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Better settlement outcomes for refugees needed

15th August 2013 Media Release

Better settlement outcomes for refugees needed

The need to improve the settlement outcomes of refugee-background communities has resulted in a new national collective being formed. The Refugee Sector Strategic Alliance (RSSA) is a national collective of organisations, working with and/or on behalf of refugee-background communities.

The Alliance, which is open to all refugee-background organisations and agencies working with refugees, excluding government agencies, aims to ensure New Zealanders who come from refugee backgrounds are able to apply their skills and experience and participate fully in New Zealand life.

‘Our aim is to work together to improve all settlement outcomes, to work with government to achieve the outcomes of the government’s New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy and to ensure support mechanisms are available regardless of whether people arrived as quota refugees, asylum seekers, or under a Refugee Family Support Category’ says Dr Arif Saeid, one of two recently elected Co-Chairs of the RSSA.

The RSSA is supportive of the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy which the government began implementing from July 1, 2013. The Strategy has five outcomes relating to employment and self sufficiency, participation in New Zealand life, health, education, and housing, and has indicators to measure the extent to which New Zealanders from refugee backgrounds are achieving these outcomes. However RSSA Co-Chair Tim O’Donovan states there is a significant amount of work to be done before these outcomes will be realised.

‘People from refugee-backgrounds want the opportunity to apply their skills and experience but at this stage too many are unable to achieve this. Our role is to reduce the gap between the rhetoric and the reality and we will be working together and with government to improve outcomes for all refugee-background people’ says O’Donovan.

The RSSA has over twenty members including refugee-led organisations such as the Canterbury Refugee Council, Waikato Refugee Forum, and the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition, and service delivery agencies such as English Language Partners and Refugees as Survivors New Zealand.

ENDS


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