For a government that likes to pay its workers salaries in local currency, the Zimbabwean government sure loves to set prices in USD-steep prices and fees. Recently the government increases the application fees for nurses’ confirmation letters and certificates from an already steep US$150 to a shocking US$300. These new fees were announced in a letter written by the register of the Nurses Council of Zimbabwe, Mercy Chaka written on 11 March 2022.

The Nurses Council of Zimbabwe wishes to advise nurses that the approved fees for application for a certificate of good standing (CGS) and application for the confirmation letters for all the nurses residing in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe is now US$300 and is with effect from January 1, 2022.

Part of the letter written by Mercy Chaka of the NCZ

An effort to stem the brain drain and cashing in

Although the letter does not seem to detail the reason for this shocking turn hike it’s not hard to divine why this is happening. The Zimbabwean government is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they don’t want to put pressure on their budget by paying nurses and other civil servants the wages they are demanding but they also don’t want to lose those same nurses to countries like the United Kingdom which have been shamelessly luring Zimbabwean nurses for placement into the NHS.

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By hiking the certificate fees for certificates that are required when a nurse wants to emigrate and work in the UK and other countries the government is probably hoping to stem the brain drain the health sector is facing. This hike and other tactics such as bonding are all underhand efforts by the government to stall nurses from leaving the country. Some countries like Botswana are wise to some of these tricks and are hiring nurses from Zimbabwe even if they don’t have original certificates as long as they have a proven employment record.

It is also about cashing in. There are a lot of nurses that are already employed in other countries who are earning good salaries compared to what they would earn in Zimbabwe. The government wants to milk these nurses by charging these steep fees.