New Zealand South Africa refugees

Photo: Michel Wijdemans / Flickr

Surprise number of South Africans apply for refugee status in New Zealand

The extremely difficult set of criteria required to reach New Zealand on a refugee visa from South Africa didn’t stop these foolhardy souls from applying.

New Zealand South Africa refugees

Photo: Michel Wijdemans / Flickr

Refugee visas are incredibly tough to come by, even if you’ve lived a life of terrible hardships. Countries can usually be quite reluctant to take in their share of displaced citizens, turning the most vulnerable people in our society into political footballs. So fair f***s to the handful of South Africans who thought they had a shot at getting into New Zealand this way.

Refugee visas for South Africans Down Under – it’s just not happening…

It still takes some getting used to, but 2018 started two years ago: It seems like just yesterday when land expropriation was approved by Parliament, and the Australian government thought it was a good idea to stick their noses into our business. But hey, what can we expect from such a “civilised country”.

Aussie Home Affairs Minister and timely rent-a-gob Petter Dutton caused an international incident when he proposed that his country should create a special refugee visa for South African farmers. Playing on the fears of farm attacks and expropriation uncertainty, Dutton’s input was fiercely rebuked by DIRCO.

How many South Africans have tried to get a refugee visa in New Zealand?

The plan eventually fell apart, but some plucky South Africans have still tried their luck Down Under – this time, they’ve shifted the borders. Data published by the New Zealand government at the end of 2019 has been made public by the media in Mzansi this week, and it has churned out some interesting results:

  • New Zealand accepts a quota of 1 000 refugees each year, from different conflicts across the world.
  • In 2019, nine South Africans applied for refugee status in New Zealand. Their bid to jump the queue failed.
  • However, it’s not a recent phenomenon. Since 2009, 83 South Africans have sought asylum in NZ and fell short.

Why it’s difficult to get into New Zealand this way

Well, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The truth is that South Africa – despite its economic and political grumbles – is very much seen as a country refugees flee towards. So trying to convince another government you need asylum over someone from Syria, Libya or any other current conflict zone is a tough ask.

Refugees have to prove they have been uprooted from their home. New Zealand only tends to accept applicants who have fled to a different country, and ones who have been able to secure an appointment with branches of the UN to plead their case. Those applying on a whim don’t stand a chance, essentially.