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New Zealand lifts Refugee Quota

Michael Woodhouse

Wellington, July 29, 2016

The government has decided to increase the size of the Refugee Quota from 750 to 1000 places per year from 2018

We take our international humanitarian obligations and responsibilities seriously, the increase today demonstrates our commitment to meet the needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

New Zealand has a strong record in the resettlement of refugees. Last year we committed to resettling 500 Syrians over two years on top of our annual quota of 750. This means for the next two years we are taking 1000 refugees.

Today’s announcement to increase the annual quota to 1000 from 2018/2019 is an appropriate response. We want to ensure the refugees we take settle well and contribute meaningfully to life in New Zealand, while not putting unreasonable strains on social services.

Support services

We want to be sure people have the appropriate support and services they need to resettle in New Zealand like housing, health, education and translation services.

The new quota of 1,000 will cost an extra $25 million a year. This is on top of the $75 million a year we currently spend on quota refugees.

The government has also agreed to pilot a new community sponsorship category in 2017/2018. The details of the pilot are still being worked through and will be announced next year.

The offers of support from the New Zealand public in the wake of publicity around the significant displacement of people globally is commendable and the Government is keen to explore how that support might be used to the benefit of refugees.

New location

Immigration New Zealand will also start a process to select a further refugee settlement location to assist the accommodation of the extra intake.

There are currently six locations where refugees are settled once they have completed their reception at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, with Dunedin the most recent settlement city. I expect another location will be announced sometime in 2017.

The annual refugee quota is just one part of New Zealand’s total refugee and humanitarian programme. There are also 300 places available each year for family reunification and an additional 125-175 asylum seekers have their claims approved each year.

The new Refugee Quota Programme represents an increased contribution from New Zealand to the resettlement of refugees and highlights our commitment to help address the ongoing global refugee crisis.

Michael Woodhouse is Immigration Minister of New Zealand.

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