CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEE VISA

Spotted by Lesley Price
DESCRIPTION

In 2012, a migrant worker from the tiny, low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati tried to become a refugee in New Zealand, arguing that he and his family were afraid to go home because of the impacts of rising sea levels. The courts didn’t accept that the dangers were imminent–or that they were due to reasons of persecution that are outlined in the international refugee convention–and rejected his claim. But people fleeing the effects of climate change on Pacific islands may soon have a new option: New Zealand’s new climate change minister hopes to create an experimental humanitarian visa for “climate refugees.” If implemented, the new visa category could give up to 100 people a year admission to New Zealand because of climate change. (Because the potential visa is in the early stages of planning, it’s not yet clear what the requirements will be to get one.) It’s an early attempt to begin to address migration that will soon happen on a much larger scale.