New Zealand to accept 750 Syrian refugees

Wellington, Sep 7 (IANS) New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse on Monday announced that the country will take in 750 Syrian refugees over the next two-and-half years.

The decision comes after growing political and public pressure for the New Zealand government to do more to help with the growing refugee crisis in Europe, Radio New Zealand reported.

He said the government’s commitment would be in addition to any decision that came out of the three year review in 2016.

“Today’s decision is an appropriate response. Official advice is an immediate intake of any more than the extra 100 announced today for this year could put unreasonable strains on services, affecting the quality of resettlement outcomes for all refugees in New Zealand,” he said.

Prime Minister John Key said the government was able to back its offer of taking in more refugees after taking appropriate advice from officials.

“The advice I’ve had from officials is that they can cope with what I’ve proposed today but it’s stretching the system,” he said.

He said churches could also take a role to help refugees settle in the country.

The bulk of refugees would probably go into Housing New Zealand homes, mainly in Wellington as there was quite a big Syrian community, he added.

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