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Dalziel Speech to The Hunters Club

Dalziel Speech to The Hunters Club

415 Dominion Road Auckland Thursday 28th November 2002 1.15pm

Good afternoon and thank you for the invitation to officially launch The Hunters Club. You can appreciate that as Minister of Immigration I am often exposed to the risk of being seen to endorse services – like the immigration consultancy who used a letter I sent them on an individual request on a student permit renewal request to advertise their business, publishing the whole letter in the advertisement.

So when I was asked to open the Hunters Club, naturally I thought about whether it was appropriate to do so. After reading the material I decided that it was entirely appropriate to associate myself with this Club – not as an endorsement of the consultancy firm, but as an endorsement of the follow up it represents.

Too many consultants think that their job ends once the residence permit is stamped in the passport.

The Hunters Club recognises that the arrival in New Zealand is only one step in a journey that began before the decision to move to New Zealand was made. The settlement process is represented by a continuum – as opposed to a discrete event. As I said settlement begins before the decision is made to move to New Zealand. This will usually be one of the most far-reaching decisions a person or family could ever make – it will often involve breaking familial ties and travelling great distances. Such a decision is not easily reversed.

If expectations exceed reality, then the quality of the settlement will be the poorer. A failure to find work commensurate with qualifications may not only cause a reduced standard of living, it may also cause a level of humiliation which is cultural in nature. Insufficient English skills may also make life pretty unbearable.

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It seems to me that this is in fact one of the most important elements of the settlement experience – realistic expectations that are matched or exceeded.

The next phase in the settlement continuum is the arrival and the initial settlement experience.

This is where connections into the labour market and the community networks need to be made. Far too much has been left to chance. For example, real estate agents recommending schools.

This is why as a government we put some resources into the migrant settlement pilot projects to assist with that orientation – both at the labour market and the community level.

Beyond the initial settlement experience is the development of ethnic communities adding diversity and increased international awareness to all communities – we become outward-looking, and that is good.

I believe this focus on settlement will pay dividends in the long-term, because it will increase the likelihood of positive settlement outcomes, which will be good internally, in terms of our community relations, and internationally, in terms of our reputation.

To support this focus on settlement, we are undertaking research in the form of a Longitudinal Study, which should give us something more robust than the anecdotal stuff we have had to rely on in the past.

However, all the international and local research I've looked at point to two indicators of successful settlement: employment and family settlement.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Trust has done considerable work on the employment of overseas-trained professionals and I'm afraid New Zealand employers don't come out smelling of roses.

There are significant "excuses" around the non-employment of overseas-trained professionals, but in reality they are often artificially constructed barriers that lead to lost opportunities for migrants and employers alike.

Overseas-trained professionals didn't gain their qualifications in a vacuum. They studied with others who either stayed in their country or moved to others as well.

Any employer with an interest in research or export markets must see that employing professional migrants brings ready-made international contacts that could take years to cultivate otherwise.

International people-to-people contacts are an enormous advantage and their importance cannot be overstated.

I congratulate the team on the initiative that is the Hunters Club. It is clear that those who developed the concept are in tune with the direction that this government has been pursuing for the past three years, and I wish all its members every success, because their success is our success.

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