Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announces changes to Refugee Quota Programme

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announces changes to Refugee Quota Programme
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway by Jacky Carpenter.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has announced changes to the Government’s refugee quota categories, including which parts of the world they come from.

It follows the Government’s announcement last year that it was increasing the annual refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 for 2020.

Lees-Galloway says the Asia -Pacific region will continue to provide 50% of refugees coming into the country over the next three years. He says this is in a bid to demonstrate New Zealand’s regional responsibility. But it will also increase the number of refugee placements from Africa and the Middle East from 14% to 15%. While the existing 22% allocation from the Americas will be reduced to 20%.

The Government also plans to scrap the previous government’s quota for refugees with family already living here. Lees-Galloway says it will also continue to focus on women and children at risk, disabled people and families.

While it will also increase the number of places within the annual refugees quota for crisis situation from 100 to 200. Lees-Galloway says this is to maintain the flexibility necessary to respond to global events. And the sub-category for women at risk will grow from a minimum of 75 places a year to a minimum of 150 per annum.

“We are proud to be a welcoming and inclusive nation committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild their lives and thrive in New Zealand,” Lees-Galloway says. “Just last year we increased our refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 for 2020, announced six new settlement locations, we’ve been expanding our Mangere resettlement centre and have strengthened settlement support.

“Today we are continuing this work announcing this Coalition Government’s three year refugee policy. We knew changes needed to be made and today’s announcements reflect the priority this Government gives to people who need refugee assistance.”

The Government will also allocate over $6.6 million for the Welcoming Communities programme being rolled out across the country. A pilot of the scheme has been running over the last two years and involved 10 councils across five regions, along with the Office of Ethnic Communities.

“Evaluation findings show that the programme is starting to deliver economic, social and cultural benefits. That is why it is being rolled out to other parts of the country,” Lees-Galloway says.

“For newcomers, getting involved and feeling included in a new country can be a challenge. Making newcomers feel welcome by linking them with locals is a great step. Anything that can ease the process, build understanding and enable everyone to participate in the life of their community and the local economy fully deserves to be supported."

New Zealand is one of around 37 countries that takes part in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) refugee resettlement programme. The UN programme was established in 1950 in the aftermath of World War II to help the millions of Europeans affected by the conflict or lost their homes.

The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. While the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which was adopted in 1951 provides a legal definition of a refugee. It states:

“A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Refugees who arrive in New Zealand under Immigration New Zealand's Refugee Quota Programme are given Permanent Residence status.

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We're full.

How Right wing is this site's average reader?
refugee places are a mark of a civilised society.
latter two words seem a bit out of fashion lately

Are you implying that countries like South Korea and Japan are not civilized?
(There is a serious depopulation problem in rural centres in Japan, as well as a labour shortage.)

They're civilized and know the value of a cohesive society. We're rapidly becoming neither.

I think that the desirability of a "cohesive society" may be at odds with the notion of globalism (and the belief that the nation-state is a relic of the past). How do you achieve cohesion when members of a society seek incompatible goals?

Have a civil war and let the victors decide?

Japan, population 126M, took in a total of 152 refugees in the last 7 years.

Presumably they believe their society is so culturally rich and nuanced that foreigners can never absorb it fully (like those Australian aboriginal languages that even expert linguists cannot learn). Fortunately NZ has a ragbag culture lifted from US TV and poorly recalled Maori myths.

Nothing to do with Left or Right. When we are at a stage where we have surplus infrastructure, housing, food and jobs then maybe we consider increasing our refugee quota. Hell, maybe when we start charging a bit more for migrants to come and live here instead of just requiring them to deposit $200k into a bank account then we can look to increase the refugee quota.

Does anyone else see the irony of pakeha (I'm assuming) complaining about immigrants?

If it weren’t for the English, New Zealand would be a French colony with no cultural history which would be sad. On a positive, children wouldn’t die after being viciously beaten by their parents.

So you don't see the irony, or you do?

No but what I do see is Te Kooti once again on here trying to divide a conversation into Pakeka vs Maori.

Do you think slowing down on immigration and refugees will be a bad thing for Maori or something?

Cut it out bro. Making us Maori look bad. Past is just that - passed. All we can do is forge our future. As for immigration, I'd rather see us look after the people we have here

How am I making us look bad? I didn't say he wasn't welcome here or contributing positively to NZ, just pointing out the hypocrisy of his complaining about immigration. His racist bile wasn't far below the surface. I personally have no issue with Asian immigration, I find them hard-working and respectful.

It's just the "Pakeha" type of immigration that you despise, which is why you brought it up to try invalidate my comment. I think plenty of people have had enough of your mentality in New Zealand dragging society back, using historical events as a means to justify ones own racism. That's why I responded with bile.

You are totally triggered, take a deep breath and calm down. I am not attacking you, your family or your heritage. I am not anti-immigration full-stop. The point I am making is that we are all immigrants, so what gives you the right to say we're full. Maori struggle today to integrate successfully with Western culture, as you so eloquently note. There is an under-lying anti-Asian bias (see the lack of integration comments below) and I find it distasteful and hypocritical. I did not intend to offend you so please do not take it that way.

I wouldn't say I'm triggered but if it makes you feel better then sure.

Everyone or everyone's ancestor came here by boat or air. The only irony is to claim not to be an immigrant or descended from immigrants at some stage.

Irrespective of legitimate historical grievances, do you see Maori's socioeconomic position improving with further immigration?

They might be able to stretch the grievance gravy train out a few more decades by claiming the Pakeha disadvantaged Maori by flooding the country with migrants.

