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Caritas welcomes community refugee sponsorship evaluation

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes an evaluation report released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) on Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship (CORS).

The CORS programme was approved by the government as a pilot scheme in June 2016. It has been piloted here since 2017-18 as an alternative form of admission for up to 25 refugees. Four community organisations were approved as sponsors and welcomed six families comprising 24 people to New Zealand last year.

The Catholic community supported this pathway and were successful in their application to be community sponsors. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is the umbrella organisation for a partnership including the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem of New Zealand, the St Addai’s Chaldean community and the Babylon Chaldean Society of Hamilton.

“We are very pleased with the evaluation report. It shows that the CORS Pilot has provided an opportunity for community organisations to more actively engage in supporting refugee settlement and to build communities that welcome refugees” said Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

There is a lot of interest in community sponsorship as a viable pathway to welcome refugees, especially after the success of similar schemes in Canada and the UK.

“Pope Francis has expressed the hope that more countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, to assist vulnerable refugees. We see the CORS programme as helping to implement such programmes within New Zealand” said Mrs Hickey.

“Pope Francis has prayed for love of neighbour, ...may we all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves. We see programmes like CORS as being a practical outworking of such a response. Caritas will be an active participant in working with our partners, other community sponsors, MBIE and Immigration New Zealand to continue developing a CORS pathway that will welcome, promote, protect and integrate former refugees into our communities here in Aotearoa New Zealand” says Mrs Hickey.

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