Y6.1 Claims for refugee or protection status at port of entry
See also Immigration Act 2009 ss 125, 133
- Under the guidelines set down by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the obligations set out in the Immigration Act 2009 with reference to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), New Zealand has a general obligation to admit people who make a claim for refugee or protection status on arrival in New Zealand.
- An indication of intent is all that is required to initiate the processing of a refugee or protection claim.
- Immigration officers should give due consideration to people who wish to claim refugee or protection status, because they may be tired, disoriented, distressed, and incapable of communicating in English, either orally or in writing.
- People may express an intention to seek refugee or protection status in a variety of ways, to a representative of the Department of Labour or a constable including, but not limited to, statements of the following kind:
- they have been persecuted; or
- they are in fear of being persecuted; or
- they have been imprisoned for political reasons; or
- they are afraid of being imprisoned in their home country; or
- they want to 'see the United Nations' (ie the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ('UNHCR')); or
- they want to know if there is a United Nations office in New Zealand; or
- they are 'stateless' or 'homeless' persons; or
- they want to see a lawyer; or
- they are afraid to return to their home country; or
- they are in danger of being subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if they are returned home; or
- they will be in danger of being arbitrarily killed; or
- they simply "do not want to return".
- No person who is a refugee or protection status claimant may be deported from New Zealand until their refugee or protection status has been finally determined.
- Assessment against the general instructions at A16.2 will indicate where a person is not someone to whom a visa should be granted.
- Other than where (f) above applies, the following visas may be granted:
- for an individual adult, a work visa current for up to 6 months;
- in a family group, one adult may be granted a work visa current for up to 6 months; and
- for a child of school age, a student visa current for up to 6 months; and
- all other family members, a visa for up to 6 months appropriate to their circumstances.
- Where a claimant is not granted a visa and is subject to turnaround under section 115 of the Immigration Act 2009, they may not be removed from New Zealand until their refugee or protection status has been finally determined.
- If the claimant is the holder of a limited visa, the claimant, unless subject to sections 15 or 16 of the Immigration Act 2009, should be granted entry permission for the period required to achieve the express purpose for which they were granted the limited visa.
- A representative of the Department of Labour may request that the claimant confirms their claim in writing in the prescribed manner. If a claimant does not confirm their claim in the prescribed manner (see C4.20) at the border, an immigration officer must advise that they have five working days to do so, or to otherwise establish contact with the Refugee Status Branch. If they do not do so their claim will be treated as not made, and they will become liable for deportation.
- If the claimant is the holder of a limited visa, they should be told that an application for a further limited visa will only be considered after they have confirmed their claim in the prescribed manner.