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Cosgrove: Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy Launched

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
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clayton.jpg

30 June 2008 - Attracting and retaining skilled migrants is the key to the future growth and prosperity of the Wellington region said the Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove regarding the launch of the region's first settlement strategy today.

"Today one in four people living in the Wellington region were born overseas. So it is vital that we support newcomers to settle here successfully, so that they can contribute to the region's economic, social and cultural life," said Mr Cosgrove.

The Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy and accompanying Plan of Action have been developed in partnership by the Department of Labour and Wellington's local authorities - Hutt City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Porirua City Council, Upper Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council.

"The strategy is a proactive and coordinated approach which looks at how the region can work together to address barriers and improve opportunities for newcomers to successfully settle here," says Mr Cosgrove.

"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."

Ideas and feedback from iwi, non-government organisations, business, community groups and newcomers are reflected in the strategy.

"Settlement takes time and involves all aspects of life. This is why it is vital that so many sectors and organisations are involved, sharing their understanding and being responsive to working with newcomers in a collaborative and connected way," Mr Cosgrove said.

The strategy process, developed with the support of the Wellington Mayoral Forum, began in mid 2007, and looks forward to 2013. Along with the Auckland Regional Strategy, it forms part of the wider New Zealand Settlement Strategy objective of strengthening responsiveness to newcomers in the regions where they come to live.

"Newcomers are a diverse group - culturally and linguistically, but many share the same challenges in settling into life in New Zealand. These challenges include adjusting to a new way of life, accessing work, improving English skills, and learning about our laws and government services."

Mr Cosgrove also stressed that settlement is a two-way process. "It's important that we are a 'welcoming nation' ready to assist newcomers with information, advice and support in the areas where they settle. This adds value in a globally competitive market where it is all too easy for skilled migrants to pack their bags and move on, if adjustment is too difficult." The Strategy's work programme contains 33 actions. Responsibility for leading individual actions is shared among the government, non-government organisations and the business sector.

These actions will start from July this year and some examples include the establishment of a new regional employment service that will work with and connect employers and unemployed newcomers; a focus on the needs of the partners on newcomers - it is well known that lack of success in the migration process is often due to the isolation factors experienced by the partner who is left at home; the development of a regional website for newcomers to better access information; the development of information about our laws, safety issues and the health system; regional availability and accessibility of English language support.

Copies of the Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy and the Plan of Action are available at www.immigration.govt.nz/settlement/regionalstrategies/wellington.htm.

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