Supporting and celebrating our refugee community

  • Hon Iain Lees-Galloway

The Government is proud to play our part in international humanitarian work to provide support and protection to refugees, and celebrate the contributions our refugee community makes on World Refugee Day today says Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway.

“We are proud to welcome and support refugees who have escaped extreme situations to settle here in New Zealand and build a new life with us,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

“Former refugees contribute to our committees culturally, economically and socially. They bring with them their experiences, cultures, skills and their strong desire to participate in employment, community activities, volunteering and education.

“Many former refugees have played a part as essential workers during Levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 response. We thank them and continue to be impressed by the work they do in our communities.

“Although the UNHCR has suspended its refugee resettlement programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic work is underway to support the resumption of refugee resettlement once the UNHCR is ready, and our border restrictions are lifted. This includes ensuring that safe travel routes are available to facilitate refugee movements and the appropriate health measures and controls are in place,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Five projects to increase the wellbeing of our refugee community were supported in Budget 2020. They include helping former refugees reunite with family, supporting community settlement, and increasing security and processing.

Refugee family support

  • Increases the support provide to former refugees in sponsoring family members and settlement support provided to sponsored family members
  • Increases the cap on the Refugee Family Support Category from 300 people per year to 600 people per year from 2021/22
  • $22.2m over 3 years (starting 2021/22)

Community organisations refugee sponsorship programme

  • Extends the pilot for 3 years (from 2021/22) to gather more information on its effectiveness. The Pilot settled 24 refugees through 4 NGOs.
  • The extended pilot will enable up to 50 sponsored refugees to be resettled in New Zealand in each of the three financial years from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024 (a total of 150 sponsored refugees over the three financial years).
  • $5.4m over 3 yrs from 2021/22.

Security for refugee resettlement centre

  • Addressing security needs after independent security assessment post March 15 attacks.
  • Security technology, design work and security staffing increase.
  • $8.5m over 4 yrs; Capital $1.9 million.

Increase processing for refugee and protect person claims

  • Supports a forecast increase in claims from a total of 600 in 2019/2020 to 700 in 2021/2022
  • Boosts capacity to address fraud, integrity issues and strengthen processes.
  • $5.4m over 3 yrs (starts 2021/22)

Iain Lees-Galloway will be speaking at a Parliamentary event organised by the Red Cross in the Banquet Hall in Parliament on Tuesday, 23 June 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm.