New Zealand to take 450 refugees from Australian processing centres - GulfToday

New Zealand to take 450 refugees from Australian processing centres


Nibok refugee settlement is seen on Nauru. File/AP

Gulf Today Report

Australia accepted on Thursday a long-standing New Zealand offer to take hundreds of refugees detained for years in remote camps under Canberra's "Pacific solution" immigration policy.

The New Zealand government said on Thursday it would take a total of 450 asylum seekers in Australia or its offshore detention centre on Nauru in the South Pacific over the next three year.


Japan considers doubling humanitarian aid loans to Ukraine

UN to vote on blaming Russia for Ukraine humanitarian crisis

Australia’s hardline immigration policy requires asylum seekers intercepted at sea trying to reach Australia to be sent to offshore detention centres. They are told they will never be settled in Australia and many have spent years in limbo.

A resident looks out from an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne on Thursday. AFP

"We are pleased to be able to provide resettlement outcomes for refugees who would otherwise have continued to face uncertain futures," New Zealand Minister for Immigration Kris Faafoi said in a statement.

In a joint statement with Australia's Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, Faafoi said the agreement reflected New Zealand's "long and proud history of refugee resettlement".

New Zealand will take 150 refugees per year for the next three years and they will follow the same screening and Refugee Quota Programme assessment process that other refugees coming to the country must meet, the statement said.

The UNHCR welcomed the deal, saying prolonged uncertainty had "taken an enormous toll" on refugees caught up in Australia's offshore processing system.

A protester stages a rally outside the Park Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. File/AP

In October, Australia ended a deal it had with Papua New Guinea to house refugees there, giving those refugees the option to move to Nauru or resettle in the US.

That was after Australia struck a deal in the final days of President Barack Obama’s administration for the United States to resettle 1,250 migrants that Australia had refused to accept because they had come by boat.

The new deal with New Zealand will not apply to the 100 or so refugees who remain on Papua New Guinea.

Refugee Behrouz Boochani was granted refugee status in New Zealand in 2020 after arriving on a temporary visa to talk about the award-winning book he wrote about the years he spent held against his will on Papua New Guinea.

He documented unsanitary conditions, hunger strikes, and violence, as well as deaths caused by medical neglect and suicide.



Related articles