Record num­ber of asy­lum seek­ers in NZ last year

Fiji Sun - - Aust/nz News - RNZ Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Welling­ton: More asy­lum seek­ers claimed refuge once they were in New Zealand last year than in any year on record. China had the high­est num­ber of ap­provals, fol­lowed by Rus­sia and Turkey.

Asy­lum claims grew to 438, but a higher num­ber were re­jected com­pared to pre­vi­ous years. China has been in the top three coun­tries for asy­lum ap­provals for the past 10 years. Asy­lum seek­ers ei­ther ap­ply to the Refugee Sta­tus Branch once they ar­rive in New Zealand, or UNHCR-man­dated refugees are brought in un­der the Govern­ment refugee quota. Among refugees who en­tered through the quota, Syria, Myan­mar, Colom­bia and Afghanistan ac­counted for three quar­ters of last year’s 1000-strong in­take.

The quota will rise to 1500 refugees in 2020.

The most com­mon set­tle­ment ar­eas last year were Welling­ton with 246 refugees and Otago with 182. South­land had its first 43 Colom­bian ar­rivals through the new set­tle­ment scheme there. More than half of Welling­ton’s quota refugees came from Syria and Iran. No refugees were placed in Can­ter­bury. Christchurch needed more in­fra­struc­ture re­build­ing be­fore it could be­come a suit­able refugee set­tle­ment lo­ca­tion again, Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand said last year. About 20 quota refugees from Afghanistan and Eritrea will be re­set­tled in the city in March next year, with 40 more in the rest of 2019.

Asy­lum claims in New Zealand grew to 438, but a higher num­ber were re­jected com­pared to pre­vi­ous years.

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