A little background to how asylum seeking and the refugee quota system work in NZ because I see quite a few discussions going around Behrouz Boochani that conflate them. First, it helps to think of the refugee quota as a top up for countries that receive few asylum seekers.
For example, countries like Turkey that host millions of asylum seekers don't need a resettlement system as they are hosting more than a fair share of the world's refugees. Places like NZ that are far away from conflict zones, and with very strong border restrictions get few...
asylum claims (approx 500 p.a.) and accept even fewer (approx 150p.a. with another 50 on appeal). Our asylum system deports more than half of claimants and people have to meet a strict criteria. It is independent and accusations of political interference are ill-informed.
So there is no limit on the number of asylum seeker claims that can be accepted in a year - it's a universal human right that if we think you're fleeing persecution that we offer protection whether that's one person a year or one million. So one person arriving does not take...
the place of another person. I can understand why people would think that is the case as we also have our 'top up' category of the refugee quota. That's because 200 people a year is tiny... so we top it up with a quota of 1500 people. Now that quota is limited +/- 5%.
But adding an asylum seeker doesn't take away a quota place. If we had one accepted asylum seeker then, plus the quota, our intake would be 1501. If we had a million it'd be 1001500.
Before 9/11 and advanced security and pre-screening we were getting 2000 applications a year and accepting 500 (plus 50 on appeal - for some reason that rarely changes IDK why?) at the peak. NZ has gone hard on stopping as many asylum applications as we can since then.
And that was one reason why we said we needed to double the quota. But on top of that, we actually have to preserve the asylum system as for some it is the only chance they'll have at protection. It's also worth noting the govt doesn't fund asylum seekers like quota refugees.
There's a great group in Wellington advocating for the same access to settlement support for asylum seekers, but currently that is just not there. So anyone talking about the cost of all this is just missing how the system currently works.
The last ten years of these figures are helpfully provided by @MBIEgovtnz - p3 asylum applications; p5 accepted claims; p6 refugee quota arrivals; p8 family support. The real story/aberration in those stats is that we only reunited 123 family members out of 300 places last year.
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