Refugees are forced to flee their own country due to war or persecution. In New Zealand, they are often alone or separated from family members who remain in unsafe situations overseas. They may be desperately lonely and worried about the safety and survival of those relatives left behind. Many will be unable to settle into their new lives in New Zealand until they are reunited.
The process of family reunification for refugees is costly and lengthy. Once visas have been issued to the successful few, it is heart-breaking when the last hurdle to secure money for the airfares proves insurmountable. Visas may expire if airfares cannot be purchased in the allocated timeframe. And if the visa expires, it cannot be reissued. The chance for reunification is gone.
The Auckland Refugee Family Trust was established in response to a suggestion from the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition, who saw the need for an organisation to raise and distribute funds to assist specifically with reuniting refugee families in Auckland.
Trust funds are awarded to refugee applicants – as funds permit – whose immediate family members have been assessed and approved by New Zealand Immigration Service as having a valid case for reunification. The applicants will already have approved visas and residency permits for New Zealand before the Trust commits funds for travel.
All funds raised by the Trust are used exclusively to assist with airfares and related family reunification expenses.