Providing Advocacy, Education and Information for former Refugees.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Refugees and ROC Trust

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Refugees - are men, women and children who have been forced to flee their countries of origin because of war, or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. They are evacuated with little warning, enduring great hardship during their journey. They become refugees when they cross borders and seek safety in another country.

Migrants – they are people who move from one place to another of their own accord in order to find work or better living conditions.

The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 protocol defines a refugee as a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country..."

Each year New Zealand accepts 750 refugees for resettlement through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as part of its commitment to being a good international citizen.

NZ Red Cross is contracted by Immigration New Zealand to set up services to support refugees after they leave the Mangere Centre in Auckland. These include setting up bank accounts, IRD numbers, Work and Income benefits (if required), housing and furniture, school enrollment, family doctor, and employment. Each refugee or family is also assigned a social worker and volunteer support worker/s to help them for their first 6-12 months in New Zealand.  http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/general/generalinformation/media/refugeefactsheet.htm

 

ROC Trust was formed and is still run by former refugees, who completely understand the journey that new migrants are undertaking in this country. It supports newly-arrived refugees as well as those who have been in the country for many years. For the last nine years, The ROC Trust has successfully run multicultural programmes to help refugees integrate into the Hamilton community and wider New Zealand society. 

The most important thing for all people if they meet former refugees on the street, they should say hello and smile at them because it symbolizes a warm welcome as new and valuable members of New Zealand society.

You can help refugees by volunteering at ROC Trust or other local resettlement agencies, becoming an English tutor, a circles supporter, a mentor to family, donating money, furniture and household items, teaching other people about refugees, and employing or encouraging local businesses to employ former refugees. You can support the work of the ROC financially.

Families register with UNHCR in the country of asylum. UNHCR assesses and determines their status. UNHCR also makes the difficult decision about who will be recommended for permanent resettlement in another country. This is a very small percentage of the overall number of refugees and is based on who is most in need.  There are approximately 20 countries worldwide that have a regular resettlement programme.  The New Zealand Government determines the criteria and priorities for refugee resettlement in New Zealand.  New Zealand Immigration interview the families who are put forward by UNHCR and accesses their eligibility and suitability for resettlement in New Zealand.

No, the Refugee Orientation Centre does not work on Immigration issues. You must approach the Refugee Quota Branch, New Zealand Immigration at Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland for assistance. The Immigration staff will determine if your case qualifies for family reunification.

Many refugees come to NZ without any possessions and without knowing anyone. Other refugees come here to be reunited with family members. All refugees are eligible to apply for the work and income benefit when they arrive. Families participate in a six week orientation programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.  After they leave the centre and travel to their resettlement location, they are supported by the New Zealand Red Cross.  The Red Cross facilitate a comprehensive community orientation programme and incorporate key government and non-government agencies into the programme.   We help former refugees find housing, learn about life and customs in New Zealand, get jobs, learn English, and become citizens. We provide most of the basic things they need to restart their lives here and we help them overcome cultural barriers so that their integration is as easy and quick as possible. 

They have come from countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia and Burma and Somalia.

We use local interpreters, multilingual staff, and if necessary, an over-the-phone language interpreting service to communicate with clients.

There is no constraint of time on the ROC's involvement with a former refugee family or individual client. Our objective is to empower them until they become an asset to NZ.

All services are provided at no cost to former refugee clients.

It’s when they are able to do everything by themselves, such as to communicate in English language with any New Zealander, understand the Kiwi life, culture and government system and also get a job.

Jambo is a Swahili word which means “Hello” in English. Jambo has been established not only to promote good health through soccer but also to bring our community together in order to encourage a positive attitude and harmony between our children and all family members. Hello is the beginning of any conversation. When children are playing on the soccer field, parents or family members talk and get to know each other and sometime become friends who can help former refugees or migrants to practice their English and learn more things.

Refugees do not choose to come to NZ. They go through a lengthy process that begins with being forced from their homes. Refugees then spend an average of 6-10 years in a refugee camp or other temporary living situation. When it becomes clear that returning home is not an option, they can apply for resettlement in a third country. After multiple interviews and background checks the UNHCR protection office determines their eligibility for the UNHCR resettlement programme. The UNHCR resettlement office will, in turn, assign the case to New Zealand Immigration. New Zealand Immigration verifies and checks everything from the person or family then permanent residency status is granted. 

In general, New Zealanders are more friendly people. They always freely donate their time to volunteer in order to help refugees to settle. Unfortunately, there are some people who don’t accept diversity so they choose not to be kind with refugees by telling them “Go back to your country”.

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