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Celebrating our new New Zealanders

Today, on World Refugee Day, we take time to recognise the contribution refugees make to New Zealand, and thank those people, groups and agencies that support our former refugee communities, says Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway.

“We’re building an inclusive society that welcomes and supports families and people seeking refuge when they cannot return to their own country. We welcome refugees as new New Zealanders who contribute so much to our culture, economy and society.

“The New Zealand Refugee Quota Programme has received international recognition as a high quality programme we can be proud of. It includes a six week reception programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre and supporting refugees to connect with their new communities.

“Thank you to all community groups, volunteers and agencies involved in helping us to support refugee communities to feel welcome so that they can participate and feel like they belong. You can be proud of the work that you do to build an inclusive and supportive society,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Over the past year:

• We announced an increase in the refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 in 2020

• Inter-agency work has been underway to plan and prepare agencies, providers and communities for increase in the Refugee Quota Programme from 1000 places to 1500 places from July 2020. This has included:

o announcing six new settlement locations: Timaru, Whanganui, Blenheim, Masterton, Levin and Ashburton.

o work to expand the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre

o strengthening settlement support.

• In the 2018/19 financial year we have resettled 1,007 refugees in line with the government commitment. 24 refugees were sponsored by community organisations under the piloting of a new Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category. A process evaluation of the pilot has found it had early positive results by enabling communities to be more actively involved in supporting refugee settlement. We are looking at options for next steps.

• The current three-year Refugee Quota Programme (2016/17 to 2018/19) is in its final year. The Government is considering the settings for the next three–year programme.

• The latest Refugee Quota intake has included families and people from these nationalities: Afghan, Colombian, Congolese, Eritrean, Iranian, Iraqi, Myanmar, Pakistani, Palestinian, Sudanese and Syrian.

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