Australia sends 450 refugees to New Zealand in a landmark deal despite years complaining that would create be a ‘backdoor’ for asylum seekers to enter the country
- New Zealand offered to take refugees who arrived in Australia years ago
- Now the offer has finally been accepted and 450 will be transferred to NZ
- Minister Karen Andrews says no illegal arrivals would be allowed to settle
Australia has announced a landmark shift in immigration policy with New Zealand agreeing to resettle 150 refugees each year for three years.
It comes after years of Australian politicians expressing concerns a resettlement deal with New Zealand would create a ‘back door’ for refugees to enter Australia.
The arrangement will initially be for refugees who are in Nauru or temporarily in Australia under regional processing arrangements and meet New Zealand’s refugee program requirements.
New Zealand will resettle 150 refugees from Australia each year for three years. Pictured: Protests in Sydney on Sunday
They must not be in other resettlement pathways, such as Australia’s resettlement arrangement with the United States.
The program will also extend to refugees referred to New Zealand by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews reiterated that no one who travelled to Australia via boat would be resettled.
‘This arrangement does not apply to anyone who attempts an illegal maritime journey to Australia in the future. Australia remains firm – illegal maritime arrivals will not settle here permanently,’ she said.
‘Anyone who attempts to breach our borders will be turned back or sent to Nauru.’
New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says the arrangement reflects the country’s proud history and strong commitment to resettling refugees.
‘This arrangement is another example of how we are fulfilling our humanitarian international commitment,’ he said.
‘We are pleased to be able to provide resettlement outcomes for refugees who would otherwise have continued to face uncertain futures.’
Refugee supporters take part in a Justice For Refugee Rally at Town Hall in Sydney on Sunday