New Zealand’s Compassionate Immigration Response to the Israel-Hamas Conflict



Date: 10 July 2024

New Zealand is deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) understands the challenges and stress this situation brings to many individuals. They have implemented several measures to assist those affected by the conflict and ensure consistent and prioritised processing of applications from the impacted regions.

Refugee Quota

New Zealand supports international refugee situations primarily through its Refugee Quota program. The country accepts 1,500 refugees annually under this program. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refers refugees to INZ, ensuring that those most in need receive protection and resettlement opportunities. This program demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to providing sanctuary to those fleeing persecution and conflict.

Measures Implemented by INZ

In response to the Israel-Hamas conflict, INZ has put several processes in place to ensure fair and expedited handling of visa applications from affected individuals. These include:

  • Centralized Processing: All visitor visa applications from Palestinian and Israeli passport holders are processed in the same office to ease visa processing.
  • Prioritization Requests: INZ has established a dedicated mailbox for applicants to request prioritization of their visa applications, ensuring urgent cases receive prompt attention.
  • Consular Assistance: The New Zealand Embassy in Cairo supports New Zealand citizens and residents attempting to leave Gaza. To date, 26 New Zealand citizens and permanent residents have assisted in leaving Gaza.

Exit Permits for Palestinians

Currently, only Palestinians who are also citizens of a third country, along with their immediate family members (dependent children and partners), are being granted exit permits to leave Gaza. The New Zealand Embassy in Cairo continues to advocate with Israeli and Egyptian authorities to secure permission for valid New Zealand visa holders to exit Gaza.

Visa Statistics

Since the conflict began on 7 October 2023, INZ has received a significant number of visa applications from both Israeli and Palestinian nationals:

  • Israeli Nationals: 542 applications (both temporary and residence visas) have been received. Of these, 434 have been approved, 18 declined, and the remaining are either in progress or have been withdrawn.
  • Palestinian Nationals: We have received 127 applications (both temporary and residence visas). Of these, 71 are approved, 26 declined, and the remaining are either in progress or have been withdrawn.

Among the approved applications, 116 Israeli nationals and 20 Palestinians have arrived in New Zealand. This includes various visa types, reflecting New Zealand’s commitment to providing a haven for those affected by the conflict.

Visa Waiver for Israeli Nationals

Israel is a visa waiver country for New Zealand, meaning Israeli citizens do not need to apply for a Visitor Visa for short stays. Instead, they require a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). The NZeTA allows for a streamlined entry process, facilitating more straightforward and quicker travel arrangements for Israeli visitors.


INZ remains committed to supporting individuals impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict through efficient and compassionate immigration processes. The steps taken reflect New Zealand’s broader commitment to humanitarian support and international cooperation in times of crisis.

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