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The Global Refugee Crisis

The displacement of people is a serious global issue. According to UNHCR, over 79.5 million have been forcibly displaced around the world at the end of 2019 – more than at the end of WWII.

Of those 79.5 million displaced persons internationally, approximately 4.2 million sought asylum in their quest for safety and security, see here for full statistics.

For the year ended June 2020, 502 of these claims were made to New Zealand's Refugee Status Unit, with 35% being accepted. See here for full statistics. 

* This is a joining of the latest available statistics - the 2019/2020 RSU statistics and 2018/2019 IPT statistics to give an idea of yearly acceptances

204 people in 2019 appealed their negative decisions with the IPT (Immigration Protection Tribunal), with 100 people accepted. See here for full statistics.

These figures are solely from RSU, the first stage, and the less than numbers are because the RSU does not publish numbers under 5.

Who are asylum seekers? They are not migrants, who choose to resettle in another country. Like quota and convention refugees, asylum seekers are people who have been forced to leave their home country in seek of protection but there are some critical differences between the groups, particularly in the way they are treated.

Quota refugees

  • Are selected for resettlement in NZ via UNHCR who have mandated their refugee status.
  • Tend to be part of a mass movement resulting from invasion or oppression.
  • Arrive with a New Zealand residency and full rights of all New Zealand Residents.
  • Are supported by a six week orientation and follow up settlement services provided by NZ Red Cross.
  • New Zealand currently accepts 1500 Quota refugees a year.

People who seek asylum

  • Are people who make a claim for refugee status on arriving at the border or after entering New Zealand.
  • Receive no dedicated support from the New Zealand Government.
  • Often require immediate support and assistance. Some arrive with just the clothes they are wearing.
  • Must await a decision on their refugee status by the Refugee Status Branch. This can take a year or longer.
  • If approved still have to apply for residence, meaning they are not entitled to things like studylink.

Convention refugees

  • Are people who seek asylum who have been granted refugee status.
  • Approximately 50% of people who seek asylum in NZ are successful in gaining convention refugee status.
  • Even though they are granted refugee status they receive very little dedicated settlement support services from the New Zealand Government - just one desk bound worker for 250 new refugees last year
  • They just receive a congratulations letter and a call from Immigration approx. 3 months later to see if everything is ok.
  • They have to apply for work visas and permanent residency after being accepted, further delaying their resettlement in New Zealand.

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