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World Vision calls for scrapping of refugee restrictions

Media Release

World Vision New Zealand calls on the Government to scrap refugee quota restrictions

As the deadline nears for a review of the refugee quota and quota restrictions, World Vision New Zealand is calling on the Government to change the rules, so refugees from the world’s most vulnerable places will be welcome here.

The quota and restrictions around it are reviewed every three years, with the next one due in June.

The current restrictions are discriminatory, only allowing refugees from the Middle East or Africa to settle in New Zealand if they already have family here. The same rule does not apply to refugees from elsewhere in the world.

This means people fleeing from some of the world’s most dangerous places, like South Sudan and Syria, have virtually no chance of coming to safety here. The UN refugee agency has called on developed nations to prioritise resettlement from major crises such as the one in South Sudan. But only 12 South Sudanese have ever been resettled in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is a country that has always welcomed people” says Grant Bayldon, National Director of World Vision New Zealand. “Who better to welcome than the world’s most vulnerable – families who are fleeing conflicts beyond their control and just want to make new lives for themselves and their children?”

Africa and the Middle East have the greatest need of all. Many have been forced out by conflict in countries like South Sudan and Syria. Most now live in neighbouring countries like Uganda or Lebanon. But these countries are often stretched themselves, and many of the refugees they are hosting live in desperate conditions, unable to work or send their children to school.

“These people need a better option,” says World Vision New Zealand National Director Grant Bayldon, “But coming to New Zealand is out of reach for all but a tiny minority of them, thanks to the family link policy. It’s discriminatory and it’s wrong.”

“This government has the opportunity to fix this – to open our doors to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The time to do that is right now.”


ends

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