S4.25 Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship Category
The objective of the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship (CORS) category is to:
- provide an opportunity for community organisations to actively engage in supporting successful refugee settlement and to build local communities that welcome refugees; and
- enable sponsored refugees, with the support of community organisations, to quickly become independent and self-sufficient so that they are able to enter the labour market, navigate their communities and access mainstream services without requiring additional support; and
- provide an alternative form of admission for refugees to complement New Zealand’s refugee quota and, in doing so, demonstrate New Zealand’s response to the scale of refugee movement and commitment to international responsibility sharing.
- The CORS category operates as a pilot in 2017/2018.
- Approved community organisations are selected through a request for application process.
- An approved community organisation may elect to sponsor:
- identified mandated refugees which the organisation has nominated; and/or
- mandated refugees who have been referred to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and allocated by INZ to the approved community organisation.
- The CORS category is only open to mandated refugees who are physically present in a geographic region identified by INZ. The geographic region will coincide with one or more refugee quota selection missions undertaken by INZ.
- The pilot CORS category intake will consist of 25 mandated refugees, but may be increased to up to 30 mandated refugees in order to enable qualifying family groups to be resettled together. No more than 30 CORS permanent resident visas may be granted as a result of the pilot.
- An approved community organisation must provide settlement services to sponsored refugees for two years.
Note: A mandated refugee is someone who, before arrival in New Zealand, was determined by the UNHCR to be a refugee under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
S4.25.10 Expression of interest and invitation to apply for a Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category permanent resident visa
See also Immigration Act 2009 ss 92-95
- A person may express interest in applying for a CORS permanent resident visa if he or she is:
- a mandated refugee; and
- physically present in the identified geographical region of the INZ selection mission; and
- nominated by an approved community organisation; or
- referred by the UNHCR to INZ for allocation to an approved community organisation.
- A person may express interest in applying by completing the CORS expression of interest (EOI) form and submitting it to an immigration officer.
- An EOI made in the prescribed manner may be entered into the EOI Pool, and will be valid for a period of six months. EOIs that are still in the Pool after six months, or rejected because they do not meet the criteria to be invited to apply, will be withdrawn.
- EOIs are selected in the order in which they are received.
- An immigration officer may invite a person to apply if:
- the person has been nominated by, or allocated to, an approved community organisation; and
- all people included in the expression of interest have been recognised by the UNHCR as mandated refugees; and
- the cap on approvals under the CORS category will not be exceeded as a result of an application resulting from the invitation to apply (see S4.25.5(e)); and
- the information provided:
- does not indicate the presence of health or character issues that may adversely affect the ability of any person included in the expression of interest to be granted a CORS permanent resident visa; and
- does not indicate any person included in the expression of interest is eligible to be sponsored for residence under any other family category, including the Refugee Family Support Category; and
- indicates the information provided regarding the principal applicant’s age, English language proficiency, and work experience or qualifications, is credible.
- An invitation to apply for a visa may at any time be revoked by the Minister of Immigration or an immigration officer. A revocation takes immediate effect.
- An immigration officer’s decision to issue an invitation to apply does not guarantee a positive assessment of any factor in any subsequent application for a residence class visa, or that the person will be granted a permanent resident visa.
S4.25.15 Lodging an application for a Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category permanent resident visa
- A person may only apply for a CORS permanent resident visa if he or she is invited to do so. Applications must be made within four months of the date INZ advises of that invitation.
- Applications for a CORS permanent resident visa must be made in the prescribed manner (subject to any applicable special direction), and be processed and decided by immigration officers from the Refugee Quota Branch.
- If an original or certified copy of a birth certificate or identity card for any person included in the application is unavailable, a signed declaration confirming their full name, date and place of birth and the full names of both parents must be submitted.
- If documents relating to the custody of any child under the age of 16 included in the application are unavailable, a UNHCR Best Interest Determination must be submitted.
- The principal applicant and partner included in the application must supply evidence to show the nature and duration of their partnership, and that it is a genuine and stable partnership (see F2.20). A signed declaration confirming the duration and nature of the partnership must be submitted by the applicants if an immigration officer is satisfied that such evidence would be unduly difficult to obtain because there are circumstances beyond their control which prevent them obtaining that evidence.
- All applicants aged 17 and over must provide a police clearance certificate, less than 6 months old at the time the application is lodged, for each country in which they have lived for 12 months or more during the past 10 years except where:
- the certificate is required from the applicant’s home country, where they have a well-founded fear of approaching the authorities; or
- the authorities of any such country do not generally provide police certificates; or
- the immigration officer deems it unsafe for the applicant to approach the authorities of that country.
- If overseas police clearances are unavailable, a signed declaration must be provided by each applicant aged 17 years or older, stating whether they have been convicted, or found guilty of, or charged with, any offences against the law in the country or countries for which police clearance certificates are unavailable.
- Applicants under this category are exempt by special direction from paying the prescribed application fee and the following mandatory requirements for lodgement have been waived by special direction: two passport-sized photographs, completed medical certificate and chest x-ray.
- Appropriately delegated immigration officers may waive by special direction any other mandatory requirement for lodgement.
- Any lodgement requirement waived by special direction may be required by an immigration officer at a later date.
S4.25.20 Determining a Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category resident visa application
Permanent resident visas under the CORS category may be granted if an immigration officer is satisfied that:
- the principal applicant has been nominated by an approved community organisation, or referred to INZ by the UNHCR and allocated to an approved community organisation; and
- the principal applicant is aged between 18 and 45 years old (inclusive); and
- the principal applicant can demonstrate English language ability that is sufficient that they can read, understand and respond to basic questions in English at an interview with an immigration officer; and
- the principal applicant has:
- a minimum of three years’ work experience in the same occupation, or the same or related sector; or
- a qualification that required a minimum of two years’ tertiary study; and
- the identity of all applicants has been confirmed; and
- all applicants are mandated as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention and recognised by the UNHCR; and
- all applicants have been interviewed by an immigration officer; and
- all applicants have an acceptable standard of health (see A4.10); and
- all applicants meet character requirements at A5, except the requirement to provide police certificates at A5.10 (applicants must instead meet the requirements of S4.25.15(f)); and
- there are no significant barriers to the ability of any of the applicants to settle in New Zealand; and
- no applicant is eligible to be sponsored for residence under any family category, including the Refugee Family Support Category; and
- the approval of the application would result in no more than 30 permanent resident visas being granted as a result of the CORS category pilot.
S4.25.25 Evidence of work experience or qualification
- Evidence of work experience may include but is not limited to written confirmation from the employer of the duration of employment, role and responsibilities.
- Evidence of qualification may include but is not limited to a copy of the qualification gained or an academic transcript.
- If evidence of work experience or qualifications are unavailable, a declaration signed by the principal applicant confirming the details of employment or study should be provided.
S4.25.30 Status of people granted a permanent resident visa under the Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship category
All applicants granted a permanent resident visa under this category are to be treated as principal applicants for the purpose of any future requests to sponsor family members under any applicable categories.