Pull your sleeves down mate, your prejudice is showing

Plenty of room to cut economic immigration without cutting the negligible proportion that is humanitarian.


I can’t help but think that as long as the underlying causes of the need for refuge isn’t addressed that there will be a never ending stream of refugees. Us and other countries could never take enough because more are being created faster than the world can handle. Barely even a bandaid fix although I’m sure the lucky ones who get to come here appreciate it.

A lot of refugees from 3rd world arrive with poor education, and no or limited understanding of language or culture they are moving too, and too old to pick them up. Unless you are on well above minimum wage you are not a net tax payer and cost the country money even if you are working, so reality is most 3rd world refugees will be costing NZ massively for the rest of their lives something like $500-1000k if they are 30-40 years old through to death. Same money helps 10-100x as many people at point of origin - really makes a mockery of the whole idea.

Hi Foyle
"A lot of refugees from 3rd world arrive with poor education, and no or limited understanding of language or culture they are moving too, and too old to pick them up."
Just to ensure that these aren't baseless stereotypical assumptions; what do you mean by "A lot" and what is the source of your data/information to support these assertions as they relate to New Zealand?

No response foyle.
Just based on prejudices then?

Wasn’t that the case with the ancestors of today’s Pākehā who still struggle to learn the language, mores, etc., of this land?

Wasn’t John Key’s mother a refugee?

One day people from this country will be seeking refuge in foreign lands, perhaps in those nations from where these refugees are originated, and their descendants will remember how we treated refugees. At the end of the day, the number of refugees NZ takes in are insignificant.

Refuge, not immigration, not migrants.
Refugees should not have to prove worth to NZ.
Too mercantilist

They are migrants because they never return to their home country?


There needs to be full integration.

Looking globally, and I hate to say it, the immigration policy in Europe has altered the very fabric of European society. Sweden is now a crime capital of the world and Sharia Law is on on the rise (and incompatible with western values).

Side read:

Food for thought.

Ironic isn’t it. Culture clashes are a big cause of the need to seek refuge yet they are often replicated in the host countries due to the lack of assimilation.

Merkel's happy-clappy approach seems to have failed and Germany has since closed things right down. Other countries have also gotten much stricter.

Apart from that, refugees and migrants are quite different and need to be managed differently, as Mike Kirk alludes to.

You know that not all refugees are Muslim? 'Refugee' is not used in your dog-whistle sense universally.

Obviously. Check the link above.
Remeber facts don't care about your feelings.

So that's why you link to the obviously dispassionate and objective assessment of ''. Likewise obviously your feelings don't affect how you see facts either, that's just something for those craaaaaazy lefties!

I know this is more of a humanitarian call.. but I do find it a little hard to reconcile with the supposed CoL tougher stance on immigration.

""there is something more profound going on even in quite prosperous areas: people are losing their sense of home, of their place in the world. They worry that their local neighbourhoods have lost, are losing or are going to lose their heart, their sense of being from here.""

the 'invasion' continues. The widen gyre, no one in the centre.


I think we should help our own people first. We have a lot of people living on the streets for example who might like a home. Just a thought


how much of this is politicians getting kudos from the likes of the UN, is it just ego driven?

If you are a patriot, you want to look after your nation's people; if you are a globalist who doesn't support the idea of the nation state, then anyone in need ought to be able to come to New Zealand.

Has anything significant actually changed? The only details in the PR is middle east from 14 to 15%, americas 22 to 20. big deal.

Yet more people allowed in. NZ is full. Just look at all the issues regarding mass immigration. NZ cant even house its own!

The idea of National returning to power next year doesn't gladden me but presently I'd put money on it.
Labour have already alienated too many people and things like this, regardless of it's merits, won't attract any new support.

Thing is, refugees come in small numbers...But National has already shown signs they're wanting to increase overall inflows of people and money. Usual service of selling off everything for short term gains would likely resume. If folk were voting National because of this they'd be shooting themselves in the foot.

I didn't say people will change their vote over this.
I said that labour will not attract any new support with the likes of this.
Having burnt so much support in Taranaki ( oil and gas), West Coast ( mining and the hydro scheme), and alienating 240,000 licenced firearm owners by having Nash make them feel like the enemy,
Labour will need very large new support to secure another term.

Well said. Didn't this government also promise to reduce the numbers coming in?

Most comments confuse refugees with immigrants. Understandable since refugees are a subset but they are a unique subset: we should be taking refugees for the good we can do them whereas other immigrants should be taken for the good they do us.
There are concerns about both groups: how they are selected, how successful in the long term, quota size but each of those concerns is different for refugees and non-refugee immigrants.

Since I usually grumble about the corruption and exploitation that is inevitable with low-wage immigration this is a list of how our govt does some things right with our refugee policy.
Give preference to our region - it is important that we identify with the South Pacific
Spend sufficient (about $100,000) to get them settled - NZ may be paradise for us Kiwis but a family ripped out of its culture and dropped into NZ may find it purgatory - this is essential spending
Give preference to the disabled.
From today select without racism (seriously why did that take so long to think about?)

What do you do with refugees who are colonists?
(An "immigrant" comes to your country, hoping to say goodbye to the old ways and to seek a better life and to become like you. A "colonist" comes to your country and expects you to become like him.)

I mentioned how I am concerned about selection. I believe potential refugees are identified by UNHCR and there have been reports of some refugees offering bribes ($500 or two cows or sex) to UNHCR workers to get on the list. There are also reports from some Jordanian refugee camps of AImahdi, Christian and other minority refugees being scared out of the camp by the majority Muslim refugees.
If well chosen and well integrated refugees will be grateful and generally integrate. The volumes of refugees have been too small to form permanent multi-cultural ghettos.