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Migrant and Refugee issues in Nelson

Migrant and Refugee issues in Nelson

Jan 17 06

Nelson has the fourth highest concentration of migrants in New Zealand, and needs to keep working to ensure they are welcomed and looked after, according to a new report.

The report, called Settling In Nelson Tasman, was published by Nelson City Council and based on information gathered from refugee and migrant communities by the Family and Community Services section of the Ministry of Social Development for itsSettling In Project. The needs assessment process was led by local researcher Brigid Ryan, who coordinated focus groups with more than 200 people from around the region.

She says the information gathered indicated that for new migrants coming here, with families or on their own, find it hard to gain access to services such as health and schooling, and information on driving rules and real estate procedures. There can be also be a lack of recognition of overseas qualifications and some resistance from employers to taking on people from different cultures. Migrant women at home with children, and elderly people can be particularly isolated.

“The Nelson Tasman community is often not aware of what it’s like for newcomers and there is sometimes an underlying resistance to difference that in some cases has resulted in racist attacks and abuse,” Ms Ryan said.

The project was supported by a collaborative group including the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Career Services, Internal Affairs, Work and Income and the Nelson Multi Ethnic Council.

Ms Ryan says the intention is that government departments, local government and community agencies as well as the ethnic communities themselves will work together to develop projects and support programmes that would make the settling in process easier for people choosing to live in Nelson Tasman.

“The Nelson Multi Ethnic Council has a key role in providing support for new migrants coming to live in Nelson - there is a need to have a visible service and place for people to go to access information when they arrive and this will be the focus of planning over the next year. “

Copies of the report are available from reception at Volunteer Nelson, 50 Halifax Street, NELSON.

ENDS

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