Minister celebrates World Refugee Day

  • Michael Woodhouse

World Refugee Day is an opportunity to celebrate the strength, courage and tenacity of refugees around the world and acknowledge the contribution they make here in New Zealand, says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

“It’s important we take the time to recognise the difficult journey refugees have been on and the obstacles they have, and continue to, overcome,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“The Government takes our responsibility to provide protection to refugees extremely seriously which is why last year we announced an increase to the annual refugee quota by a third to 1,000 from 2018/19.

“We are also committed to improving resettlement outcomes for the refugees we do take, which is why we introduced the Refugee Resettlement Strategy in 2012.

The Strategy aims to help refugees adapt to life in New Zealand as quickly as possible and support them to achieve better settlement outcomes and recent data shows it’s working.

“More school leavers with a refugee background with five years or more in the New Zealand education system are gaining NCEA Level 2 and more refugee children are also receiving age-appropriate immunization, with 85 per cent of refugee children receiving one or more scheduled vaccinations within six months of their arrival in New Zealand.

“World Refugee Day is also a time to pay tribute to the scores of volunteers and organisations that play such a vital part in helping refugees feel welcome in their new communities and ensuring they have access to everything they need.

I am always encouraged by the number of volunteers and organisations involved in helping refugees adapt to life here in New Zealand and I have no doubt they will be integral to the success of the community sponsorship category pilot next year.”