03 July 2008

Wellington's strategy for smooth settlement of immigrants announced

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Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove announced on Monday the details of the Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy and Plan of Action. The Strategy is a response to the high levels of immigration to the region, and the Minister is hoping to maximise Wellington's economic benefits by helping migrants settle into the community.

Of the 410,000 people currently living in Wellington, almost 100,000 are born overseas.  A quarter of this overseas-born population have moved to the region in only the past five years.  This means Wellington has a relatively large and new population of immigrants, and the Minister says it is vital to encourage the community, government and local businesses to help the those on a New Zealand visa settle quickly and easily.

"It's important to support newcomers to find appropriate employment so that they can contribute to an entrepreneurial and innovative Wellington region.  Newcomers can bring new ways of thinking, knowledge, and links to global markets through their networks and their language and cultural skills," he said in a press release.

The Strategy involves 33 actions, which will come into effect this month.  These actions include opening an employment agency designed to mediate between employers and immigrants, the community focussing on the families or partners of the newcomers who have been left in the migrants’ homeland, developing a website for regional information (including local laws and health services), and English language support.

"The Strategy's vision emphasises the two-way relationship involved in successful settlement.  Everyone in the Wellington region has a role to play – whether it’s as individuals, businesses, employers, community organisations, or central or local government.  We can all offer a warm welcome and support for newcomers," added Shane Jones, Associate Immigration Minister.  "The Strategy supports their successful integration into the region, so they can become active participants in their new communities.  Feeling settled speeds up the valuable contribution that newcomers make to New Zealand."

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