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Q&A On Zimbabwean Work Permit Holders In NZ

Questions and Answers Regarding the Zimbabwean Work Permit Holders in New Zealand

By Kevin List

Brendan Quirk the Chief Operating Officer of the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) answered some questions relating to issues regarding Zimbabweans in New Zealand. This issue has been around for some time but was brought up most recently at last Thursday's hearing of evidence for Vote Immigration.

Question: Could the NZIS clarify what the situation is regarding the Zimbabweans currently in New Zealand - are they seeking asylum? What exactly is their status?

Answer: The majority of the Zimbabweans [referred to in the Estimates hearing of evidence for Vote Immigration] are here on temporary work permits in New Zealand and are here lawfully. Forcing the Zimbabweans to apply for asylum and go through the Refugee Status appeals Authority is not appropriate. They are currently working and the New Zealand Immigration Service would like to explore other options regarding this situation.

Question: Are the UNHCR involved in looking into the situation in Zimbabwe
and advising the NZ Government regarding that countries continuing instability?

Answer: The UNHCR have not advised the New Zealand Government regarding the continuing instability in Zimbabwe.

Question: If the UNHCR are not advising the NZ Government, who is, and how
is the danger of returning to Zimbabwe assessed?

Answer: The NZIS have received advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade regarding the situation in Zimbabwe. [NZIS referred Scoop to MFAT for any further details.]

Question: Are the 1600 Zimbabweans members of a political party that will
guarantee they will suffer persucution should they return to

Answer: The NZIS has not collected any information in this regard [as the Zimbabweans are work permit holders and have not sought asylum in new Zealand].

Question: Are the 1600 Zimbabweans members of a religious group that
means they will suffer persecution should they return to Zimbabwe?

Answer: The NZIS has not collected any information in this regard [as the Zimbabweans are work permit holders and have not sought asylum in New Zealand].

Question: If the Zimbabweans are neither members of a political or religious
group that will suffer persucution - what exactly is the reason that
their lives, wellbeing etc will be in danger should they return to

Answer: [NZIS referred Scoop to MFAT for any further details].

Question: Are the Zimbabweans able to bring family in with them as work
permit holders?

Answer: As work permit holders the Zimbabweans in New Zealand have no absolute right to bring in family members. There is however an ability for family members [of Zimbabwean's in New Zealand] to apply for temporary visitors permits in Pretoria.

Question: What is the situation of Iraqi's in New Zealand currently.

Answer: The UNHCR has asked countries that have signed conventions not to return people to Iraq at the present time [until the situation stabilises].


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