Migration Trends and Outlook 2007/08
- In the five years to 2007/08, more than 3,600 people from more than 50 countries (including Myanmar, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, and Bhutan) have been accepted through the Refugee Quota, including 795 people in 2007/08.
- The number of people seeking and making successful claims for asylum in New Zealand is decreasing steadily (as it is internationally). Eighty-one successful refugee status claims occurred in 2007/08.
- In 2007/08, 213 successful refugee status claimants were approved for residence. 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.
The International/Humanitarian Stream includes the Refugee Quota and refugee-linked categories (such as the Refugee Status and Refugee Family Support Categories), categories such as the Pacific Access Category and the Samoan Quota, ministerial exceptions to policy, and other miscellaneous policies. Applications through refugee policy are prioritised over other categories in the International/Humanitarian Stream, to reflect the Government's commitment to international refugee conventions.
Refugee Quota approvals
New Zealand is a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, so accepts an annual quota of refugees. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees mandates refugees as people in need of resettlement.
Numbers and composition of Refugee Quota
Accepted for resettlement to New Zealand under the Refugee Quota in 2007/08 were 795 people. An average of three people were approved per application. Table 9.1 shows the composition of the Refugee Quota.
|Refugee Quota subcategory||Number of people||Percentage of quota (%)|
|Refugee Women at Risk||184||23|
Nationalities of Refugee Quota refugees
Since 2003/04, more than 3,600 people from more than 50 different countries have been accepted through the Refugee Quota. The main source countries over that period were Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran. In 1999, a special exercise allowed the resettlement of 404 Kosovo Albanians in addition to the quota, and in 2003/04, there was a large increase in refugees from Afghanistan.
Figure 9.1 Nationality of Refugee Quota approvals, 2005/06-2007/08
Figure 9.1 compares the main source countries of Refugee Quota approvals since 2005/06, with Myanmar the largest source country since 2006/07. In 2007/08, the largest source countries were Myanmar (27percent), Bhutan (19percent), and Eritrea (15percent).
No Bhutanese quota refugees came to New Zealand before 2007/08. Refugees from Eritrea increased significantly from 2005/06 to 2007/08.
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 who wish to stay in New Zealand permanently must subsequently apply for permanent residence.
Successful refugee status claimants
There were 81 successful refugee status claimants in 2007/08, up slightly from 62 in 2006/07. The number of successful claimants, however, has decreased significantly since 2001/02 and at the same time the number of people claiming refugee status has fallen. The falling number of asylum seekers is consistent with international trends.
Figure 9.2 shows that the number of people claiming refugee status has fallen steadily over the decade to 2007/08.
Figure 9.2 Number of people claiming refugee status and successful claims, 1997/98-2007/08
Note: The year the claim for refugee status was made may not coincide with the year in which the decision was made.
Successful refugee status claimants granted residence
Permanent residence is approved separately from refugee status. In 2007/08, 213 successful refugee status claimants were approved for residence compared with 191 in 2006/07 and 162 in 2005/06. 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 refugee status claimants granted residence
Figure 9.3 compares the nationality of refugee status claimants approved for residence since 2005/06. Iran made up the largest proportion of approvals in 2005/06 and 2006/07. Iraq, however, represented the largest number of approvals in 2007/08.
Figure 9.3 Source country of refugee status claimants granted residence, 2005/06-2007/08
Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category approvals
The Samoan Quota was established in 1970. It is founded on the spirit of close friendship embodied in the 1962 Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa. The 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 for Pacific countries with which New Zealand has close cultural and historical ties (Tonga, Tuvalu, and Kiribati). The annual quotas for the three countries are, respectively, 250, 75, and 75.
Applicants selected to apply for residence under the Samoan Quota and PAC must first be selected from a random ballot draw, and then must meet requirements under immigration policy to be granted residence.
In 2004/05, the policies underlying the Samoan Quota and PAC were changed to increase the take-up of available quota places while maintaining positive settlement outcomes for migrants from these Pacific nations.
If the annual quota of places available under the Samoan Quota and PAC is not filled by applicants drawn from the ballot, the places may be offered as residual places. Immigration New Zealand sometimes calls for applications within a specified period. The Residual Places Policies have criteria similar to those of the Samoan Quota and PAC.
Samoan Quota approvals
Approved for residence through the Samoan Quota in 2007/08 were, 1,202 people, including 82 approved under the Samoan Quota Residual Places Policy).
Pacific Access Category approvals
Approved for residence through the PAC in 2007/08 were 1,117 people, including 578 people approved under the PAC Residual Places Policy.
Table9.2 shows the number of people approved for residence through the PAC subcategories in 2007/08.
|Pacific Access Category subcategory*||Number approved|
* Not all people in these subcategories are approved for residence in the same year in which they are drawn in the ballot. The table includes people who were successful in the 2008 ballot as well as those successful in earlier ballots.
† Fiji has been suspended from participating in the PAC since April 2007.
 Fiji has been suspended from participating in the PAC since April 2007.