Amid calls from politicians and civil society to lift the refugee quota, The New Zealand Initiative is urging government to take note of Canada’s system that allows private groups to sponsor refugees.
In New Zealand, the government explicitly limits the number of refugees that are allowed into the country each year, reflecting in part the direct costs of the process that are borne by the state.
The limit, which has not changed in 29 years, prevents community groups and charities from taking in additional refugees above the quota. While community groups do excellent work in helping new refugees to settle in New Zealand, those who are willing and able to do more are not allowed to do so.
In Canada, private groups can raise funds to sponsor the admission of additional refugees above the official quota. Over the past five months, almost 9,000 additional refugees have been able to resettle in Canada as a result of this policy.
“Much of the debate around refugees has focused on quotas, but even if it were doubled, efforts by charities and community groups to help more of these desperate people are likely to be constrained,” said the Initiative’s Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich.
“Canada’s example shows that there is a smarter way of doing things. That you can have a quota system, and also bring in more refugees above this limit by tapping into private philanthropy. This is a policy that we think is worth investigating.”
I agree. Have a quota for taxpayer funded places, but allow churches and charities to sponsor places on top of that. A win-win.