Details of new refugee category announced

  • Michael Woodhouse

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced details of a new Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category to complement the annual refugee quota.

“When the Government announced an increase to the refugee quota last year, we also committed to piloting a Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Today’s announcement delivers on that commitment and provides an alternative form of admission for refugees wanting to resettle in New Zealand.”

The key objectives of the category include:

  • Providing an opportunity for community organisation to be actively engaged in refugee resettlement, and in doing so, to build local communities that welcome refugees.
  • Enabling sponsored refugees to quickly become independent and self-sufficient in New Zealand.
  • Providing an alternative form of admission for refugees to complement our annual refugee quota.

Applicants will need to have a basic understanding of English, have a minimum of three years’ work experience (or a qualification requiring at least two years’ tertiary study), have an acceptable standard of health and be aged between 18 and 45.

"An initial pilot of the category will test the objectives of the category by providing for 25 refugees to be nominated by sponsoring community organisations on the basis they can achieve self-sufficiency and participate in society quickly,” Mr Woodhouse says. 

“This is an excellent opportunity for community organisations to take the lead in providing resettlement options for some refugees and further demonstrates the Government’s commitment to fulfilling our international humanitarian obligations to provide support and protection to refugees.”

A call for expressions of interest from potential sponsoring community organisations will be made by Immigration New Zealand in October this year with successful organisations decided before the end of the year. The first refugees are expected to arrive in New Zealand by June next year.