Pathways to Settlement

Our Pathways to Settlement programme offers support to former refugees in New Zealand as they begin their resettlement journey.

Our Pathways to Settlement programme

Moving is hard for anyone but former refugees often need extra support. Through our Pathways to Settlement programme we help introduce families to their new home, and make their transition to life in New Zealand as smooth as possible.

The programme is about connecting families to their new community. Whether it be introducing them to their neighbours, connecting them to services or showing them how to navigate public transport.

With the help of 120 trained staff and 600 volunteers, we support families for up to 12 months after their arrival. The services we offer include:

  • Settlement Support – practical support with day-to-day settling into the community.
  • Settlement planning with families –long term thinking and planning.
  • Orientation information sessions - tools needed to navigate life in a new community.
  • Community integration - linking former refugee families to their wider communities.

The refugee journey

New Zealand is one of a small number of countries that accept quota refugees referred by the United Nations.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the international organisation responsible for protecting the world's refugees and seeking durable solutions for them. UNHCR decides which refugees are in the greatest need of resettlement and asks resettlement countries to consider accepting them. The New Zealand Government then makes the final decision about who will be included in the quota.

All refugees accepted by New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme complete a six-week orientation programme at the Department of Immigration’s Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre before being resettled in six communities around New Zealand. These areas include the following cities:

  • Auckland
  • Waikato
  • Manawatu
  • Wellington
  • Nelson
  • Dunedin.

The New Zealand Government determines which areas refugees will be resettled based on a number of different factors.

When refugees arrive in their areas of resettlement, they are supported by our qualified social workers, refugee-background case workers, cross cultural workers and trained volunteers who help the refugees understand Kiwi culture, learn to manage systems and ultimately find suitable work. Social workers work with the families to identify complex issues such as parenting in a new environment or addressing trauma, and provide appropriate support and referrals.

All quota refugees are given permanent resident status upon entering New Zealand and are eligible for a range of benefits and supplementary allowances on arrival. They enjoy the same rights as any other New Zealand permanent resident in the areas of education, health, employment and social welfare. After five years, they may apply for New Zealand citizenship.

Resettlement countries, including Australia and New Zealand, also provide resettled refugees with legal and physical protection, including access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals.

Resettlement is a life-changing experience as refugees are often resettled to a country where the society, language and culture are completely different from their own and much is new to them. It is both challenging and rewarding for these individuals. We are here to help them along their journey to resettlement.