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Prime information sources for handling local settlement issues

New Zealand Immigration Service

New Zealand Settlement Strategy, under implementation by the New Zealand Immigration Service, makes provision for links to community directories.

It also makes provision for national coordination and establishment of migrant resource services.


Settlement support

"Settlement Support New Zealand is being rolled out in 19 areas nationwide to help new migrants and refugees to access information and services they need to settle in their community," David Cunliffe, New Zealand's Immigration Minister said shortly after his appointment in 2005.

Behind the settlement support progress lies official advice on issues for multi-agency collaboration and practice at central and local government level and for the non-government sector on which Cabinet was to be briefed.

Experience with settlement support has also led Department of Labour interest in leading short and long term planning with senior government officials.

In early February 2006 when David Cunliffe spoke in Waitakere about an example of the service he said new migrants and refugees in Waitakere will benefit from improved settlement assistance - thanks to the nationwide initiative called Settlement Support New Zealand.

Mr Cunliffe launched Waitakere's Settlement Support initiative, led by Waitakere City Council in West Auckland.

"This is in direct response to Goal Three of the 2004 New Zealand Settlement Strategy for migrants, refugees and their families to access appropriate information and responsive services that are available to the wider community.

"We know that the first two or three years of settlement are the most challenging for migrants and refugees. A lack of local knowledge can mean that people miss out on the support and services which are available to them.

"Not only will Settlement Support Waitakere provide a vital first point of contact to help direct newcomers to the services they need - it will also build on existing connections between government agencies, local service providers, migrant and refugee communities and the people of Waitakere.

"Migrants have come to New Zealand to improve their lives and want to make meaningful social and economic contributions to their new homeland.

"We all benefit from the skills and resources that migrants bring to New Zealand, but in order for them to be able to contribute to our communities and our economy they need to be able to settle quickly into good jobs and healthy communities, intact.

"By coming here, migrants and their families make a commitment to the future of New Zealand. We need to respond to this commitment by helping them settle in their new community.

"I'm confident that Settlement Support New Zealand will make a vital difference in the settlement experiences of those migrants and refugees who have come to live in Waitakere. We all stand to benefit from this initiative," Mr Cunliffe said at the launch.

Briefing to ministers
A 31 January 2006 briefing note from the Department of Labour for the Minister of Immigration and his associate, copied to 13 ministers, provided a New Zealand Settlement Strategy progress report. Dr Mary Anne Thompson, Deputy Secretary Workforce provided it for the Secretary of Labour. It was prepared by the DoL Workforce: Service International Group, and assigned to the Director – Settlement Division, Judi Altinkaya.

The briefing proposed that the next phase of the development of the long term programme of work to support the New Zealand Settlement Strategy should be coordinated through the New Zealand Settlement Strategy Senior Officials’ Group. The briefing proposed the long term programme be responsive to issues identified through ongoing consultation within migrant and refugee communities. It also proposed the programme draw on, and responds to, the consultation findings for the development of the Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy and other regional initiatives.

Department of Labour officials sought to be directed to lead the development of a draft work programme containing a mix of both short term actions focused on a two year horizon and longer term strategies for the consideration of joint ministers by 30 June 2006.

A hard copy of the briefing, provided from the immigration minister’s office, records that copies were for ministers of Education, Pacific Islands Affairs, Police, Economic Development, Health, Local Government, Social Development and Employment and associate for CYF, Ethnic Affairs, Housing, Internal Affairs, Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Auckland strategy, in which Auckland local authorities and central government agencies were engaged, was to be completed by the end of February 2006, and cabinet was to be briefed on it before its release. Ministers were briefed that the Auckland strategy “raised policy and service implications for individual agencies”.

The consultation findings also “raise issues for multi-agency collaboration and practice at central and local government level”.

By Anthony Haas, Asia Pacific Economic News Bureau, Press Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Upated 14 February 2006

SETTLEMENT SUPPORT -
implementation progress

Wellington City Council entered into a contract in mid 2005 with the Department of Labour Workforce Group to be the lead agency for the Settlement Support initiative in the Wellington area.

This illustrates what may happen in other local government areas under the New Zealand Settlement programme, administered by staff in the Department of Labour - of particular interest to those networking to develop and implement citizenship education policies, publications and professional development.

The Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy was seen by advisers to local councils “as an umbrella document that includes migrant attraction along with support for new migrants in the community”.

In Wellington, local management of the initiative will be through the City Council as the lead agency. It looked to appoint a Local Settlement Support Co-ordinator to be based in the Community Services Business Unit.

The Wellington City Council advertised for the Settlement Support Co-coordinator, funded by Department of Labour, in July 2005.

The Settlement Support Co-ordinator was described as being responsible for co-ordinating Community and government responses by assisting in local settlement planning. The co-ordinator was to be appointed for a fixed term of one year.

The advert wanted to hear from people who had:

• a good understanding of issues associated with the settlement of migrants and refugees
• a knowledge of service provision for migrants and refugees in the Wellington area
• key social leadership experience
• the ability to work as part of a team
• have proven competence in managing diverse and complex relationships
• excellent oral and written communication skills
• strong project management and report writing skills
• experience in developing relationships with stakeholders and community.

In this role the co-ordinator would:

• provide the required information, links and activities for the local Settlement Support Initiative to function effectively
• support the development of positive relationships between the Settlement Network Support Group, local organisations and the different migrant communities
• improve the delivery of services from central government and community agencies to the migrant and refugee communities
• foster collaboration between local and regional service delivery agencies.

