Refugee Quota To Resume On A Limited Basis
New Zealand’s Refugee Quota Programme is resuming with small groups of refugee families beginning to arrive for resettlement in February 2021.
New Zealand’s annual refugee programme is a reflection of our international humanitarian commitments to provide protection to people who are not able to return safely to their home country.
Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) General Manager Refugee and Migrant Services, Fiona Whiteridge says since March last year, the quota refugee programme has been on hold as New Zealand focused on a nationwide COVID-19 response, with the exception of only a small number of priority emergency cases of refugees have been resettled.
“INZ has been working with partners on plans to resume refugee resettlement when international travel and transit routes are available. Refugee arrivals will also comply with New Zealand’s COVID-19 health requirements” Fiona Whiteridge says.
“With health protocols in place and safe travel routes, we are ready to welcome small groups of refugee families as New Zealand residents to this country, to begin their new lives.”
The first group of 35 refugees to arrive in February are the first of a few similar sized cohorts to arrive. They will all complete a 14-day stay in government managed isolation facilities.
“INZ and the Managed Isolation and Quarantine agency (MIQ) are working closely together to coordinate the arrival of refugees to minimise any impact on available places at isolation facilities and ensure that the limited resumption of New Zealand’s refugee commitments does not displace other people,” Fiona Whiteridge says.
After completing managed isolation, the families will transfer to Te Āhuru Mōwai o Aotearoa (the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre) where they will complete their reception programme and finalise housing arrangements, before moving to planned settlement locations across New Zealand.
Notes for editors:
· Each quota refugee group will comprise of between 35 to 70 individuals. The total number of arrivals will likely be around 210 refugees up to 30 June 2021. However, this number is dependent on international travel and transit arrangements.
· To manage the impact on available spaces at managed isolation facilities, the number of refugee quota arrivals will be coordinated between Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Managed Isolation and Quarantine agency (MIQ).
· Health and safety infection control processes are already in place for people arriving at Auckland International Airport and for transfers to managed isolation facilities. During the managed isolation stay, COVID-19 infection control measures and processes, and a testing regime will be in place.
· Refugees who arrive in New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme are granted Permanent Residence status in New Zealand and will not pay managed isolation fees.
· Families will move to refugee quota settlement locations, which will be confirmed closer to the time of arrival, and families will not depart Te Āhuru Mōwai o Aotearoa (Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre) until housing has been secured in their resettlement location.
· In October 2020, it was agreed that New Zealand would resettle a number of cases identified as emergency priority, and to prioritise three cases under the refugee family reunification category. As at 26 January, a total of 50 people have arrived in New Zealand under these priorities.
· The impact of COVID-19 globally, including on safe commercial international travel and transit routes means that the number and size of quota refugee intakes will not reach the planned quota of 1,500 places for 2020/21.