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Refugees and asylum seekers
New Zealand currently resettles around 1,000 refugees every year, far fewer than other developed nations.
Red Cross believes New Zealand is in a position to do more when it comes to refugee resettlement in Aotearoa.
As the primary provider of refugee resettlement services in New Zealand, we have a number of recommendations:
Implement an emergency intake
Red Cross is concerned that the current refugee quota in New Zealand does not match the global humanitarian need. In light of this, we believe that New Zealand needs to implement an emergency intake that reflects the global humanitarian need.
We are in the middle of a global displacement crisis, with 65 million people forced from their homes worldwide. Support for refugees, and upholding obligations to protect them, has never been more important. Long conflicts around the world have exacted a terrible price on civilians, among them high numbers of women and children. New Zealand can and must do more to respond to this humanitarian need.
Changes to the family reunification programme
The number of places in New Zealand's family reunification programme need to be increased from 300 to 500. People who arrive here under this quota should also be offered the same resettlement support as those who arrive under the refugee resettlement quota.
The current family reunification quota does not meet the need in New Zealand. Many families remain separated after being resettled here and barriers to their reunification remain. People who arrive under the reunification visa should be given the same support as those who arrive under the refugee quota; this would give them the same opportunities to succeed in New Zealand.
Resettlement support for asylum seekers
People whose asylum applications are approved need to have access to the same resettlement support as people who arrive here under the refugee resettlement quota.
People who have had an asylum application approved resettle in New Zealand need the same support as people who arrive under the quota to give them the best opportunity for a successful life as a Kiwi.
Expand the community sponsorship trial
The trial of the community sponsorship programme for refugee resettlement needs to be expanded beyond the 25 places it’s currently offering.
The success of the programme will be difficult to judge based on the results of 25 placements and to fully understand how it will work in New Zealand, there needs to be a more extensive pilot with more places.
Ensure a fair quota composition
New Zealand’s refugee quota needs to reflect UNHCR priority populations.
The refugee quota’s current composition does not reflect UNHCR’s priority populations. New Zealand’s commitment to assisting with Syrian resettlement is commendable, now it’s time to do the same for other populations that are suffering due to conflict or persecution.