Refugees & Migrant Support

NBPH provides support for refugees and migrants through health resources and provision of interpreter services.

Refugee Communities in Nelson

About 1,000 people from a Refugee background now call Nelson home and ongoing settlement continues every year. In 2016 quota targets increased to 120 per year.

The first refugees to resettle in Nelson were from Vietnam and Cambodia. Since then, we have had allocations from Burma (Burmese, Chin, Karen, Kayan and Zomi) and a variety of other countries including Bhutanese / Nepali.

The difference between a refugee and a migrant:


  1. Migrants choose to come here, when they want, to where they want. They come with possessions and financial security.
  2. Have passports and qualifications.
  3. Usually migrate with the family.
  4. Well prepared and motivated to settle. Many will have employment options and researched local conditions/services.


  1. Do not choose to leave their homeland. They flee in crisis. No choice about where they go or by what means they travel. No time to pack so everything they own is left behind.
  2. Come with no documentation.
  3. Often leave family members behind.
  4. Arrive ill-prepared and traumatised. Often debilitated by sense of loss, grief, worry and guild about family left behind.

Who can access this service?

  1. Refugees
  2. Migrants

How to be referred