Refugee resettlement pathway

To fulfil its international obligations, each year New Zealand accepts and re-settles an annual quota of UNHCR mandated refugees, determines claims for asylum seekers and contributes to and influences international initiatives to resolve refugee issues.

The National Refugee Resettlement Booklet from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment provides an overview of the coordinated support central government agencies provide quota refugees on their pathway towards resettling in New Zealand.

To fulfil its international obligations, each year New Zealand accepts and re-settles an annual quota of UNHCR mandated refugees, determines claims for asylum seekers and contributes to and influences international initiatives to resolve refugee issues.

It is important that refugees who arrive in New Zealand are given every chance to embrace the opportunities provided by this country. Their new life here depends largely on the responsiveness of a wide range of organisations, ranging from central government agencies, to organisations and groups in the local communities in which they eventually settle.

New Zealand is a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees. New Zealand therefore considers applications from asylum seekers who claim refugee status when they arrive in New Zealand. In addition, New Zealand accepts an annual quota of 750 refugees who are recognised as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Each year, New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration and Minister of Foreign Affairs set the regional focus of the quota composition. This process takes into account UNHCR’s international protection priorities and New Zealand’s capabilities and community needs. In addition, some places are available for special cases. The UNHCR then refers cases to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment which makes the final decision on who to accept, based on credibility, risk and settlement assessments.

Within New Zealand refugees are often resettled in the following areas:

  • Auckland
  • Hamilton
  • Palmerston North
  • Wellington
  • Nelson
  • Christchurch.
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