REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT - A LITERATURE REVIEW
Part II Country By Country Descriptions
Legal and policy definitions used to categorise refugees
Australia's Humanitarian Programme provides protection through resettlement to refugees and others in humanitarian need from all parts of the world. The size and composition of the programme are influenced by a number of factors, including
- an estimate of the number of people likely to be found to be in need of protection in Australia in accordance with international obligations under the UN Refugees Convention
- assessments of the resettlement needs of refugees overseas by the UNHCR
- the views of individuals and organisations in Australia conveyed during consultations by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
- Australia's capacity to assist.
The humanitarian programme has two components:
- the onshore (asylum or protection) component offers protection to people in Australia who meet the definition of refugee in the Refugees Convention
- the offshore (resettlement) component offers resettlement as a means of protection and a durable solution for people overseas who are in need of humanitarian assistance and who have no other option available to them.
The offshore programme has a refugee category and a special humanitarian programme category.
The refugee category covers people who are subject to persecution in their home country and who are in need of resettlement. The majority of applicants who are considered under this category are identified by UNHCR and referred by UNHCR to Australia. The refugee visa category includes refugees (visa category 200), in country special humanitarian applicants (visa category 201), emergency rescue (visa category 203) and women at risk (visa category 204).
The Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP) category is for people outside their home country who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country. A proposer who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation that is based in Australia, must support applications for entry under the SHP (visa category 202).
These visas are for people who have bypassed or abandoned effective protection in another country and for whom humanitarian entry to Australia is appropriate. They are in two sub-categories:
- Secondary Movement Relocation for people who have moved from a safe first country of asylum to another country before applying to enter Australia. This visa is valid for five years (visa category 451).
- Secondary Movement Offshore Entry for people who arrived unlawfully in Australia at an offshore excised place and have moved from a safe first country of asylum. This visa is valid for three years (visa category 477).
The humanitarian programme was increased to 13,000 places in 2004-2005 and has been maintained at that level since. Six thousand places were allocated to the refugee category in 2007 and 7000 to the SHP category (also shared with protection visas granted to asylum seekers within Australia). Priority caseloads for the offshore component of the humanitarian programme are emergency cases, woman-at-risk and cases referred by UNHCR. There is no separate allocation in the humanitarian programme for family reunification.
Places can be moved between the onshore and the offshore components of the programme according to need. Onshore protection visas have priority, given Australia's protection obligations. Places needed for protection visas are normally taken from the SHP offshore places. Places not used by the end of the year are added to the next year's allocation, and places are returned to the programme from temporary protection visas where the person permanently leaves Australia.
Australia does not accept applications for resettlement by dossier selection.
Canada resettles both Convention refugees and members of humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes (HPC) - persons who are not Convention refugees but who are in refugee-like situations and require protection through resettlement. Canada allocates a target each year for the resettlement of refugees through its government-assisted programme, who are eligible to receive financial assistance from the government of Canada.
An annual resettlement target is established by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) for government-assisted refugees following consultations within CIC, and with provincial governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the UNHCR. For 2007 the target is 7,300-7,500 persons. For 2007 the range established for privately sponsored refugees is 3,000-4,500 individuals.
Canada also has a Women-at-Risk Programme. To be eligible for this programme, women at risk must be Convention refugees or members of one of the HPC classes. Women at risk may be accepted despite having limited settlement prospects.
Canada currently does not accept for resettlement minors who have no immediate family in Canada.
Almost all selection is through in-country visits. In cases where an urgent protection need has been identified or in other cases that are fully documented, an interview may be waived.
For refugee resettlement purposes, family members are spouses, common-law partners (including same-sex partnerships) and dependent children. Individuals who do not meet the legal definition of family member, but who are emotionally or economically dependent on the family unit, may be included.
In some situations family members' whereabouts are unknown. In others, the conditions in the country of origin prohibit them from being processed with the principal applicant. To facilitate family reunification in these cases, the "one-year window" regulations were introduced in 2002. Separated family members are referred to as non-accompanying family members. The regulatory provisions allow non-accompanying family members to derive the principal applicant's refugee status and to apply without the need for a family class sponsorship. To qualify the principal applicant must have identified immediate family members prior to departure for Canada.
In addition, Canada has the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Programme, which enables organisations and private individuals to submit undertakings for refugees and persons in refugee-like situations (members of the HPC) for consideration for resettlement. On approval, the sponsor is responsible for providing financial assistance for a limited period and assisting the refugee with integrating in Canada.
