered in 2017 (NZ Herald), charging migrant workers for the education of their children, must have its temptations.