CAB to take on migrant support role

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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A new Southland immigration information service will be provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) undertook a national review of the Settlement Support programme, which was previously provided by Venture Southland in the region.

The bureau will provide face-to-face settlement information in 30 locations throughout New Zealand and will start on July 1.

MBIE national manager settlement Judi Altinkaya said the new model would drive support for sectors, employers and workplaces in regions. Eight migrant skills retention manager positions would be created throughout the country and one would cover Southland along with other parts of the South Island, she said.

Citizens Advice Bureau Invercargill co-ordinator Nicola Kitson said she was told about the successful national tender yesterday.

People had wanted a face-to-face service and the ministry had responded, she said.

It would be business as usual for the service as its volunteers got their heads around what they would be doing.

She was unsure what changes would be made but mechanisms were in place if the bureau could not cope, she said.

Venture Southland, which had employed a fulltime, Southland-based settlement co-ordinator, last year said the "urban-centric" changes were a slap in the face for migrants.

Enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said the organisation's bid to tender for the service had not been acknowledged.

He respected the bureau but concerns previously expressed by the regions' mayors could now happen.

They were concerned about pushing a service on already stretched volunteer organisations, he said.

Its settlement support co-ordinator would remain at Venture but in a labour market role. She would also provide support for migrants during the transition period.

 

NEW MIGRANT SERVICE

Citizens Advice Bureau face-to-face information service will respond to new migrants who walk in off the street with settlement-related questions, and provide settlement-targeted workshops.

Immigration New Zealand NZNOW website can be accessed by migrants offshore and onshore.

Regional content will replace the former 18 different websites operated by SSNZ providers throughout the country.

The Immigration Contact Centre (ICC) will provide responses to settlement queries through a nationwide freephone service that will be available for 12 hours each day six days a week (can be increased to 24/7 if demand require it.)

Interpreting services available for people who want to use their first language.

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The centre will also respond to email inquiries. 

- The Southland Times

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