From the mailbag: Can I seek Asylum in New Zealand if Donald Trump wins the US election?
At Idesi Legal we have had a number of inquiries from the United States asking us if they can seek Asylum in New Zealand. While this is not a place for politics, it is understandable given the Trump administration and its response to Covid-19 that there is a lot of anxiety about the possibility of Trump being elected on Tuesday 03 November 2020. For this reason, among others, settling in New Zealand is very attractive option.
The general answer as to whether you can seek asylum if Donald Trump wins the US elections is as follows.
- A refugee as defined by the United Nations ‘has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so’.
- To obtain asylum in New Zealand you would need to meet a high threshold to ultimately obtain refugee status.
- There is a high threshold for meeting refugee status in New Zealand. You must also show that you cannot get protection anywhere in the United States or any other country that you can return to. For example, you must show you cannot live in another state or another city.
- You cannot apply for refugee status in New Zealand outside of New Zealand’s borders. At the moment, our borders are closed to non-residents due to Covid-19 and it is unlikely that they will re-open till next year at the earliest.
- Outside of New Zealand, you can approach the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for assistance.
Simply being politically or ideologically opposed to the Trump administration will not meet the requirement to meet refugee status. If this were the case those who were opposed to the Obama administration between 2009-2016 and George W Bush between 2001-2008 would have also been granted refugee status in New Zealand.
Overall seeking asylum and refugee status is a very high bar. If after reading this you still feel you meet refugee status in New Zealand please contact Idesi Legal and we will see how we can assist you.