New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy

Immigration New Zealand works with refugees to assess their health and employment options. The aim is to help refugees find work, and improve their health and education outcomes.

The New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy is a whole-of-government approach to delivering improved refugee resettlement outcomes. Refugees resettled into New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme more quickly achieve self-sufficiency, social integration and independence.

The Refugee Strategy is a holistic framework which brings together refugees’ goals for settling in New Zealand with the New Zealand Government’s vision for refugee resettlement, combining support from government agencies, settlement partners and refugees themselves.

The Refugee Resettlement Strategy PDF 1005KB

Priorities for implementation through to 2020 PDF 927KB

Refugee Quota Programme

Refugees are participating fully and integrated socially and economically as soon as possible so that they are living independently, undertaking the same responsibilities and exercising the same rights as other New Zealanders and have a strong sense of belonging to their own community and to New Zealand.

The overarching vision for the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy

Integration outcomes

The overarching outcome is underpinned by five integration outcomes:

  1. Self-sufficiency: all working-age refugees are in paid work or supported by a family member in paid work.
  2. Housing: refugees live in safe, secure, healthy and affordable homes without needing government housing help.
  3. Education: refugees have English language skills that help them participate in education and daily life.
  4. Health and wellbeing: refugees and their families enjoy healthy, safe and independent lives.
  5. Participation: refugees actively participate in New Zealand life and have a strong sense of belonging here.


Measuring success

Progress in improving the integration outcomes is measured annually against seven success indicators and one target (Education) approved by the Government.  Baseline data has been established as a basis for assessing subsequent progress. 


  • Increased proportion of working-age refugees in paid employment.
  • Reduced proportion of working-age refugees receiving unemployment related benefits.

Health and wellbeing

  • Refugees’ utilisation of general practitioner services.
  • Refugees’ access to mental health services.
  • Proportion of refugee children receiving age-appropriate immunisations.


  • Proportion of refugee school leavers attaining NCEA level 2 after five years or more in the New Zealand education system.


  • A reduction in the proportion of refugees receiving housing assistance.


Refugee Strategy Implementation Dashboard for 2017 PDF 381KB


The implementation of the Refugee Strategy is an inter-agency commitment. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) coordinates this work through Immigration New Zealand’s Refugee and Protection Unit.

The Refugee Strategy is being implemented progressively and has been applied in the first instance to Quota refugees arriving in New Zealand after 1 July 2013.

These are some of the key projects which have been implemented since the introduction of the Strategy.

In 2013/14 significant changes were made to the mix of services provided to Quota refugees in order to support improved refugee settlement outcomes. These included improved off-shore orientation, better information-sharing, an enhanced the six-week reception programme and increased support in the initial settlement phase.

Experiences of daily life of refugees in New Zealand

Information for refugees settling in New Zealand

In 2014/15 the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission conducted work to map the English language needs of former refugees. In addition the Ministry developed a refugee driver training programme which was piloted in Hamilton.

In 2015/16 the Ministry began work to explore barriers to the provision of interpreter services and other language assistance to former refugees in New Zealand. The Refugee Driver Training Programme was evaluated and rolled out to Nelson and Palmerston North.  The new Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre was opened in June 2016 following the building of purpose-built facilities.

Refugee Driver Training Programme

Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre

In 2016/17 the Ministry will coordinate the implementation of the inter-agency Language Assistance Services Project to address the barriers and gaps identified in the report on interpreter services and other language assistance services undertaken in 2015/16. The Ministry will also implement the National Refugee Driver Training Strategy, which was developed following the review of the refugee driver training programme. Inter-agency work will also be undertaken to improve refugee employment outcomes.

New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy overview PDF 181KB