Primary homestay providers should get increased payment

Pratima Nand

Pratima Nand
Auckland, September 17, 2022

Many members of the Indian community who provide homestay accommodation to international students are worried that they are unable to sustain costs at the existing level of payment that they receive for their services.

The average payment that they receive is $280 per week per student, while the cost of looking after them has spiralled in recent years.

The government takes the biggest chunk of the revenue from international students. The second in line are schools, institutes and universities, followed by homestay coordinators who place these students into family homes.

The Cost-Income ratio

Primary homestay providers are the last their share which is meagre.

The average weekly payment made by international students is $280 including accommodation, breakfast and dinner, added to which is lunch on weekends and public holidays. All other costs such as electricity, water and transport are included in the payment.

As international students start arriving, it is time to consider the high costs relating to their accommodation and other outgoing payments.

A weekly payment of $300 including lunch for seven days works out to $2.85 per lunch.

Who can afford to provide a decent lunch at $2.85 per day? Do you think that host parents will be able to afford wholesome lunch at this cost?

Raising payments to providers

Some homestay coordinators have made a marginal increase of $20 per week (making it $300 per week). Others are placing students who are under eighteen on a crazy payment of $330 per week for three meals a day.

I honestly believe that the hosting fees should not be less than $350 per week including breakfast, dinner and weekend lunches.

The weekly cost for three meals should be at least $370.

If primary care providers are not adequately compensated, international students will not be able to get good care in their homestays.

Is this fair to the students who are seeking a home away from home in New Zealand?

Sadly, the answer is No.

It is time that the government wakes up to the fact that things have to change for homestay parents who are the primary caregivers of students.

The government should ensure that they are paid a decent amount.

I am writing to the Prime Minister, Education Minister, Leaders of Political Parties and the media, who are the powerful voices of our community.

Pratima Nand is a community leader and social worker based in Auckland. A Justice of the Peace and Marriage Celebrant, she has been involved in promoting the welfare of the communities in which she serves. Ms Nand occasionally writes for Indian Newslink.

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