People applying for refugee status in New Zealand have longer to prepare their evidence and more days to complete the interview, in a bid to reduce stress and exhaustion.
It's part of a string of changes introduced this month to make the process easier and clearer for claimants, following an independent review in 2019.
The documents are the work of a Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)-led cross-sector working group, which included the Law Society's Immigration and Refugee Law Committee.
Committee spokeswoman Nilu Ariyaratne told the Herald it is significant.
"We've heard of some claimants who had to seek extensions, but the written statements [they] have to prepare often take a lot of time and effort," she said.
"It involves a whole lot of information about the claim and representatives of the claimant have to rely on interpreters."
As well as introducing longer timeframes to prepare documents and evidence, interviews will now be scheduled over two half days instead of a seven-hour interview on a single day.
There is also now an option for people in detention to opt out of expedited determination processes if they require more time for their claim.
The changes follow a 2019 independent review by Victoria Casey QC, commissioned by MBIE, examining the processes and procedures for making refugee and protection status determinations.
Casey QC said the standard interview time was about seven hours over a single day. Topics covered include the applicant's family relationships, education, employment history and religion.
Practitioners raised concerns about mental health risks for claimants at the end of the process, and said some felt stressed and exhausted by mid-afternoon.
In the last financial year, 320 refugee and protection claims were made. Only 29 were approved out of 154 decisions – an approval rate of 18.8 per cent.
The most applications were made from Indonesia, 89, followed by India, 39.