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Government offers housing for asylum seekers

23 June 2000 Media Statement

Government offers housing for asylum seekers

The Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, said that for the first time ever, the Government is to put money into housing refugee status claimants.

The Government has earmarked $318,000 a year for the next four financial years to house refugee status seekers who have not been granted permits. In addition, a one-off capital contribution has been made to upgrade fencing at the Mangere Refugee Reception Centre.

"No Government has ever allocated money to house asylum seekers before," the Minister said. "Most people who claim refugee status are granted work permits to enable them to work or claim benefits.

"However, around two percent of claimants are not granted permits, generally because of security or identity reasons or because their claims are outside the grounds permitted under the 1951 Convention on Refugee Status."

"Those people who are not granted work permits have generally been kept in prison." Lianne Dalziel said the Mangere Refugee Reception Centre upgrade is to avoid having those people detained at Mt Eden Prison, which the Government considers should be reserved for cases involving security risks.

The money for these bids comes from savings made by the Government's decision not to go ahead with a new Immigration Service branch in Pretoria, South Africa.

ENDS

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