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New refugee settlement location announced Monday, 6 May 2019

Ashburton has been selected as the sixth new refugee settlement location following the Government’s decision to increase the annual refugee quota to 1,500 places from July 2020.

Ashburton joins Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton and Levin, which were announced as settlement locations in February.

The additional locations were decided by the cross-government New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy Senior Officials’ Group, which considered employment opportunities, availability of housing, government services and support provided by local government and the community.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) National Manager, Refugee Division, Andrew Lockhart, says Ashburton met all the criteria to be selected with a relatively low demand on public housing and good employment opportunities, as well as strong support from the Mayor.

“I am confident that the people of Ashburton will welcome the refugees when they start arriving in the area,” Mr Lockhart says. “We will meet directly with the council to brief them on the settlement support available and then work with them to engage communities and providers.“

Ashburton District Council is already one of 10 councils across five regions of the country involved in the Welcoming Communities programme, which puts out the welcome mat to newcomers: recent migrants, former refugees and international students.

“Ensuring that refugees feel welcomed in their new community is an integral part of successful resettlement and we think Ashburton already has a great track record of doing this,” Mr Lockhart says.

It is planned that refugees will begin to be settled in Timaru, Whanganui and Blenheim from April 2020, while refugees will begin arriving in Masterton and Levin from June 2020 and Ashburton from August 2020.  

Initially between 10 – 15 Quota refugees (approximately three to five families) will be allocated per intake to each of the six new settlement locations (arriving in settlement locations every six – eight weeks). The nationalities of refugees to be settled are yet to be decided.

Media factsheet — Refugees and asylum seekers PDF 422KB

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