Prepared by Patti Grogan, July 2008
with funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy
Patti Grogan is Deputy Director of Refugee Services at the Florida Department of Children and Families in Tallahassee Florida, the largest refugee resettlement program in the US. Before coming to this position, Patti served as a policy advisor to the Governor on immigration and refugee issues. Patti has more than 20 years of experience in government. In 1992 she was elected to the Florida Senate and served as Chair of the Committee on International Trade, Economic Development and Tourism and Vice Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. She has taught government and public administration at the university and community college level and served as a member of the Florida Parole Commission. Patti holds a BA from the American University in Washington, DC and an MPA from the University of Central Florida.
During Patti’s Ian Axford Fellowship exchange to New Zealand she was based at the Department of Labour, where she compared refugee integration strategies in New Zealand and the US.
New Zealand and the United States are two of a small number of countries that resettle refugees fleeing persecution. Both countries have established processes to review and select refugees in need of protection and provide assistance as the refugees establish themselves in their new country. The process of refugee integration faces changing circumstances as governments in both countries react to increasing global migration.
New Zealand has developed a national Settlement Strategy to assist both new arrivals and local communities to improve settlement outcomes. One initiative of that strategy, Settlement Support New Zealand (SSNZ), presents a unique opportunity to analyse a new integration programme seeking to serve refugees as well as the greater migrant community.
The research compares refugee admissions process and resettlement in the two countries as well as refugee interaction with SSNZ. The analysis of SSNZ finds that while governance of local settlement initiatives supports refugees, access to translated materials and interpreters is limited. Use of SSNZ services by refugees varies between communities, with significantly higher utilization when SSNZ services are co-located with other entities providing services to refugees. The report identifies some considerations for the development of integration policies that support refugees based on the experiences of New Zealand’s Settlement Support programme.
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