The legal basis for refugees is the Geneva Convention of 1951 and New York Protocol of 1967 supplemented by local Acts of Parliament.
From July 2005, Denmark has operated a flexible quota of three years with 1,500 places all together. Within the three-year period, more or fewer places can be used depending on the actual needs.
The quota is divided into three categories: a geographical category, an emergency category (foreign citizens who are in an immediate risk of refoulement to their country of origin or who risk assaults in their country of stay) and a medical category under the Twenty-or-More Programme (foreign citizens with special medical needs). Every year, 20 places are allocated to the Twenty-or-More Programme, 75 places are allocated to the emergency category, while the number of places allocated to different geographical areas may vary, and can be changed upon request from UNHCR should the need arise during the calendar year.
Denmark has a family reunification policy. A person who is married to, or has lived in a stable relationship - including homosexual relationship - of some duration with a Convention or de facto refugee in Denmark can obtain a residence permit in Denmark. There is no legal definition of the duration of the relationship, but in practice a period of at least one-and-a-half or two years is required. The residence permit is only granted if both spouses/partners are over 18 years old. Unmarried children under the age of 18 can also be granted a residence permit in Denmark. Parents who are over 60 years can apply for a residence permit, but it will only be granted if the refugee living in Denmark both can and will support the parents. Under current legislation, reunification with Convention and de facto refugees is not conditional on any housing or financial requirements.
The Finnish Aliens Act (2004) lays down the definition of "refugee quota" and the requirements and procedures for admitting aliens to Finland under the quota. The wording of section 47 of the Act is virtually identical to the definition in the 1951 Convention, omitting the territorial and temporal limitations. Under section 106 of the Aliens Act, Convention status is granted to an alien who has been admitted to Finland for resettlement under the refugee quota. Refugee status is also granted to family members of the principal applicant.
People other than those whom UNHCR has proposed who have a strong need of protection may be granted a residence permit, rather than Convention/refugee status.
The Finnish Parliament decides on the size of the resettled refugee quota every year. In recent years, the quota has been set at 750. In making this decision, relevant ministries review previous resettlement intakes and collect data on the readiness for new arrivals at municipal level.
The legal framework for the resettlement programme in Ireland is set down in Section 24 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended). The definition of a refugee covers those who fulfil the requirements of Article 1(a) of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Membership of a "particular social group includes membership of a trade union and also includes membership of a group of persons whose defining characteristic is belonging to the female or male sex or having a particular sexual orientation" (Citizens Information Board 2007).
In general resettlement, refugees - referred to as "programme refugees" - have the same rights and privileges as Convention refugees (ie asylum seekers and persons granted refugee status under the State's refugee determination procedures) including the right to remain.
Section 3 of the Refugee Act provides that refugees (including programme refugees) shall
- be entitled to seek and to enter employment, to carry on any business, trade or profession and to have access to education and training in the State in the like manner and to the like extent in all respects as an Irish citizen
- be entitled to receive the same medical care and services and social welfare entitlements as those to which Irish citizens are entitled
- have the same rights of travel in or to or from the State as an Irish citizen
- have the same freedom to practice his or her religion and to the religious education of his or her child as an Irish citizen
- have access to the courts to the same extent as an Irish citizen
- have the right to form and be a member of associations and trade unions.
In 2005 the government decided to increase the resettlement quota from "10 cases plus family members" to 200 persons per year. This quota of 200 persons includes immediate family members and dependent parents.
In Ireland, the term "family" is given a restrictive definition, limiting it to the nuclear family only. A "dependent member of the family" may also be permitted access at the discretion of the Minister. Applications for a dependent member may be based on financial dependency, or where a person is suffering from a mental or physical disability, such as an elderly or sick parent. An unmarried heterosexual partner may be accepted if the couple has a child together and are in a long term relationship, but this is also discretionary.
The only kind of refugee status granted in the Netherlands is Convention status. This is a permanent status (A status), although in practice the residence permit has to be renewed every year. The status can only be withdrawn if the refugee renounces the protection granted, for instance by moving back or spending holidays in his/her country of origin, or if it appears that the refugee had lied about the circumstances that made him/her leave his/her country of origin. Although such provision exists in the Aliens Act, refugee status is not withdrawn when the situation in the country of origin improves.
