Caritas is behind the government’s application for permission to reunite families with Ukrainians living in New Zealand.
“We welcome this announcement as it provides shelter from the storms of war. This is a way out for vulnerable Ukrainians who are leaving the war zone and seeking to reunite with family members.
“This extended category is probably the most effective way to quickly provide asylum to some people fleeing Ukraine who already have families who have settled in the community to provide support,” said Roger Ellis, liaison manager. Caritas Aatearoa New Zealand.
On Tuesday, the government announced a special visa policy for Ukraine aimed at supporting 4,000 family members of New Zealanders who are natives of Ukraine.
“We are pleased with the announcement and support the reunification of the family. This is in line with the Bible’s precept to love one’s neighbor as oneself, ”says Ellis.
“Government policy is aimed at 1,600 Ukrainians living here and allows them to bring family members here. They must accommodate those family members who will receive a two-year work visa and their children will be able to go to school. The situation is somewhat different with UN refugees, who are mostly homeless without relatives and therefore require additional assistance upon arrival. “
Ellis says that Caritas understands that Ukrainian politics is a special humanitarian organization of family sponsorship, which goes beyond the usual categories of family immigration.
Caritas Aotearoa NZ is currently assisting its native agency Caritas Ukraine in working with displaced people in Ukraine, he says.
So far, she has raised $ 78,000 to help Caritas Ukraine provide emergency food, water, shelter and other immediate supplies to more than 100,000 people she has helped.
Ellis says an estimated 2.5 million people have fled their homes and are crossing the border into neighboring countries.
Pros and cons of the new policy of Ukraine
One of Caritas’ reservations about the new policy is that Aatearoa has many former refugee families who have been waiting for years to be reunited with family members fleeing war, conflict and violence in other parts of the world, especially in Africa and in the Middle East.
He would like their needs to be met “more timely”.
Ellis notes that resettlement as a refugee through the UN refugee quota or through the sponsorship of NGOs will take some time (not months).
At TodayFM, Nai Jit Lam, the UN deputy regional representative for refugees in Canberra, says there is no need to temporarily relocate people here yet.
“In fact, it’s hard to say how it will go in terms of conflict,” he says.
“The situation is very fluid, it is still evolving.”
He believes that the support of European countries that help Ukraine could affect the flow. According to him, assistance should be more targeted at those who take in refugees.
“The most important work we are trying to do is to keep this access open, while keeping humanitarian aid and aid – logistics.”
However, spokesman for the Green Immigration Party Golriz Gahraman sees it quite differently.
“Ukrainians here are saying something completely different than what we just heard from UNHCR that there are actually quite a few people who want to relocate and, of course, come back if the situation allows,” she said.