The Voluntary Bonding Scheme was introduced by government in 2009 with two objectives:
- to retain newly graduated health, teaching and veterinary professionals in specific communities by offering incentives, and
- to direct these graduates into communities and specialised fields that are facing workforce shortages in New Zealand.
Since the scheme started in 2009, around 2000 professionals have registered for the scheme each year. The first payments were made in December 2011 and are ongoing based on the recipient's start date.
All Voluntary Bonding Scheme payments are classed as income for student loan, Working for Families Tax Credits and child support purposes.
For further information about the Voluntary Bonding Scheme please contact the relevant ministry:
- Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry - veterinarians
- Ministry of Education - teachers
- Ministry of Health - doctors, nurses and midwives
If you want to participate in the scheme you need to register and meet specified criteria set up by the relevant ministry. Once you have confirmed eligibility you are entitled to annual payments based on your profession.
Eligible participants can apply for the first payment after three years of service. There is an eligible period of five years for each recipient. Additional payments for the fourth and fifth years will be made if you continue to meet the required criteria.
Recipients who are employed
If you're employed you will be paid through the PAYE system. Payments will be classified as an extra pay and will be subject to all required deductions such as PAYE, student loans, and child support. The balance will be applied to your student loan account. This will be treated as extra repayments.
If you don’t have a student loan, you will have the balance of your Voluntary Bonding Scheme payment paid directly into your bank account.
Recipients who are self-employed
If you're self-employed or a contractor, you'll receive the payment direct. This will be classed as income for student loan, Working for Families Tax Credits and child support purposes. You'll need to pay out your tax and other obligations on this income.
You can use your Voluntary Bonding Scheme payment to make a lump sum payment on your student loan to help pay it off faster. This will be treated as an extra repayment.
Date published: 28 Mar 2013