New Zealand opens up to Syrian refugees

New Zealand is set to open its doors to 750 Syrian refugees over the next three years in response to the humanitarian crisis in Europe.


Syrian refugees

Michael Woodhouse, New Zealand’s immigration minister, said that 150 displaced Syrians would be accepted under the country’s current refugee quota and that an extra 600 people would be allowed residency through an emergency intake.

The announcement comes after John Key, the prime minister, announced last week that the nation would not consider increasing its refugee intake quota until 2016.

“Like most New Zealanders, the government is very concerned at the humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Syria and Europe that has visibly worsened in recent times,” Woodhouse told AFP.

New Zealand currently has a refugee quota of 750, which has not changed since 1987. Woodhouse added that the quotas would be reviewed and could be increased in 2016.

There are practical limitations around our ability to provide enough housing, translators, health services – all factors we need to take into consideration,” he said.

Australia has also recently moved to accept more Syrian refugees, but will do so without increasing its 2015-16 refugee quota of 13,750.