“This is for people who have been assessed as being in extreme hardship and unable to support themselves by other means including assistance from their home governments, High Commission or Consulate,“ said General Manager Verification and Compliance Geoff Scott
Under the programme, where people have been assessed by the Department of Internal Affairs as being in hardship they are provided with information about the potential for INZ to help them with the cost of their travel home, if they cannot meet these costs themselves and are unable to obtain assistance by any other means.
This is being paid for by unspent funds from INZ ‘s deportations budget which cannot otherwise be used at this time due to travel restrictions including flight availability, transit options and border closures. Some of these factors will also make it difficult for the repatriation initiative to get some eligible people home.
“We are aware that some migrants are facing very difficult circumstances and want to go home but don’t have the funds to do so. INZ does use its deportation budget to repatriate foreign nationals in extreme circumstances in normal times so this isn’t a new use of this budget.”
Individuals who receive repatriation assistance will have to repay the cost of that travel before being issued another visa to return to New Zealand.
INZ’s ability to pay for and book flight tickets is also limited by the availability of flights out of New Zealand, any transit or entry requirements for the return to a migrant’s home country, and whether they hold a valid travel document.
“We believe this is a humane and proper response for people who find themselves in extreme circumstances and who wish to go home but are unable to do so due to lack of funds.”