Community organisations chosen to sponsor refugees in New Zealand

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has today announced the four community-based organisations who will be the first in New Zealand to sponsor refugees planned to arrive here by June 2018 under a ground-breaking new approach.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand (Wellington), Gleniti Baptist Church (Timaru), South West Baptist Church (Christchurch) and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (Nelson) have been chosen by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to become approved sponsors for the pilot of the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship Category.

“This new approach will help bring communities together, so they can feel involved in supporting refugees to settle into New Zealand life,” Mr Lees-Galloway says.

“With this grassroots approach come positive social, economic and cultural benefits, both for the community and the resettled refugees.” 

The four organisations will help 25 refugees to settle into their communities, the services they will provide will include: the provision of furnished housing, helping them navigate their community and the services they need (such as enrolling in GPs and schooling), English language classes, and support towards paid employment and self-sufficiency.

Mr Lees-Galloway says the sponsored refugees will participate in a tailored two week reception programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre prior to settling in the communities with the settlement support provided by their approved community organisation sponsor. 

“The Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship Category is only one of the ways this Government is committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild their lives and thrive in New Zealand. This is in addition to and complements our existing refugee quota.”

An evaluation of the pilot programme will be undertaken by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and completed by December 2018.The evaluation will be used to inform any future implementation of the new category.