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Who qualifies as a “refugee”


Who is a “refugee”?

Immigration Act 2009, s 129 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951, Article 1

You might be recognised as a refugee if:

  • you’re outside your country of nationality or habitual residence because you have a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of your race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion, and
  • you’re unable, or because of that fear, unwilling, to return to that country.

Who is a “protected person”?

Immigration Act 2009, ss 130, 131

You might be granted “protected person” status if you’re in danger of being killed, tortured, or ill-treated if you’re deported from New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand will decide your claim on the basis of whether you should be recognised as a protected person under either of the following international conventions:

  • Convention Against Torture – You’re a “protected person” under this Convention if there are substantial grounds for believing you’d be in danger of being tortured if you were deported back to your country of origin.
  • Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – You’re a “protected person” under this Covenant if there are substantial grounds for believing you’d be in danger of being arbitrarily killed or subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment if you were deported back to your country of origin.

Immigration Act 2009, ss 130(3), 131(3)

When Immigration NZ is deciding whether you should be recognised as a protected person, they have to take into account whether in your country of origin there is a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant, or mass violations of human rights.

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Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice on how legal aid works, whether you might be eligible for the service, and the next steps.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

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.

Website: www.immigration.govt.nz
Phone: 0508 558 855

The Operational manual contains immigration instructions that people who want to come to New Zealand must follow. While it is not a step-by-step guide, it will help you follow Immigration New Zealand’s processes. Access it here: www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

See also Immigration’s policies and processes: www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum

ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum is a grass-roots non-governmental organisation representing 18+ refugee background communities in the greater Wellington region.

Website: crf.org.nz
Email: info@crf.org.nz
Phone: 04 801 5812
Facebook: www.facebook.com/changemakersrefugeeforum

E Tū Whānau

While E Tū Whānau is proudly Māori, their violence free and whānau centred kaupapa is also helpful to former refugee and migrant communities.

Website: etuwhanau.org.nz/communities/former-refugees-and-migrants
Email: admin@etuwhanau.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/etuwhanaunz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/etuwhanau

Immigration and Protection Tribunal

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal determines appeals on Immigration New Zealand’s decisions about refugee and protection matters.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/Tribunals/immigration/immigration-and-protection

Red Cross Refugee Trauma Recovery – Wellington

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

Website: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees

Complete the trauma counselling self-referral form: www.redcross.org.nz/get-help/help-for-refugees/trauma-counselling/trauma-counselling-self-referral-form

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