Under certain circumstances a residence permit for humanitarian reasons may be granted to aliens who do not meet the criteria of the Geneva Convention. This permit does not include any recognition as a refugee under the Geneva Convention, and does not entitle its holder to any of the benefits and rights provided by the Geneva Convention. It is issued for one year renewable.
From 2005 until 2007 the Dutch quota was 1,500. To allow greater flexibility during any three-year period, the Netherlands is prepared to consider requests by UNHCR to accept more than 500 resettled refugees in a particular year. For the years 2005, 2006 and 2007, there was also a sub-quota of 30 cases per year for medical submissions of refugees who cannot receive medical treatment in their countries of asylum. Family reunification that takes place within three months after the moment of selection is also accepted under the quota.
In 1987 New Zealand established a formal quota for the resettlement of refugees. The refugee quota of 750 places is made up of the following subcategories:
- women-at-risk up to 75
- medical/disabled up to 75 (including up to 20 places for refugees with HIV/AIDS)
- UNHCR Priority Protection 600 (including up to 300 places for family reunification and 35 places for emergency cases).
All subcategories within the refugee quota generally include the nuclear and dependent family members (ie spouse and dependent children) of the principal applicant, except the 20 places available for those with HIV/AIDS. Nuclear family members for these refugees would be counted in the general priority protection subcategory.
The UNHCR priority protection subcategory applies to refugees requiring urgent legal or physical protection (ie refugees who face an immediate life-threatening situation, imminent refoulement, deportation or local security threat, including arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment, which may result in a violation of their human rights).
It may also include refugees for whom the international community has identified a need for resettlement as part of a comprehensive strategy to address a refugee problem.
Emergency resettlement submissions from the UNHCR are considered under the priority protection subcategory. The New Zealand Government offers a limited number of places for emergency resettlement each year. A notional figure of around 50 places is used. This is higher than the 35 places mentioned above because it includes the immediate family of the principal applicant. Emergency resettlement cases are drawn from countries worldwide and not limited to areas where global or regional priorities have been allocated.
All applications for resettlement in New Zealand under the refugee quota come through the dossier process.
The Refugee Status Branch makes decisions on all claims for refugee status made within New Zealand. Refugee status officers determine whether individual refugee claimants meet the criteria set out in the Convention through an extensive interview process, the analysis of up-to-date country information and the application of national and international refugee jurisprudence.
In order to obtain refugee status, the refugee has to fulfil the requirements of the Norwegian Immigration Act. A refugee within the meaning of the Act is a foreign national who falls under article 1A of UNHCR's Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 as amended by the protocol of 31 January 1967. If status is determined upon arrival in Norway, the threshold for giving refugee may be lowered.
Norway sets and allocates its resettlement quota on the basis of UNHCR's assessment of current resettlement needs and priorities. Most cases are selected from UNHCR referrals.
In 1992, in response to UNHCR's request for flexibility, the Norwegian Government decided that, following varying needs for resettlement opportunities, a three-year perspective could apply to the use of the annual quota places. This allows for advance use of quota places from the following year within the three-year period. Likewise, when annual ceilings are not reached, unused places may be carried over to the following year.
The size of the annual quota is determined by the Parliament. For 2006 the quota consisted of 1000 places. The quota was raised to 1,200 places in 2007, the first year of a new three-year period. The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion allocates the quota after consultations with other Ministries and the Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
When refugees with medical needs and victims of violence and torture require special treatment in Norway, available medical services in Norway are examined before decisions are made. If a person requires special treatment not or scarcely available in Norway, the case will normally be rejected. Refugees with medical needs should have a refugee background and prospects to recover after getting medical treatment in Norway. In order to be able to make a proper decision, the UNHCR forwards a recent, transparent and complete report of the refugee's medical condition.
Family reunification implies that a family member abroad is reunited with one or more family members already living in Norway. The aim of the provisions on family reunification is to protect already established family ties.
The close family members of Convention refugees are entitled to family reunification in Norway and they are usually also granted Convention status, although sometimes they are granted a residence permit on humanitarian basis. Spouses and partners (including same sex partners) and children under 18 years of age are allowed to join their family member in Norway. Unmarried children under 21 who would otherwise be left alone in their country of origin since their parents and siblings are all living in Norway may also be granted family reunification. Single parents above the age of 64 are sometimes eligible for residence permits if they are dependent upon a child already living in Norway. This is more difficult for couples, since exceptional circumstances are usually required. There are no financial conditions attached to family reunification with Convention refugees.
