New Zealand is a party to both the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of Refugees. Annually the New Zealand government accepts a UNHCR mandated refugee quota of 750 places. Additionally New Zealand accepts up to 300 people under the Refugee Support Category.
Asylum seekers are a separate category. In recent years, New Zealand has received approximately 350 applications per year from people seeking to be recognised as refugees or protected persons. They are assessed in accordance with the criteria for refugee status set out in the 1951 Refugee Convention and other human rights instruments, such as the Convention against Torture. Refugee and protection status applicants who are declined at first instance have the right of appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal of the Ministry of Justice. Numbers of asylum applications received and approved each year vary greatly.
UNHCR mandated refugees who come as part of the quota have New Zealand permanent residence status on arrival. Successful refugee and protection status claimants are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
Approximately 1250 refugees are awarded residency annually in New Zealand through the mandated UNHCR Quota Refugee programme or the gaining of refugee status as asylum seekers. Most refugees and asylum seekers arrive in Auckland with about 30% of quota refugees and between 70-80% of asylum seekers settling in the region.
The needs of refugees differ from other new migrants. Refugees have fled from situations of conflict and human right abuses. This has important implications for the provision of health care.
|Take the quickest way out often without knowing their destination.||Choose their destination country and find out all they can before they leave.|
|Leave hastily, often to escape from harm.||Plan their move.|
|Leave secretly, unable to let loved ones know where they are going.||Pack their belongings and choose what to take and what to leave behind.|
|Afraid to keep in touch with family or friends in their home country.||Say goodbye to family and friends.|
|May not be able to go home if things do not work out in the resettlement country.||May be able to go home if things do not work out in the destination country.|
Asylum seekers can obtain a free health screening in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. To make an appointment, phone:
ARPHS- Refugee Health Screening Service
Phone: 04 276 6719
Regional Public Health - Anne-Maree Delaney
Phone: 04 587 2633
Community and Public Health - Aj Gavin
Phone: 03 363 1307 or 03 378 6760
Individuals with refugee or protection status in New Zealand are eligible, but will need to show proof of status- an approval letter from the Refugee Status Branch, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, or a residence visa or an open-ended work visa.
Individuals who are in the process of having an application for refugee or protection status determined (including those on appeal) are also eligible. They will need to show proof of a current application, for example, an acknowledgement of receipt of claim letter from the Refugee Status Branch or of an appeal from the Tribunal. However, if this letter is more than six months old, they should provide a more recent letter confirming that their application is still in process.
The Immigration Contact Centre can advise health officials as to the current status of an application.
(Auckland) 09 914 4100
(Wellington) 04 910 9915
(Everywhere else in New Zealand) 0508 558 855