Immigration, integration, and inclusiveness in New Zealand

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Are you an immigrant who has experienced some form of culture shock, a local resident who has encountered awkward situations with new immigrants, or just a warm-hearted person who has given new immigrants the leg-up in integrating into the society?

Migration, and increasing cultural diversity — as a result of globalisation, as well as economic, social, political, and environmental factors — is becoming a norm. New Zealand is no exception to the impacts of migration and diversity. Hence, understanding intercultural relations and developing strategies for collective wellbeing is crucial.

We get it! Migration can be an uncomfortable affair sometimes. But it can be rewarding, for both residents and migrants. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) establishes that managed migration plays an important role in sustaining and strengthening labour markets. Arriving with skills that contribute to human capital development, immigrants help to fill the labour gap in sectors with skilled worker shortages. Migration can be a win-win situation, when the right plans and infrastructure are put into place. That’s why we respect the work that the South Auckland Local Settlement Network do —a network dedicated to creating an inclusive and productive society.

A research done by Oudenhoven and Ward revealed that integration — as opposed to acculturation and assimilation — is an ideal strategy that will enable immigrants to maintain their own cultural identities while building positive relations with the host society at the same time.

The Migrant Action Trust helps migrants and refugees settle in NZ through the following strategies: “migrants supporting migrants”, “assimilation to integration”, and “support groups”. The Treaty of Waitangi workshop is one of their programmes that enable newcomers to gain a deeper understanding of NZ’s history.

Providing newcomers, young people, and women with equitable access to employment is another major priority. NZ has a worldwide reputation for quality education, and there are no short of training and education programmes that can help equip one with valuable skill sets and enhance employment opportunities. It is important to recognise the value that newcomers bring, assist them in fulfilling their potential, and linking them to organisations experiencing worker shortage —so they can contribute positively to NZ.

A big thank you to Immigration NZ’s Settlement, Protection & Attraction Unit for organising this meeting, and to fellow participants from the following agencies: Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) – Work Connect, INZ/MBIE’s Settlement Unit, Belong Aotearoa, Migrant Action Trust, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education NZ, Ministry of Social Development, English Partners, MBIE – Tenancy Services, Competenz, Auckland Chamber of Commerce, and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Skills Update Training and Education Group was honored to welcome the network to our premises and be part of the important discussion.