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Refugee Advisory Panel applications now open 16 May 2022

Skilled and experienced former refugees are being asked to help support government decision-makers and policy developers on matters impacting refugees in New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ), Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT), and the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS) are working together to set up a new Refugee Advisory Panel that will enable former refugees to have a voice on matters that affect them.

Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS)

Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT)

“The Panel is being established to give our refugee community an opportunity to participate in the development of refugee strategies and policies in an effective and meaningful manner,” says Fiona Whiteridge, General Manager Refugee and Migrant Services, INZ.

The Panel is intended to be a collaborative space for former refugee communities, groups and organisations to represent themselves and advocate collectively.

“We are looking for people who have knowledge of refugee policy and expertise in refugee issues such as gender, education, economic inclusion, protection, or resettlement,” explains Fiona.

Applicants need to have held refugee status, sought asylum, or experienced displacement and resettled in New Zealand. If you have experience and demonstrated leadership in a refugee-led or refugee-serving organisation, then consider applying.

“Panel members will represent New Zealand’s collective refugee community which is why we need applicants with demonstrated refugee experience and leadership,” says Professor Jay Marlowe, Co-Director CAPRS, University of Auckland.

Rez Gardi, R-SEAT Managing Director, international lawyer and human rights activist says R-SEAT’s vision is for refugees to play a major role within the central decision-making bodies of the global refugee regime, to contribute to more effective and legitimate processes, and to the policies that affect their lives, and that no decisions should be made about refugees without refugees.

“I am so pleased to be involved in establishing the Panel with CAPRS and INZ. It’s a reflection of the Government’s commitment to the refugee community and aligns with New Zealand’s Refugee Resettlement Strategy which aims for refugees to have a strong sense of belonging to their own community and to New Zealand.”

Applications are open now and close on 19 June 2022 and after the selection process is completed, the Panel of seven members will begin their two-year term in early July.


More information about the Panel and application process

  • Refugees arrive in New Zealand under our refugee quota programme, as family members or as asylum-seekers.
  • Government agencies work together and with non-government organisations, to resettle refugees successfully into their new communities, helping them to access health, housing and employment services to achieve self-sufficiency, social integration and independence.
  • New Zealand is one of around 37 countries that take part in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regular refugee resettlement programme. New Zealand’s annual Refugee Quota increased to 1,500 places from July 2020.
  • COVID-19 has impacted on New Zealand’s Refugee Quota Programme. In 2019/20, 797 individuals were resettled; 260 individuals in 2020/21 and between 750-1,000 individuals are planned to be resettled in 2021/22.
  • New Zealand’s Refugee Quota is a reflection of the Government’s commitment to fulfilling its international humanitarian commitments to provide protection to refugees who are not able to return safely to their home country.