In situations where a refugee's life or freedom depends on emergency resettlement, Norway offers accelerated processing of a set number of cases. Emergency resettlement may, for example, be induced by threats of deportation, physical threat to security or undue detention. No geographical or national limitations apply to this offer.
Norway has no set rules for inadmissibility for refugees otherwise meeting the selection criteria. However, refugees with a criminal record and refugees with a drug addiction are normally not resettled by Norway.
The legal basis for accepting refugees is the Geneva Convention of 1951 and the New York Protocol of 1967, supplemented by local Acts of Parliament. Most cases are selected by delegations; some dossier selections are also accepted.
Since 1950 Sweden has accepted persons for organised resettlement in Sweden within the framework of a special refugee resettlement quota. This quota (currently set at 1,840) is used for transferring persons in need of international protection or others in particularly vulnerable situations. Under the Aliens Act (1989:529) a person has the right to asylum if he or she meets the definition of refugee spelled out in the Act. The wording of this definition is virtually identical to the definition in the 1951 Convention, omitting any territorial and temporal limitations. The Aliens Act also spells out other categories in need of protection that have the right to receive a residence permit. These categories are:
- persons who risk execution, corporal punishment, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
- persons who are escaping armed conflict or environmental disaster
- persons who risk persecutions due to gender-related reasons or on grounds of homosexuality.
Under the current legislation for family reunification, residence permits may be granted for reasons of family ties to the following persons or in the following cases:
- to the spouse or cohabiting partner (including same sex partner) of a person who is or has been granted permanent residence in Sweden
- to a child of parents who are resident in Sweden, provided that the child is under 18 years of age, is unmarried and without children himself and has previously lived with his/her parents
- to a close relative of a person living in Sweden, provided that they lived in the same household in the country of origin. According to the legal practice there also has to be a situation of dependence meaning that the relatives can hardly live without each other
- by exception, when there is a special connection to a close relative of a refugee or another person in need of protection, even if they have not lived in the same household in the country of origin
- by exception, a combination of humanitarian reasons and family ties.
Persons reunified with family members in Sweden who are Convention refugees or in another category of persons in need of protection, are on the whole covered by the same rules and regulations as recognised refugees. If the spouse, child or parent arrives in Sweden within two years after the first family member moved to a municipality, the municipality will receive the same state grant as for a refugee to cover the costs incurred during the integration period. Persons who have family members already residing in Sweden can also be resettled within the quota.
Selection on medical grounds is permitted only in exceptional cases and provided that the proper form of treatment is available in Sweden.
Cases are not accepted for reasons of criminality, alcohol and drug related illnesses and reasons relating to public order. Unaccompanied minor children are not accepted if they do not have relatives in Sweden willing to accept them.
The UK has three programmes for resettling refugees. They are the Gateway Protection Programme, the Mandate Programme and the Ten or More Programme. These programmes do not cover people who arrive in the UK as asylum seekers and apply for refugee status.
The Gateway Programme
The paper prepared by the UK Government (Department of International Protection 2004) notes that in 2002 the government announced the creation of a formal resettlement plan with a total (ie including dependants) quota of up to 500 per year. The plan was named the Gateway Protection Programme and became operational in April 2004. It aimed to process approximately 100 cases (individuals and families) during the first year, increasing capacity to fulfil the 500 placements gradually over ensuing years.
The Mandate and Ten or More Programme
The UK worked with the UNHCR to identify and process a small number of refugees requiring resettlement. This has been achieved by using its Mandate or Ten or More schemes. These schemes have been used to process approximately 120 persons a year (including dependants) for resettlement to the UK.
The mandate scheme has been used mainly to bring family members of settled persons to the UK. The Ten or More plan is a scheme established by the UNHCR in 1973 for the resettlement of disabled refugees in need of medical attention unavailable in their present country of refuge. The aim of the programme is for a host country to accept 10 or more refugees, plus their families, annually.
In order for a person to be resettled to the UK under this programme, he or she must be a mandate refugee. The applicant must have close ties with the UK. These ties may either be close family members, or a history of time spent in the UK, for example, as a student. Close family members are normally limited to:
- a spouse
- children under the age of 18 years old
- parents/grandparents over the age of 65.
