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Refugee quota to resume on a limited basis Friday, 5 February 2021

New Zealand’s Refugee Quota Programme is resuming with small groups of refugee families beginning to arrive for resettlement in February 2021.

New Zealand’s annual refugee programme is a reflection of our international humanitarian commitments to provide protection to people who are not able to return safely to their home country.

Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) General Manager Refugee and Migrant Services, Fiona Whiteridge says since March last year, the quota refugee programme has been on hold as New Zealand focused on a nationwide COVID-19 response, with the exception of only a small number of priority emergency cases of refugees have been resettled. 

“INZ has been working with partners on plans to resume refugee resettlement when international travel and transit routes are available. Refugee arrivals will also comply with New Zealand’s COVID-19 health requirements” Fiona Whiteridge says.

“With health protocols in place and safe travel routes, we are ready to welcome small groups of refugee families as New Zealand residents to this country, to begin their new lives.”

The first group of 35 refugees to arrive in February are the first of a few similar sized cohorts to arrive. They will all complete a 14-day stay in government managed isolation facilities.

“INZ and the Managed Isolation and Quarantine agency (MIQ) are working closely together to coordinate the arrival of refugees to minimise any impact on available places at isolation facilities and ensure that the limited resumption of New Zealand’s refugee commitments does not displace other people,” Fiona Whiteridge says.

After completing managed isolation, the families will transfer to Te Āhuru Mōwai o Aotearoa (the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre) where they will complete their reception programme and finalise housing arrangements, before moving to planned settlement locations across New Zealand.


For further information contact the media line on 0274 422 141 or email:

media@mbie.govt.nz