MNZ response to migrant consultation report
12 April 2019
Concern about the large number of migrants experiencing unfair and biased behaviour, is highlighted by Multicultural New Zealand (MNZ) in its recent feedback to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on the National Migrant Consultation Report, released in December 2018. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/documents/about-us/national-migrant-consultations-2018.pdf
The consultation was undertaken for INZ last year by Martin Jenkins & Associates. It included face-to-face consultation via workshops and focus groups in 12 locations as well as an on-line questionnaire undertaken by 3,437 migrants. (87% of the on-line participants were skilled migrants.)
Key highlights reflected the broad diversity of backgrounds and life experiences of recent migrants and the substantial learning curve they undertook to: find out about, understand, adjust and successfully settle in New Zealand.
The four consultation objectives were to find out: reasons migrants had moved to their current town/city in New Zealand, information about the services, people and places they found helpful in making the move, the challenges they experienced in the settlement process, and suggestions for improvements and additions to settlement information.
Executive Director of Multicultural New Zealand Tayo Agunlejika said while the report showed as majority of migrants were able to access settlement services and information with few difficulties, inclusion and integration were still big issues that need a lot more work, engagement and investment.
“We strongly encourage Immigration New Zealand consider more inclusion and involvement of lead Non-European organisations in the implementation of the Zealand Migrant Settlement and Integration strategy,” he said.
The Results show: 35% of respondents found it hard to meet and make friends with New Zealanders; 48% said it was hard getting to know people who could help them find jobs. Equally concerning was that 44% had experienced unfair or biased behaviour once or twice and 12% had experienced biased behaviour frequently. “That’s a lot of people - a majority of 50-60% is not necessarily a good result.” Mr Agunlejika said.
“That is why we work so hard promoting and celebrating cultural diversity through events like Race Relations Day and organisations and initiatives like Newcomers Networks, Regional Multicultural Councils and the Welcoming Communities pilot project.”
In its submission to INZ, Multicultural New Zealand noted that 70% of respondents found Maori cultural interaction and learning useful.
“This reflects our own efforts to facilitate and promote a Treaty-based multicultural society through the Huarahi Hou initiative involving marae visits, noho marae and establishing relationships and partnership with local iwi.
“We encourage proactive civic participation and engagement with local communities including local marae - to build social and cultural capital, and more importantly, volunteerism - especially for secondary migrants, former refugees, and asylum seekers.
“Great examples of this are: the Syrian refugee projects in Porirua and Upper Hutt, and the Food Festival in Invercargill - organised by International Students to gain New Zealand experience.
“It's very difficult for people to access services, have a sense of belonging and be included when they don't have a secure job or can’t find a local cultural activity to participate in or a group to belong to beyond your immediate ethnic group,” Tayo Agunlejika said.