New Zealand is one of around 26 countries that take part in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regular resettlement programme.

Our customary annual refugee quota is 750 refugees. Since the Second World War New Zealand has resettled over 33,000 refugees. The Refugee Quota Branch (RQB) is the branch of Immigration New Zealand (INZ), which is tasked with operating the Refugee Quota Programme. INZ in turn sits within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

In 2015 the Government announced New Zealand would welcome 750 Syrian refugees in response to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Of the 750 places, 600 were to be by way of a special emergency intake above New Zealand’s annual quota, and 150 places were to be offered within the quota. 150 dedicated places were within the existing 2015/16 annual quota of 750. Another 100 were taken that financial year, and a further 500 were to be accepted over the next two financial years (2016/17 and 2017/18).

Quota refugees are accommodated at Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre (MRRC) on arrival and stay there for a six week orientation. The MRRC has been receiving quota refugees since 1979.

Additionally New Zealand accepts up to 300 people under the Refugee Family Support Category plus people who seek asylum as refugees or protected persons. They are assessed in accordance with the criteria for refugee status set out in article 1 A (2) of the 1951 Refugee Convention and other human rights instruments.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is a mainstream provider of public health services in the Auckland region. ARPHS itself is sited within the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) organisation. ARPHS provides a range of Refugee Health Services to the Auckland region. This includes a medical clinic at MRRC, which provides a medical screening and referral service for ‘quota’ refugees and asylum seekers detained at MRRC. They also provide medical screening for those asylum seekers not detained and living in the community. There is a part-time general practitioner at the centre providing primary care during their stay at MRRC.

There are four different organisations on the MRRC site.
  • Refugee Branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service: This government agency owns and runs MRRC, selects the ‘quota’ refugees, and provides them with appropriate documentation.

  • Refugees as Survivors (RAS): A torture/trauma counselling service, available to ‘quota’ refugees and detained asylum seekers.

  • The Centre for Refugee Education, AUT University: providers of education and New Zealand orientation programme.

  • Refugee Health Screening Service: The clinic provides medical screening for ‘quota’ refugees and all asylum seekers and also primary care for ‘quota’ refugees and detained asylum seekers at MRRC.

The medical screening involves history, physical examination and investigations such as urine, stool, blood tests, Mantoux and chest x-ray. The Refugee Health Service (RHS) screening tool has evolved over time in response to developments in medical knowledge, expert advice and changes in the prevalence of certain conditions amongst refugee populations. Additional tests are done when needed. The doctors at the medical clinic treat what conditions they can and refer others to the specialist clinics.

RHSS Screening Protocol is available on request please email here.

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