International / Humanitarian.

This article is about Immigration Policy but is not a description of policy.


Each of us has our own view of what constitutes “humanitarian”; but in the context of New Zealand Immigration Policy, the term has specific meaning, relating to certain carefully defined classes of people.


New Zealand has a policy of accepting an annual quota of mandated UNHCR refugees. That is managed on a bi-lateral basis and is not subject to influence by individual applicants, so is not discussed here.


However, former refugees, now settled in New Zealand, may sponsor other family members.



Refugee Quota Family Reunification.


In this policy, “Family” refers to siblings, children or parents, only.


Sponsorship requirements.  The sponsor must have been granted residence of New Zealand as a mandated refugee; be an immediate family member (sibling, parent, child) of the sponsored applicant; have attended an interview with a Refugee Quota Branch immigration officer and been deemed “acceptable”.


Applicant Eligibility. The applicant must have an acceptable sponsor (see above); must have been declared on the sponsor’s original documentation (or follow a special procedure); meet character and certain health requirements; must satisfy an immigration officer that the circumstances of separation from their sponsor are credible; that reunification will have a positive effect on the sponsor; and that there is potential for successful settlement.



Refugee Family Support.


In this policy, “Family” refers to a wider definition of “Family”


In addition to the “Family Reunion” policy (above), there is an annual quota (presently 300) of persons not otherwise eligible under any other policy, to be sponsored by family members.  Sponsors need first of all to be selected in a 2 tier process; proposed incoming family members need to be identified and registered; there is a limit on how many registrations may be submitted and how many family members can be in each tier of the selection process at any given time.


The process is complicated and applicants usually seek assistance, either from professionals, or skilled refugee support volunteers.



Victims of people trafficking.


People may be considered for residence where they have been trafficked and are unable to return home because they are endangered, at risk of being re-trafficked, of suffering significant social stigma and financial hardship as a result of being trafficked.



Victims of domestic violence.


People may be considered for residence if they intended to seek residence of New Zealand on the basis of a relationship, which has ended because of domestic violence to themselves or a dependent child and they cannot return home because of the impacts of stigma, or because they have no means of independent financial support from employment or other means.