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Immigration NZ to help migrants in extreme hardship fly home

Immigration NZ will help migrants in extreme hardship leave New Zealand using its unspent deportations budget. 

Plane (file image). Source: Thinkstock

Immigration NZ's Geoff Scott said it was for people "unable to support themselves by other means including assistance from their home governments, High Commission or Consulate". 

"We are aware that some migrants are facing very difficult circumstances and want to go home but don’t have the funds to do so," he said. 

"Immigration NZ does use its deportation budget to repatriate foreign nationals in extreme circumstances in normal times so this isn’t a new use of this budget."

The deportation budget is currently unable to be used because of travel restrictions such as flight availability, a lack of transit options and border closures. 

"Some of these factors will also make it difficult for the repatriation initiative to get some eligible people home."

However, if a person who received funding wanted to return to New Zealand at some point they would need to repay the cost of travel before being issued a visa. 

"We believe this is a humane and proper response for people who find themselves in extreme circumstances and who wish to go home but are unable to do so due to lack of funds," Scott said.