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Dunedin chosen as new refugee settlement location Monday, 30 November 2015

Dunedin has been selected as a new refugee settlement location following a whole of Government assessment.

The assessment included looking at employment, housing and Government services available alongside the support provided by the local community.

The decision to choose Dunedin was made by the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy Senior Officials’ Group - made up of representatives from Immigration New Zealand (INZ), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, Office of Ethnic Communities and Department of Internal Affairs.

There are currently five settlement locations in New Zealand where quota refugees are settled after they have completed the six week reception programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre - Auckland region, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington region and Nelson.

INZ General Manager Steve McGill says an extra settlement location is needed following the Government’s decision to welcome 750 Syrian refugees over the next two and a half years in response to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Dunedin was considered alongside New Plymouth, Hastings / Napier, Invercargill and Tauranga.

Mr McGill says all the locations had certain advantages but Dunedin was selected for a number of reasons.

“Dunedin has a strong set of services and is a well-connected city where a number of government agencies have a presence,” he says. “There are good employment opportunities in the area, suitable housing is available and there is excellent support from the community.”

Note to editors:
Quota refugees are given permanent residence on arrival in New Zealand and spend their first six weeks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.  While there, they complete a reception programme to support living and working in New Zealand and English language. They also complete medical and mental health assessments.

A number of government agencies and NGOs are involved in the settlement of quota refugees, including the Ministries of Health, Education and Social Development, Work and Income, Housing New Zealand, the Tertiary Education Commission, NZQA, Careers New Zealand, NZ Police, the Office of Ethnic Affairs, DIA and NZ Red Cross.

NZ Red Cross is contracted by Immigration NZ to provide settlement support in the community over the first 12 months. This includes an orientation programme and connecting refugees to services they require such as doctor’s appointments, English language, education and employment.