Migration Trends 2006/07
This stream includes the Refugee Quota and refugee-linked categories such as Refugee Status and the Refugee Family Support Category. Other categories include the Pacific Access Category and the Samoan Quota, Ministerial exceptions to policy, and other miscellaneous policies. In 2006/07, the Department of Labour issued a general instruction to continue the prioritisation of applications through refugee policy over other categories in the International/Humanitarian Stream. This reflects the government’s commitment to international refugee conventions. The priority categories included Refugee Quota applicants and successful refugee status claimants.
New Zealand is a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and accepts an annual quota of refugees. These people are mandated as in need of resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Numbers and composition of quota
There were 748 people accepted for resettlement to New Zealand under the Refugee Quota programme in 2006/07. There was an average of three people per approved application. Table 7.1 shows the composition of the refugee cases accepted through the quota.
|Sub-category||Number of people||% of quota|
|Refugee Women at Risk||57||8%|
Nationalities of quota refugees
In the last five years, over 3,800 people from more than 50 different countries have been accepted through the quota. The main source countries over that period were Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq, Sudan and Iran. In 1999, a special exercise allowed the resettlement of 404 Kosova Albanians in addition to the quota, and in 2003/04, there was a large increase in refugees from Afghanistan. Over the last two years, Myanmar has been the largest source country of quota refugees. In 2006/07, the largest source countries were Myanmar (49 percent) and Afghanistan (30 percent). Figure 7.1 compares the main source countries of quota refugees in the last three financial years.
Figure 7.1 Nationality of quota refugees: 2004/05–2006/07
Refugee status claimants
In addition to commitments to accept an annual quota of refugees, New Zealand is also committed to considering all claims from asylum seekers who seek refugee status in New Zealand.
Successful refugee status claimants
There were 62 successful refugee status claimants in 2006/07, down slightly from 67 in 2005/06. The number of successful claimants has decreased significantly in recent years as the number of people claiming refugee status has fallen. The falling number of asylum seekers is consistent with international trends. Figure 7.2 shows that the number of people claiming refugee status has fallen steadily over the last decade.
Figure 7.2 Number of people claiming refugee status since 1997/98
Successful refugee status claimants granted residence
Permanent residence is approved separately from refugee status. In 2006/07, 191 successful refugee status claimants were approved for residence, compared to 162 in 2005/06 and 335 in 2004/05. The low number of successful refugee status claimants being approved for permanent residence is likely to continue as fewer people seek asylum in New Zealand.
Nationality of successful refugee status claimants granted residence
Figure 7.3 compares the nationality of successful refugee status claimants approved for residence in the last three financial years. Iran has made up the highest proportion of approvals over the last three reporting periods.
Figure 7.3 Nationality of successful refugee status claimants granted residence: 2004/05–2006/07
Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category
The Samoan Quota was formally established in 1970 and is based on the spirit of close friendship embodied in the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa. The Samoan Quota allows up to 1,100 Samoan citizens to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. The Pacific Access Category (PAC) was established in July 2002 with other Pacific countries with which New Zealand has close cultural and historical ties. The annual quotas are allocated as follows: Tonga (250), Tuvalu (75) and Kiribati (75).  Applicants selected to apply for residence under the Samoan Quota and PAC must first be selected from a random ballot draw (first stage) and then must meet a range of requirements under immigration policy to be granted residence (second stage).
In 2004/05, a number of policy changes were made to the Samoan Quota and PAC to increase the take-up of available quota places while maintaining positive settlement outcomes for migrants from these Pacific nations. Changes include allowing applicants lawfully in New Zealand to apply for residence without having to return to their home country, reducing the income threshold for applicants with dependents, and allowing principal applicants and their partners to aggregate their earnings to meet the income threshold.  Furthermore, applicants are also given more time to apply for residence (to allow them to find employment in New Zealand), and the principal applicant is given more time to arrive in New Zealand once their residence visa has been granted.
Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category Residual Places
If the annual quota of places available under the Samoan Quota and PAC is not filled by applicants drawn from the ballot, these places may be offered as Residual Places. From time to time, Immigration New Zealand will call for applications within a specified period. The Residual Places policies have similar criteria to that of the Samoan Quota and PAC.
Samoan Quota approvals
There were 1,106 people approved for residence through the Samoan Quota in 2006/07. Of this total, 115 people were approved under the Samoan Quota Residual Places policy.
Pacific Access Category approvals
There were 1,199 people approved for residence through the PAC in 2006/07. Of this total, 504 people were approved under the PAC Residual Places policy. Table 7.2 provides a breakdown of the number of people approved for residence through the PAC categories in 2006/07.
|PAC sub-category||Number approved|
* Not all people in these categories are approved for residence in the same year they are drawn in the ballot. Table 7.2 includes people who were successful in the 2006 ballot as well as some who were successful in earlier ballots.
- New Zealand accepted 748 people through the Refugee Quota in 2006/07. In recent years, refugees have come from a diverse range of nationalities. In 2006/07, Myanmar was the largest source country of Refugee Quota approvals (49 percent), followed by Afghanistan (30 percent).
- The number of people seeking asylum in New Zealand has decreased steadily over the last decade. There were 62 successful refugee status claimants in 2006/07, and 191 successful claimants were approved for permanent residence.  Over the last three years, Iran has been the largest source country of successful refugee status claimants.
- The Samoan Quota allows up to 1,100 Samoan citizens to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. The Pacific Access Category (PAC) allocates places each year for citizens of Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati.  The Samoan Quota and PAC are administered through a ballot system.
- In 2006/07, 1,106 people were approved through the Samoan Quota and 1,199 people were approved through the PAC. Ten percent of Samoan Quota approvals were granted through the Residual Places policy, as were 42 percent of approvals through the PAC.
 Fiji is suspended from participating in the Pacific Access Category.
 In 2006/07 the minimum income requirement was $28,888.08. The minimum income threshold for applicants with dependent children is calculated annually based on the unemployment benefit (married and civil union) plus the maximum accommodation supplement. Prior to 2004, this threshold was calculated as the Guaranteed Retirement Income (now called New Zealand Superannuation) married rate plus the maximum accommodation supplement. For single applicants or couples without children, the income requirement is assessed against the minimum adult wage.
 Permanent residence is granted separately from refugee status.
 Fiji is currently suspended from the PAC.