Settling highly qualified refugees in provincial towns criticised

The Government increased the number of places they were settling refugees around the country, but this has been criticised as inappropriate for some well qualified refugees who have trouble finding employment in provincial towns.

RNZ:  Refugee group unhappy with new settlement location

The ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum believes Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton, Levin and Christchurch might not have the support network or relevant jobs for the refugees who arrive in New Zealand.

The ChangeMakers Resettlement Forum general manager Lexy Seedhouse said many refugees who come into the country are highly qualified.

“If they’re settled in location where there aren’t highly skilled jobs available for them, then it’s not going to be of benefit to local communities, national nor region economies and it leads to a whole lot of social problems, such as unemployment, underemployment, depression and social isolation,” she said.

That should have been easy to predict.

Ms Seedhouse said while they support the government’s decision to raise the quota to 1500 refugees next year, the forum should have been consulted about where they would be placed.

Consultation would have been a good idea.

She said refugees going to places where there wasn’t the support from organisations like the forum, or from others from their country of origin can have far reaching consequences.

“For example access to interpreters, if someone needs to go to the GP, will there be people with that language capability in those new settlement regions?, we don’t know.”

“Also lots of those areas tend to be predominately white, which could lead to problems with integration, there’s not a lot of ethnic diversity in those areas,” she said.

It’s a bit like some sort of social experiment.

Chair of the forum, Ibrahim Omer who came to New Zealand as a refugee from Eritrea, can’t imagine how he would have settled in the regions, as it was hard enough in Wellington.

“I was surrounded by a lot of support and where there is a lot of employment opportunities, I struggled for years before I settled, there is a language barrier, culture shock, there’s so many things involved, it is tough,” he said.

Mr Omer said employment opportunities are some of the first things new refugees look for when arriving in the country, which will be even harder in the regions.

“We’re talking about small towns where opportunities are very limited,” he said.

Again, quite predictable. Perhaps those in charge of choosing where to settle refugees take into account their qualifications and they chances of finding relevant employment.

Increasing the number of refugees being accepted may have put pressure on officials who have to place them somewhere in the country.

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53 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  9th February 2019

    If it’s a city, it shouldn’t be so much of a problem, surely. Hamilton is a real united nations, which gives one a pleasantly cosmopolitan feeling.

    I would think that having black or brown faces around wouldn’t be much help if they were from a different country or continent, any more than it would be a help to a Pakeha Kiwi to live in Norway or Finland.

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  9th February 2019

    Of course there’s another problem with refugees.. highly qualified ones are shut out of jobs by New Zealand’s closed shop fraternities, especially doctors.

    I had my bloods done by a Russian Woman doctor who specialised in Gynaecology. She had published papers to her name, but told me she’d been shut out of obtaining NZ qualifications by the hurdles placed in front of her.

    Reply
    • Eight of the eighteen doctors listed online at the health centre I go to were qualified overseas, and there have been others in the past as well.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th February 2019

        When I went to a clinic once at the weekend when the GP practice is shut, there was a great variety of names on the board,

        My current GP is Malaysian, qualified in Dublin. I don’t where the Nigerian one went to universiity, but the one who owns the practice is English.

        Being born abroad is no handicap to other doctors, The specialist whom I have been seeing lately is Rwandan and another one there is Indian,

        I am surprised that a doctor was taking blood, it’s not done by doctors as there is no need to have a medical degree to take blood. None of the Pathlab workers are doctors.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  9th February 2019

          I should have said that none of these people are refugees, as far as I know, but they are all foreign born.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  9th February 2019

            People think that phlebotomists are doctors because of the white coats, but they’re not.

            Reply
            • NOEL

               /  10th February 2019

              If it’s taking my blood give me a phlebotomist over a doctor every time.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              I don’t know that I’ve had a doctor do it, it’s what phlebotomists do. They have the storage and all that there.

            • Gezza

               /  10th February 2019

              My late Mrs used to have her bloods taken ever month, sometimes more frequently & they’d call at the house. Pretty well all of those on mobile duty were really nice, but we used to call them the vampires because it was just easier to say. They didn’t mind – we always said it with a smile & they’d grin. A couple of them even said “Hi guys, your vampire is here!” 😀

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              A friend called them the bloodsuckers & the name has stuck. I always talk about going to the bloodsuckers now.

