Steps involved in the New Zealand Resettlement Pathways for Transferred Persons

On 24 March 2022, New Zealand and Australia announced an arrangement under which New Zealand will resettle eligible refugees who are subject to Australia’s offshore transfer policy. This arrangement applies to eligible refugees currently located on Nauru or in Australia. It has been agreed that New Zealand will resettle up to 150 refugees each year, for the next three years.  

Although refugees currently in Papua New Guinea are not included in this arrangement, they may be referred for resettlement to New Zealand via a separate refugee quota system. UNHCR has agreed to refer eligible refugees from Papua New Guinea to New Zealand through his channel. 

The following processing steps apply to both pathways for resettlement to New Zealand for transferred persons. Further details on processing steps may be shared on our website at a later stage. Please visit our website regularly for updates.  

*Please note that movement through each step is dependent on eligibility. Case processing can take a long time and you will be contacted when updates are available. We understand that the waiting period can be difficult. Please be assured that UNHCR will contact you at each step if your case is proceeding.  

Step 1: Expression of Interest Online Form 

Participation in the New Zealand resettlement pathways for transferred persons is entirely voluntary. It is important that you provide honest and complete information throughout this process. This includes current information on all family members, especially any spouses or children.  

If your case is active in a resettlement pathway with another country such as the United States or Canada, you should stay in the pathway you are in. This remains your best chance of resettlement in another country. 

The first step to participate in these pathways is to complete an Expression of Interest online form. Completed forms will be received directly by UNHCR and managed in accordance with the UNHCR Data Protection Policy

The Expression of Interest online form includes basic questions about your identity, contact details and current situation. You can also give consent for your existing case documents (from PNG, Nauru and Australia) to be accessed by UNHCR at this stage.  

If you have completed interviews and/or provided information to UNHCR directly in the past, please be assured that this information is already available to UNHCR – you will not have to start your case again. If you have previously been informed by UNHCR that your case is finalised, you do not need to complete an Expression of Interest as UNHCR will contact you directly. Nevertheless, you may choose to complete an Expression of Interest if your circumstances have changed since your UNHCR assessment. 

Once an online Expression of Interest has been completed, you will receive an email within two working days confirming your form has been received by UNHCR. You do not need to take any further action.  

Please be aware that Expressions of interest are not applications to New Zealand and do not guarantee that your case will be referred to New Zealand. Completing an expression of interest simply registers your willingness to participate in this process and for your information to be considered by UNHCR. 

Step 2: UNHCR Case Processing 

Once your Expression of Interest has been received, UNHCR will review and verify your existing case documents. You will be contacted if your case is proceeding to the next stage. 

You will be contacted directly by UNHCR to confirm and/or update your information. Note that when relevant UNHCR will work with the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) which may provide administrative assistance to ensure that case information is updated. Australia is not assessing or referring applications to New Zealand but may need to contact you. Any information you provide to Home Affairs will be shared directly with UNHCR for consideration and further case processing. Please note that calls may be conducted by video conferencing to help verify your information.  

You may need to be contacted multiple times by UNHCR to ensure your information is complete and accurate. This will depend on how much information is already available in your case, as well as any significant changes to your circumstances. We recognise it can be difficult to go back through information you may have discussed many times and will make every effort to use all existing information. Nevertheless, it is very important to ensure that your information is complete and accurate before we can consider submitting a case for resettlement to New Zealand. 

Step 3: UNHCR Case Finalisation & Referral to New Zealand 

If your case has been determined eligible for resettlement, UNHCR will finalise your case for referral to New Zealand. UNHCR will contact you before referring your case to New Zealand, to confirm your willingness to proceed. Participation remains voluntary at every stage. If you agree to proceed, UNHCR will confirm once your case has been referred and is under the consideration of the New Zealand authorities. No further action is required on your side until UNHCR contacts you. 

Step 4: New Zealand Case Processing 

Once your referral has been received by New Zealand, the New Zealand authorities will consider your case under their own Refugee Quota Programme assessment process. New Zealand through UNHCR will inform you if you are selected to complete an interview with the New Zealand authorities.  

Step 5: Decision by New Zealand 

After consideration of your case including interviews, New Zealand will make a final decision under its own laws and policies. New Zealand through UNHCR will inform you of its decision on your case once available.  

If your case has been accepted for resettlement by New Zealand, you will be updated on the next steps and travel arrangements. For general information on resettlement through New Zealand’s refugee quota program, please visit this website