NZ to take 150 refugees from Australian detention

In a joint statement from Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, and New Zealand’s Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, the two governments agreed on the resettlement plan, which will last for three years.

Ms Andrews made it clear the deal only applies to refugees currently in Australia’s detention system, not to any future asylum seekers, reinforcing the nation’s hard-line stance on refugees.

“This arrangement does not apply to anyone who attempts an illegal maritime journey to Australia in the future,” Ms Andrews said.

“Australia remains firm – illegal maritime arrivals will not settle here permanently.

“Anyone who attempts to breach our borders will be turned back or sent to Nauru.”

The resettlement agreement will initially be applied to refugees currently stuck in the offshore detention centre in Nauru or are temporarily in Australia “under regional processing arrangements”.

Refugees stuck on Nauru will be one of the priorities to be resettled in New Zealand. (AP)

Refugees must meet New Zealand’s refugee quota programme requirements, be referred to New Zealand by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and cannot be part of other third-country resettlement plans.

Mr Faafoi expressed he was pleased the deal had been finalised.

“We are pleased to be able to provide resettlement outcomes for refugees who would otherwise have continued to face uncertain futures,” he said.

All applications from refugees to resettle in New Zealand will undergo “comprehensive screening”, the statement said.

This includes checks on credibility, security, risk and biometrics, and a health assessment.

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The offer from New Zealand has been on the table since 2013 and has been subject to multiple rounds of negotiations.

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