            • Corky

               /  10th February 2019

              That job will become redundant in the next 10 years, Gezza. New technology being perfected means a simple sensor is put on the arm artery. A pulsed magnetic wave will measure all blood values. Lay people will be able to do their own bloods. This is a huge advance in medicine should things work out. Especially in emergency cases. I remember even in the 80s peoples blood glucose had to be measured in a Lab. Now every diabetic has their own personal meter, which itself may soon become redundant with advancing technology.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              What one learns on talkback radio !

          • Corky

             /  9th February 2019

            Yes, that would be more like it…not refugees. They would have been planned
            for immigrants who may have sat NZ qualifications overseas before coming to NZ.

            ”I am surprised that a doctor was taking blood, it’s not done by doctors as there is no need to have a medical degree to take blood. None of the Pathlab workers are doctors.”

            She isn’t a doctor in New Zealand..she is a nobody. Please read my comments correctly.

            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=13897

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              You said that she was a doctor, a gynaecologist.

              Why was she working as a phlebotomist, which takes two years training ? That makes no sense,

              You certainily implied that this was a doctor and it’s odd that someone who had (in NZ) no recognised medical qualifications was taking blood. Make your mind up, You have insisted before that blood tests are done at hospitals.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              I qualified by saying ‘as far as I know.’ Please read my comments correctly.

              How and where would someone sit NZ exams etc before coming here ? Unlikely, to say the least !!!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              I qualified it by saying ‘as far as I know.’ Please read my comments correctly.

              How and where would someone sit NZ exams etc before coming here ? Unlikely, to say the least !!!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              So, how why and how was she taking blood? That can’t be done by people with no recognised qualifications.

    • Duker

       /  9th February 2019

      A person from Russia almost certainly NOT a refugee..the problem with medical training in Russia is that what qualifies as a doctor there would be at the same level as a paramedic here.
      Even Ghana sent some back who were supposed to fill a shortage there….Ghana

      Hurdles? It’s a pathway for her to upskill and match local standards..and medical training is grueling even for locals

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th February 2019

        They might have been a refugee decades ago, especially when Stalin was the ruler !

        If you’re right, Duker, it might explain why a ‘doctor’ was working as a phlebotomist and not as a doctor. That’s if she was a doctor.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  9th February 2019

        Might pay to know what you are talking about before posting, Duke. Taking Kitties lead only leads to a dead end street..like her and others views on talkback radio.🙄

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  10th February 2019

          I was posting back to you Corky. Even The Russians themselves admit their 2 tier doctor training isnt the best, as the lowest level are expected to work in a group practice or as ambulance paramedics

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  10th February 2019

            It’s has nothing to do with overseas medical training. But everything to do with how we retrain doctors for New Zealand qualifications, and whether that system
            is efficient or not.

            Worse, does it have skilled doctors looking to other countries with a more streamlined qualification system, as a place to settle?

            I know you were posting to me. I was just suggesting if you were jumping on the bandwagon with Kitty, that wouldn’t be a wise move. She gets herself into all sorts of trouble speaking about things she is ignorant of.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  10th February 2019

              Trolling again, Corky ? Oh dear, you never learn,

              Duker, as Corky listens to talkback radio, that makes him an expert on almost everything (in his opinion) No, I have no idea why this is,
              This means that those of us who have taken the time to do some actual research, or who know because we have studied the subject are ignorant (his favourite term) Look at the way that he’s still insisting that his niece is having things paid for by WINZ that WINZ spells out as NOT being paid for.

              I am totally ignorant despite having three sets of letters after my name because I haven’t made a cloudbuster with help from a non-existent person in a non-existent part of Victoria University (where I happened to do my first degree)

              Yes, medicine has not traditionally been well paid or trained in Russia; the doctors used to be paid an ordinary worker’s wage. I don’t know if they still are.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th February 2019

    Wouldn’t expect Christchurch to be a problem. Plenty of resources and opportunities there.

    Reply
  4. duperez

     /  9th February 2019

    Is it better to be a refugee in Whanganui with support which isn’t ideal, or be in your home country not a refugee with the sort of support there which makes you want to be a refugee?

    I appreciate the question might to some come across as being smart and unsympathetic but I appreciate that is is just possible that someone somewhere gave consideration to placing refugees in Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton, Levin and Christchurch past just throwing darts at a map.

