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New Zealand to consider climate change refugee visa

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NZ’s government will consider creating a new visa category for people displaced by climate change, the New Zealand Climate Change Minister James Shaw has said.

Refugee conventions don’t recognise climate change victims but efforts are being made through the Nansen Initiative to create a new status for people displaced by disasters, reports RNZI.

Last week, the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal rejected applications by Tuvalu families wanting to stay because of climate change.

But Mr Shaw said he was looking at a possible new visa category.

“There might be a new, an experimental humanitarian visa category for people from the Pacific who are displaced by rising seas stemming from climate change, and it is a piece of work that we intend to do in partnership with the Pacific Islands.”

Mr Shaw said the first target should still be to avert catastrophic climate change in Pacific Island countries.