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According to study, the initial five years are vital for the prosperity of refugees.


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The economic situation of 24,894 people from refugee backgrounds who came to New Zealand between 1997 and 2020 is the focus of the first paper in an ongoing study from the Center for Asia and Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS) at the University of Auckland.

The study asked three broad questions: What are the rates of refugee access to education and public housing, who stays on benefits, in exchange for work over time, and what factors contribute to income over time?

The results reveal the significance of the first five years in terms of successful economic outcomes, or otherwise, and reveal disparities in income and employment status among four subgroups: refugee quotas, underachievers, refugees and asylum seekers and convention. Those arriving under the family reunification program to join other family members.

Quota refugees, of whom New Zealand accepts 1,500 annually, already have refugee status (due to a well-founded fear of persecution) before they arrive and undergo a five-week initial settlement program in Auckland; They then become automatically residents of New Zealand and provide a range of health, education, employment and accommodation services for up to two years.

The fact that the data reveals that this group has the greatest need for support makes sense, the study says, as they are often the most vulnerable people in their countries of origin and include the ‘women at risk’ and ‘medical/disabled’ sub-categories. Lead, Professor Jay Marlowe.

“This means that the government is not too keen on selecting those who are most likely to contribute to the economy, which makes it a humanitarian program worth celebrating.”

For quota refugees, settlement support was historically provided in the first year (and now, in theory, the second). There is a case in point, Marlowe says, of extending this out to five years, in terms of income and percentages of people moving into paid jobs.

“This is where you see the biggest shifts in people moving from benefit to wages and salaries or self-employment, and that’s the case across all groups. But after five years, the positive trends start to level off.”

And although these findings indicate the need for more assistance for quota groups, the team is not suggesting that the refugee resettlement strategy be limited to refugee quotas, as is currently the case, he says.

“It is clear that all groups follow a similar trend of taking positive steps, from different initial starting points, and this is clearly evident in the first five years; providing support to all groups of refugees can lead to faster and better employment outcomes, even if it involves higher financing costs.” In the short term, it will be better economically than in the long term.”

He says your age when you arrive, the amount of time you’ve been settled, and your gender (women tend to have the worst off) are important considerations in terms of job prospects and any policy solutions should take that into account.

The data obtained for the study, from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), a massive administrative dataset made up of billions of facts about New Zealand individuals and households that draws from sources such as government ministries, the IRD and the census, takes all this data and connects it effectively in any way required.

Managed by Statistics New Zealand as a secure database, IDI can look at things like education, employment, mental health, marital status, housing, housing and mobility; A wide range of information is carefully protected and only accessible with permission in secure laboratories.

IDI takes different identifiers, apart from names — things like NHI numbers, passports, or visas — and associates them with the requested data and strings them all together into a “spine,” providing a unique identifier or code for each individual who is “deleted” from any Something that can reveal them.

“After you do the analysis, you have to send it back to Stats NZ to make sure it doesn’t break any confidentiality protocols.”

He says that his colleague and CAPRS affiliate researcher, Dr. Arezo Malehi, spent three years identifying this population, analyzing the data, and working with advisory panels made up of immigration and legal experts in the sector to ensure the team was interpreting it accurately.

He thinks it’s important to stress that this study, over the course of 23 years, is missing the second and third generation and therefore “doesn’t tell the whole story.”

There’s a quote by Afghan Abbas Nazari, who wrote a book about his time as a refugee after being rescued by Tampa, where he says something like, “The first generation builds the foundation for the house, the second builds the house, and the third fills the house.”

“For many people, what constitutes a successful settlement is the success of their children, not their own.”

He points out that, even at the University of Auckland, there are far more students from refugee backgrounds than we would expect for the general population.

“They are our future workforce, they are committed; they support their families and their community, but also the wider community.”

more information:
Jay Marlowe et al., Settlement trajectories of approximately 25,000 forced migrants in New Zealand: longitudinal insights from administrative data, Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of the Social Sciences Online (2023). doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2023.2214606

Provided by the University of Auckland

the quoteStudy Proposes (2023, June 7): Critical First Five Years for Refugee Success, Retrieved June 7, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-06-years-crucial-refugee-success.html

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