    There are probably some reading this who think that refugees with common experiences and background should all be placed together in one town while others think they should be scattered far and wide.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th February 2019

      I would try to do both, if possible. It IS good to have someone with whom one can speak one’s own language and have things in common, I know this from living in Belgium. It is hard to be the only one.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th February 2019

        And if it was hard for me, how much harder is it for a refugee who’s been through who knows what ? I once taught ESOL, and many of my students were Cambodian refugees, One man was horribly scarred in a way that suggested torture, others had been bombed and all were there in the Killing Fields era…I would prefer it if some of them could be together.

        Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  9th February 2019

      A loyal libertarian would just leave them to their own devices …

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  9th February 2019

        A loyal Libertarian ( whatever that is) wouldn’t have them in the country to start with.

        Reply
        • PartisanZ

           /  9th February 2019

          Well … No! A libertarian surely respects the right of any other individual to get into the country of their choice by whatever lawful means they can?

          This is where the very idea of Minarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism breaks down …

          The transumption that the same ‘police force’ necessary to enforce private property rights wouldn’t be required to preserve the nation’s borders … and that you wouldn’t need a government to organize this enforcement …

          This is why Roger Rabid** is such an applicable term … Economic Rabies clearly leads to its own form of madness …

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  10th February 2019

            ”Well … No! A libertarian surely respects the right of any other individual to get into the country of their choice by whatever lawful means they can?”

            Correct. But a Libertarian would not take refugees from a sub group who had declared war on the West. We have the right of refusal.

            First rule of Libertarianism:

            The governments first duty is to protect the borders.

            President Trump understands this..but for the life of me everyone else just can’t get their heads around that concept.

            Reply
            • PartisanZ

               /  10th February 2019

              Damnation!

              If only there wasn’t “globalization” eh?

              You argument might be more watertight than a sieve!

            • Corky

               /  10th February 2019

              Show me the leaks? Show me any Libertarian government that would sign any pact allowing people free access to their country?

              Of course the world hasn’t had a Libertarian government..yet. But Libertarians/Lib organisations have post on how they would run a country when in government.

            • PartisanZ

               /  10th February 2019

              Oh, really, they speculate on how they would run a country … just like Democratic Socialists do … and everyone of every other political persuasion …

              Give me a break!

  5. Pink David

     /  9th February 2019

    Just a point which seems to be somewhat missing.

    My assumption is that the place of settlement is chosen largely for the resettlement period and that there is an expectation after a year or two these people gain a level of understanding of NZ and how to function here successfully. I would also assume that should their skills and desires led them to, say, move, then they are free to do so.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  9th February 2019

      try and become a practicing vet as an example..if you’re from overseas…short of shooting you ,they throw every hurdle in front of you.

      Protecting the professions sinecure..I was warned never to get dental care in Asia..20 years later and a save of at least 20k..yeah right!

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  9th February 2019

        What if you’d had a reaction back here to a medication, as I had ? Or if something went wrong, as can happen anywhere ?

        Reply
  6. Duker

     /  9th February 2019

    I understand most who come as refugees, their (high) qualifications are worthless in the NZ context.. You aren’t going to practice as a lawyer or accountant or dentist …for the next 10 years at least. That’s just the way it is…it happened at the end of WW2..when people with strange languages came from Europe

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th February 2019

      Well, proof’s needed, and one can’t just take someone’s word for it. There was a man in Wellington who claimed to have been a brain surgeon (I think it was that; it wasn’t just an ordinary doctor) and that he’d had to leave in such a hurry that he’d had to leave his papers behind. This was doubted by most people; they’d be the one thing that someone would have handy.

      I don’t think that it takes as long as that, Duker ! Not if someone has the qualifications. They must speak the language, of course.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  10th February 2019

        Could take up to 7-8 years just improve English to required standard.
        Most arent ready to transition there quals for some time, maybe open professions like accountants and engineers they can work at a junior level to understand local practice

        Reply
  7. PartisanZ

     /  9th February 2019

    Do small provincial towns deserve highly qualified refugees?

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  9th February 2019

      No. they are taking over the CBD of smaller towns. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it means the loss of ‘Kiwi culture.”

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  9th February 2019

        I’m very sorry to be the bearer of this belated bad news Corky … Kiwi culture went on ‘Roger Rabid’ steroids in 1984 and perished sometime after being Ruthanased in 1992 …

        Sorry you missed the funeral …

        Reply

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