New Refugee Resettlement Strategy unveiled

  • Nathan Guy
Immigration

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has today launched the Refugee Resettlement Strategy, aimed at delivering better outcomes for refugees settling in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has a proud record of taking in refugees from around the world and giving them a new life here. However we want to do an even better job of helping them integrate into society, particularly in terms of finding employment and becoming self-sufficient,” says Mr Guy.

“Improving the outcomes for refugees was one of National’s manifesto commitments at the last election and I’m proud we are delivering on this.

“This is a whole of Government strategy with clear goals which include:

  • Increasing the number of refugees in paid employment and reducing the number receiving unemployment-related benefits.
  • Two-thirds of refugee school leavers to be achieving NCEA Level 2 after five years in the New Zealand education system.
  • Increasing the number of refugee children who receive age-appropriate immunisations.
  • Ensuring better use of GP services and greater access to mental health services.

“To achieve better outcomes, Immigration New Zealand will act as the lead agency for coordinating refugee services. They will work closely with refugees before they arrive here to assess their health, work-readiness and employment options, and this will be a greater focus of the reception programme as well.

“All of the research tells us that finding employment remains the biggest challenge for refugees settling here. We know that having a job helps to improve confidence, self-esteem, and to fit into New Zealand society,” says Mr Guy.

As part of the strategy, the Government has reaffirmed the six week induction programme for new refugees at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. The ageing buildings at the centre will be replaced over time.

New Zealand takes in around 750 refugees a year, and more than 33,000 refugees have come to New Zealand since the first young Polish refugees arrived in 1944.

The Strategy was developed with input from NGOs and refugee communities and will be implemented from July next year. A summary is available at http://www.ssnz.govt.nz/refugeestrategy.