Refugees coming to New Zealand
Over 1000 people come to New Zealand every year as refugees.
Who can come to NZ as a refugee
Refugees arrive in New Zealand in 3 ways.
- Around 1000 refugees come through the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) resettlement programme.
- About 150 asylum seekers — people who have fled from their own country because they fear persecution or harm — are recognised as refugees.
- Family members join refugees already living here.
Help and support for refugees
When refugees arrive in New Zealand they stay in Auckland at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre for 6 weeks. They spend that time getting help with English, health, education and finding work. A number of agencies help them adapt to their new life.
Where they settle
When refugees leave the Mangere Centre they move to a town or city in various regions in New Zealand — Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Otago or Southland.
The Red Cross help them set up their homes, sign up for services and learn how things work in New Zealand.
Local people also help refugees to settle into their community.
Refugees get help to learn English, such as English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses and home tutoring.
Work and Income can help with the costs of getting to ESOL classes.
Translation and interpreting services
The Department of Internal Affairs Translation Service can translate documents from over 70 languages. They also offer other services, including giving cultural advice.
Lots of government agencies, councils and medical centres offer interpreters over the phone through the Language Line service. There are 44 languages available.
Language Line is available Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 2pm. You can get an interpreter by calling or visiting an organisation and asking for Language Line and the language you need.
Refugees get help to prepare for and find work. This includes:
- CV writing
- identifying suitable jobs, and
- preparing for interviews.
While looking for work they can get financial help from Work and Income.
Help with getting family to NZ
Refugees can sponsor family members to come and join them in New Zealand. Up to 300 visas a year are available and priority is given to refugees who have:
- no other family in New Zealand, and
- no family members who qualify for a residence visa.
UNHCR refugee families can be sponsored by a community group to come to New Zealand. This is a pilot programme that offers residence visas to up to 25 people aged 18 to 45 each year.