Former refugee pleas to abolish NZ's quota restriction on African and Middle Eastern refugees

A former refugee has made an emotional plea for a 'fairer' refugee quota in New Zealand.

Guled Mire joined World Vision's call for the abolishment of a policy which restricts refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

More than two-thirds of the world's 25-million refugees live in Africa and the Middle East. 

Guled Mire fled war in Somalia 22 years ago - but says he wouldn't have made it to New Zealander under the country's current refugee policy.

"This policy was designed intentionally to keep people, like me, out," Mire told Newshub.

Mire is referring to the 'family link requirement' in New Zealand's refugee quota, where refugees in Africa and the Middle East can only resettle in New Zealand if they have family already here.

In an emotional plea to MPs, Mire said that requirement needs to go.

"There is no time, there is no place for such a policy in our current day and age," he said.

The requirement was introduced in 2010 when the refugee policy changed to prioritise the Asia-Pacific region.

Since then, the numbers from Africa have fallen from 191 in 2009, to zero in 2014 and 2015, before going back up to 46 last year.

In its submission on the World Vision petition, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said that since the policy was introduced, "the regional allocation of refugees from Africa and the Middle East had not been met."

"The biggest need is in Africa and the Middle East - and we make it very difficult for people from Africa and the Middle East to be resettled here," says World Vision's Advocacy Lead in the Pacific, Carsten Bockemuehl.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agrees.

"I've said before, I do think it's something that needs to be looked at," she said.

Cabinet is currently reviewing it - with a decision expected soon.