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Fees and funding

The SWRB is a Crown entity. This means we’re part of government and follow the policy and guidelines of the Office of the Auditor General and Treasury for setting charges. 

To set the fees and disciplinary levy, SWRB uses a cost recovery framework that is consistent with guidelines published by the New Zealand Treasury (2017), and the Office of the Controller and Auditor General (2021). Under the guidelines, we can only charge for the mahi we are required to do under the Social Workers Registration Act 2003 at the level and standard expected by Government, with the costs recovered from the right person or group. We are also required to be financially sustainable without Crown funding.

The SWRB receives separate government funding for our workforce planning function.

2022/2023 Fees

Applicable from 1 July 2022 (includes GST)

  1. Registration Fees
  2. Practising Certificate Fees and Levy
  3. Competence Assessment Fees
  4. Educator Fees
  5. Other Fees

Registration Fees

Registration application fee
The fee applies to an applicant seeking to be a registered social worker.

$360
Experience Pathway: S13 registration application fee
The fee applies to an applicant who does not have a SWRB-recognised Aotearoa qualification or an overseas qualification. The fee includes the panel assessment and registration application fee.
$3,570
Overseas applicant: qualification assessment fee
The fee applies to an applicant who has an overseas qualification and does not have a SWRB-recognised Aotearoa qualification.
$540
Provisional to full registration application fee
The fee applies to an applicant who is a provisionally registered social worker and has completed 2000 hours or more of practise and met any conditions on the applicant’s provisional registration
$60

Practising Certificate Fees and Levy

Practising certificate fee (annual)
The fee applies to a registered social worker to practise for 12 months from 1 July to 30 June each year
$470
Disciplinary levy (annual)
The levy applies to a practising registered social worker.
$135
Total annual cost$605
Practising certificate late non-declaration processing fee
The fee applies to a registered social worker if the registered social worker’s practising declaration is not received by SWRB within 60 days of SWRB’s renewal first notification date.
$140
Unpaid volunteer practising certificate fee (annual)
The fee applies to an unpaid volunteer who is a registered social worker who does unpaid social work as a volunteer and has no paid work either as a social worker or for anything else.
Reduced full fee of $370
(or a reduced pro rata fee as quarterly periods)

Competence Assessment Fees

Competence review fee
The fee applies to an applicant or a registered social worker where SWRB requires the applicant’s or registered social worker’s competence to be reviewed.
– the fee applies per review.

This fee does not apply for a competence review because of a complaint.
$540
Competence assessment fee
The fee charged depends on the competencies involved and the process applied. The fee applies to an applicant or a registered social worker where SWRB requires the applicant’s or registered social worker’s competence to be assessed.
Up to $3,330
Overseas applicant: provisional registration competence assessment application fee
The fee applies to an applicant who has an overseas qualification and does not have a SWRB-recognised Aotearoa qualification. The fee does not apply to an applicant who has been in Aotearoa six months or more and has 2000 hours or more social work experience in Aotearoa.

$345
Overseas applicant: full registration competence assessment application fee
The fee applies to an applicant who has an overseas qualification and does not have a SWRB-recognised Aotearoa qualification.

$345

Educator Fees

Education programme recognition vetting fee
The fee applies to an education provider seeking SWRB recognition of an Aotearoa education programme.
Up to $29,900
Education programme annual fee
The fee applies to an education provider of a SWRB-recognised Aotearoa qualification.
Up to $10,350

Other Fees

Return to practise application fee
The fee applies to a registered social worker where the application to practise is received by SWRB three years or more after the applicant’s previous practising certificate expiry date.
$345
Certificate of Good Standing or hard copy registration certificate fee
The fee applies to an application for a Certificate of Good Standing for overseas registration purposes or a hard copy of a registration certificate. There is no charge for digital copies of practising and registration certificates.
$70

2021/2022 Fees

Applicable until 30 June 2022 (includes GST)

Registration application fee$345
Practising certificate application fee$368
Practising certificate (new graduate) application fee$268
Disciplinary Levy$100
Overseas qualification assessment fee$300
Experience pathway registration application fee
Applies to an applicant who applies for registration under section 13 experience pathway.
The fee includes registration. In effect from: 1 March 2022
$3,570
Competence assessment fee$255.55
Competence assessment (face to face) fee$3,102.70
Certificate copies application fee (copies of certificates or entries, or for supplying documents for overseas registration purposes (Certificate of Good Standing)$46
Education programme recognition and re-recognition feeUp to $29,900
Education programme accreditation mid-cycle feeUp to $10,350

* The SWRB consulted on changes to the fees and disciplinary levy late in 2021 leading to a Board Decision in December 2021. This table was last updated on 1 March 2022 with a change to fee for experience pathway applications.

Consultation and SWRB Decision on fees and levy changes

During November 2021, the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) consulted on proposals to change our fees and the disciplinary levy for social workers in Aotearoa. Most of the proposed changes related to moving to full cost recovery of fees and the levy, where previously they had been under-charged or cross-subsidised by the practising certificate fee, and in some cases, where the cost of external experts, such as social workers and lawyers, had increased. You can read more about consultation on our website or in the consultation document:

On Thursday 16 December 2021, the Board met and considered the consultation submissions. They agreed that the change proposals should proceed as stated in the consultation document, except for:

1.      The proposal on annual CPI adjustment is not proceeding (proposal 1). Instead, the Board committed to undertaking a funding review within the next three years, and regular reviews at least every three to five years after that.
2.      Fee changes to the education provider recognition fees (proposals 16 and 17) which will not change until the programme recognition standards review has been completed.

You can read more about the Board’s decision:
Social Workers Registration Board Decision on fees and levy changes

What social workers are expected to pay

We work hard to keep our costs down and we’re mindful of the pressures the sector faces. The SWRB fees and levy are comparable to other similar-size regulators in New Zealand.

Social workers are expected to pay the registration application fee to become registered as a social worker. Becoming registered means you have met all the criteria to become a social worker – you have been assessed as  competent and fit to practise, and will be held accountable for the way you practise. Once registered, you will remain on the register unless you ask to be taken off, or the SWRB Board takes action to de-register you.

Each year, practising social workers are required to renew their Practising Certificate if they are working as a social worker in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is the document that shows you are legally able to practise as a social worker in New Zealand for that year. The charge for the Practising Certificate is made up of two parts – the Practising Certificate fee and the Disciplinary Levy.

When you renew your Practising Certificate online, you are declaring that you are still competent, fit to practise, and you have informed the SWRB of any serious health issues or convictions.  You are also declaring that you are being held accountable for the way you practise-  and you have undertaken Continuing Professional Development, including supervision.  The Practising Certificate is therefore a demonstration of your commitment to being a professional. 

The Disciplinary Levy pays for the costs of running the complaints process. We encourage employers to support their staff by paying for their Practising Certificate and Disciplinary Levy. A significant number of employers already do pay these costs and we hope that number continues to grow.

Payments

From 02 June 2021, the SWRB offered the option to pay in instalments, and employers can make a single payment for their social workers’ fees by contacting us at accounts@swrb.govt.nz.  We encourage employers to talk to us about how we can make the payment system for social work staff operate more efficiently for you.