24 October 2011

Immigration New Zealand not meeting refugee quota

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Figures released this week suggest New Zealand is failing to meet its intake quota for refugee and humanitarian immigration.

New Zealand skilled migration

Figures released this week suggest New Zealand is failing to meet its intake quota for refugee and humanitarian immigration.

New Zealand has met its stated refugee intake target of 750 just once in the past six years, according to documents obtained under the Official Information Act. The figures suggest that 327 asylum seekers have missed out on receiving a New Zealand visa between 2005 and 2011 despite the allocated humanitarian places.

New Zealand immigration authorities said the refugee intake numbers revealed in the documents are consistent with an agreement between the New Zealand Government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whereby the actual intake can drop to as low as 675.

Refugee Services chief executive Heather Hayden said that government policy cannot be solely blamed for a shortfall in refugee grants.

"Sometimes travel arrangements can't be made or there is a hitch in medical clearance," she explained.

"There is a constant juggle of getting the right number".

Refugee advocates have reacted strongly to the release of the figures. New Zealand Refugee Council President Dr Nagalingam Rasalingam said he was "completely shocked" that New Zealand's refugee intake has repeatedly fallen short of the stated target.

The New Zealand Government announced earlier this year that introduce a "rolling quota" whereby the intake can be spread over three years and be dependent on timely national circumstances.


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