Christchurch reinstated as refugee resettlement location

The Government has announced Christchurch will once again be a refugee resettlement location, nearly eight years after quota refugees stopped settling there.

Christchurch was removed as a refugee resettlement location following the September 2010 earthquake.

Since then only a small number of refugees have been sent there as part of a community sponsorship model or family reunification process, Stuff reports.

But refugees brought to New Zealand under the Government's quota system have been sent elsewhere after their six-week stay at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement centre.

Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway said the reinstatement is a milestone for the city's recovery.

"It's great news for refugees, New Zealand and Christchurch itself to be re-established as a refugee settlement location," he said.

"It shows the city is once again able to welcome some of the world's vulnerable people and let them be part of a fantastic place to live.

"There is an extraordinary number of people around the world who need refuge and New Zealand is determined to play its part. Today will go some way to help us achieve lifting our refugee quota to 1500 per year in this term of Government."

The plan is for 60 quota refugees to be resettled in Christchurch in the 2018/19 financial year, beginning with the first group of 20 arriving in March 2019.

Christchurch Red Cross has welcomed the announcement and will assist the refugees in their resettlement including an orientation programme and connecting refugees to vital services like medical care, education and employment.

"We've been there for Christchurch residents for over 100 years before, during, and after disasters," said national migration programmes manager Rachel O'Connor.

"It'll be an exciting new chapter to build on our existing support for the wider Canterbury community as we join them in welcoming the city's new residents."