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Family of refugees: Special visa categories

The Refugee Quota Family Reunification residence category: Family of UNHCR-mandated refugees

INZ Operational Manual: Residence, S4.20

If you were granted a Resident Visa as a UNHCR-mandated refugee, you may be able to sponsor family members to join you in New Zealand. You can’t do this if you were sponsored by a community organisation under the CORS scheme.

You can only sponsor immediate family members, such as your partner or child. If you are a dependent child, you can sponsor your parent. You can’t sponsor aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, grandparents or other relatives.

You need to have an interview with an immigration officer to decide if you are an appropriate sponsor.

The family member you want to sponsor will have to show:

  • they are of good character
  • they are healthy enough
  • there is a good reason you were separated
  • they were declared to be a family member on your original Residence Application for Mandated Refugees form and can prove the family relationship
  • their arrival will help you, their sponsor to settle in New Zealand
  • they have a good chance of settling into life in New Zealand.

Anyone who is given a Resident Visa through this sponsorship can’t then sponsor anyone else.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Immigration New Zealand


Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.


You can read Immigration NZ’s Operational Manual at www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

Immigration and Protection Tribunal


Red Cross Refugee Trauma Recovery


This Refugee Trauma Recovery service provides clinical and therapeutic support to former refugees who have experienced torture and/or trauma. The service is available to children, young people and adults.

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