Applications closed Monday 8 August 2005. Information was provided by Nadia Fawzi, Intercultural Relationships Co-ordinator, Community Services, Wellington City Council. Their web is www.wellington.govt.nz/services/ethniccomm/index.html.

In April 2005 the Porirua City Council had considered the report of the Settlement services project and framework for the development of a Wellington regional settlement strategy.

The report sought endorsement of the most recent phase of developing and implementing a Wellington Region Settlement Strategy. A similar report was being presented to Wellington City, Hutt City, Upper Hutt City, and Kapiti Coast District Councils.

Recommendations for Porirua
In Porirua, it was recommended that the Council agree to endorse the settlement services framework which was expected to result in the establishment of a co-ordination function in the three areas of Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua/Kapiti, including establishment of an advisory group and employment of a migrant resource services co-ordinator in each area.

Council noted that these positions were expected to be fully funded through an application for grant funding from New Zealand Immigration Service.

The process was to be overseen by the Officer Working Party established to co-ordinate the Settlement Services Project, reporting to the CEOs’ Forum.
A further task was to be to incorporate issues identified, and further actions in a reworked Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy to be completed by the end of 2005.

A Draft Wellington Region Settlement Strategy had been developed in 2004-05 that “aspires to make Wellington a centre of excellence in settlement”. This links strongly to central government initiatives to strengthen the resourcing of migrant settlement.

The Wellington Mayoral Forum had taken a lead role on co-ordinating development of this programme.

A key consideration had been the role of central government (alongside local government) in improving the settlement process. In the June 2004 Budget, central government allocated funding for improved delivery of migrant resource services and a project has been developed to investigate how this could be implemented in Wellington region.

The Mayoral Forum recommended the establishment of a co-ordination function that would be delivered by three full-time co-ordinators of migrant services in the Wellington region.

The New Zealand Immigration Service had called for funding applications for this function (tailored to the circumstances in each area) with an expectation that nine such co-ordinators would be appointed across New Zealand in 2005 and a further 10 subsequently.

Excerpts from the background, wider implications and conclusions of the April 2005 report to Porirua City are recorded here.

Background
The importance of new migrants with appropriate skills to the region’s economic development, and the importance of good migrant outcomes to the well-being of communities, is recognised in the development of a Wellington Region Settlement Strategy. At an Immigration Forum for the region in August 2003, it was agreed that a settlement strategy was needed to give a stronger framework to this area, and the programmes of the various agencies involved. The development of the strategy has been overseen by the Mayoral Forum. The resulting draft Strategy aims to significantly lift the region’s performance in first attracting, and then successfully settling migrants. The Strategy is seen as an umbrella document that includes migrant attraction along with support for new migrants in the community.

The Wellington Region Settlement Strategy is closely linked to national changes to immigration policy announced by the Government in July 2003 which affected the way migrants can obtain work permits and New Zealand residency. They gave effect to a change in policy direction of the Government from being a passive recipient of residence applications, to becoming an active recruiter of the skills and talent New Zealand needs. A new Skilled Migrant Category replaced the General Skills Category in late 2003/early 2004 and an enhanced points system now applies. Bonus points recognise qualifications and experience matching New Zealand’s skill shortages and relevant job offers in regions outside Auckland. This has been accompanied by significant new resourcing in the 2004 Budget.

The impact of these policy changes is not yet clear in terms of the percentage of migrants settling in Wellington. Good data on this is difficult to obtain because of internal movement (city to city within New Zealand) and subsequent emigration. The Census provides the most robust data on migration patterns, and the NZ Immigration Service is now recording better information to track migration trends.

Wider implications - environmental and social
A key consideration in settlement has been the role of central government (alongside local government) in improving the settlement process. In the June 2004 Budget, central government allocated funding for improved delivery of migrant resource services and a project has been developed to investigate how this could be implemented in Wellington region. The project examined services currently being delivered to identify major issues and any gaps in service delivery.

The report to the Mayoral Forum from that project highlights the complexity of this sector and the multitude of agencies involved. A clear theme emerged that better co-ordination of activities and work to ensure that new settlers were aware of services available, along with an ongoing mechanism to identify issues would be a significant improvement on the current situation. The report recommends the establishment of a co-ordination function that would be delivered by three full-time co-ordinators of migrant services in the Wellington region.


Financial implications
This strategy is one of the six strategies outlined in an earlier report to the Committee’s meeting on 23 March 2005. That report advised that the sum package of initiatives would have financial implications for Council. It was agreed, however, that the Chief Executive would explore options for a co-ordinated approach with the appropriate government agencies, and this approach will manage the New Settlement strategy. This work is actively underway and there is a good chance of attracting further Government monies to co-ordinate the range of contracts relevant to the wider employment area.

Conclusion
Maintaining and developing a skilled workforce which includes new migrants is a key component of activities for all Councils in the Wellington region and this is likely to be reinforced by development of the Wellington Regional Strategy. New members of the community who settle successfully and call Wellington region “home” also have a positive impact on the strength and diversity of the community. These two factors have encouraged Councils to support migrant attraction and programmes that assist new migrants, and to be part of a regional effort to develop a Wellington Region Settlement Strategy.

Auckland region
Manukau City facilitated the drafting of a regional settlement strategy for the Auckland region.

NZ settlement sources
Te Puna Web Directory: Immigration (National Library of New Zealand) http://webdirectory.natlib.govt.nz/dir/en/nz/community-and-social-studies/immigration/

Links to websites about immigration to New Zealand.

Updated by APEN, 15 August 2005

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