Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 10:32 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - New Zealand

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - New Zealand , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

New Zealand hosted approximately 1,200 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003. These included about 600 refugees admitted from overseas, some 240 granted asylum during the year, and nearly 350 with pending asylum claims.

Over 840 persons filed applications for asylum in New Zealand during 2003, mostly from Iran, India, China, Thailand, and Zimbabwe. Authorities made over 960 decisions at the first instance, accepting over 160 persons and rejecting some 800, for an acceptance rate of about 17 percent. They granted over 70 persons refugee status on appeal.


For fiscal year 2002-2003, which ended June 30, New Zealand admitted just over 600 refugees from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) referrals, including 355 from Iraq, 72 from Afghanistan, and 47 from Iran. Officials accepted some 300 of the refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea who had been held there under Australia's "Pacific Solution."

Family Reunification

Between June 30 and December 31, 2003 New Zealand accepted 35 UNHCR referrals from Nauru and Australia on exceptional humanitarian basis, mostly women and children reuniting with their husbands. (Australian temporary protection visas do not allow for family reunification.) In addition, New Zealand agreed to accept the families of the 36 unaccompanied boys rescued in 2001 among 430 asylum seekers from their sinking ship by the Tampa freighter.

New Developments

In October 2003, the Associate Immigration Minister issued a removal order for a Somali asylum seeker whose residency application had been submitted five years earlier. He would have been the first Somali deported from New Zealand. However, he was granted a temporary reprieve by a High Court judge in November, pending a UNHCR report on removal to Somalia. The US, Britain, and Australia did not deport Somalis in 2003 due to safety concerns for returnees.

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