The family members in the UK do not need to have been accepted as refugees, but must be settled here or have limited leave in a category leading to settlement. This includes family members in the UK who have been granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave. Family members in the UK in a temporary capacity (for example, visitors, students, those seeking medical treatment) would not normally provide the mandate refugee with a close tie with the UK.
In exceptional circumstances, the following members may meet the requirement or a close tie with the UK:
- a parent or grandparent (in the singular) under the age of 65
- family members aged 18 or over: son, daughter, sister, brother, uncle and aunt.
No other categories of family relationship meet the close tie requirement.
In some cases, there are compassionate circumstances sufficient to warrant consideration of the exercise of the Home Office's discretion. Such cases are referred to a special casework team to maintain consistency of approach.
Most of those who are granted refugee status in the UK arrive as asylum seekers. They are not part of the resettlement programme. A person applying for asylum will be granted asylum if the following conditions are met:
- he or she is in the UK has arrived at a port of entry in the UK
- he or she is a refugee as defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention and Protocol
- refusing his or her application would result in them being returned in breach of the Convention and Protocol, to a country in which their life or freedom would be threatened on account of one of the Convention reasons.
A refugee's spouse and dependent children under the age of 18 years are eligible to join the principal applicant in the UK. They are included in the quota for the Gateway Programme. They are additional to the number of mandate refugees accepted.
A person must meet the US definition of a refugee found in Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This closely follows the definition in the 1951 UN Convention:
Any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Using this definition, representatives of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) conduct interviews overseas of individuals who have fled persecution. They then determine refugee status. Once an individual is determined to be a refugee, a joint effort, conducted by the Department of State, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and INS brings these individuals to the US. United States voluntary agencies and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) then initiate programmes to assist with their resettlement. Refugees are the main beneficiaries of ORR assistance and services.
The US does not admit refugees by dossier selection.
Asylees also meet the definition of "refugee" in the INA. Asylees are individuals, who, on their own, travel to the US, apply for and receive a grant of asylum. These individuals do not enter the US as refugees. They may enter as students, tourists, businessmen or without papers. Once they are in the US, or at a land border or port of entry, they apply to the INS for asylum, a status that will acknowledge that they meet the definition of a refugee and that will allow them to remain in the US. Individuals granted asylum are eligible for ORR assistance and services.
The INA also defines as refugees (under certain circumstances specified by the President), certain persons who are within their country of nationality, or if they do not have a nationality, the country in which they are habitually residing. All family reunification cases, whether direct applicants or UNHCR referrals, count against the annual regional refugee admissions' ceiling.
As well as meeting the threshold criteria of persecution or substantial discrimination, applicants for resettlement to Australia must satisfy the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) decision maker that there are compelling reasons for giving special consideration to granting them a visa. This includes balancing various factors such as:
- the degree of harm the applicants themselves may have suffered (such as individual discrimination or other physical harm)
- the degree of an applicant's links to Australia (eg family and cultural links)
- Australia's capacity to provide for settlement of the applicant
- whether resettlement is the most appropriate option for the applicant (resettlement is generally intended to help people who are under threat within a country of first asylum or who have no prospects of return to their country of origin).
All applicants for permanent visas must meet prescribed legislation, which includes public interest criteria intended to safeguard the Australian community's health, access to health services, safety and national security. In some circumstances health requirements may be waived. Character requirements, however, cannot be waived.
There are no special provisions for the resettlement of elderly people or refugees with medical needs. The humanitarian programme does not exclude anyone automatically on the basis of illness (apart from tuberculosis).
The "family stream" of the Migration Programme also allows all holders of permanent visas to sponsor members of their immediate family for entry to Australia. Holders and former holders of permanent humanitarian programme visas may, within five years of the grant of their visa, propose immediate family members for resettlement.
Unaccompanied humanitarian minors (UHMs) are non-citizen children under the age of 18 who arrive in Australia under the humanitarian programme and do not have a parent to care for them in Australia. Those without a parent or relative over the age of 21 to care for them come under the legal guardianship of the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.
In-country applications from holders of temporary protection visas for refugee status are managed by a DIAC caseworker.
Canada will only consider an applicant for resettlement if they are referred by
- another (designated) "referral organisation"
- a private sponsor (ie already has an approved private sponsorship).
An applicant must meet the criteria of the 1951 UN Convention or meet the criteria for one of the two humanitarian-protected "persons abroad" classes - the country of asylum and the source country classes. The former class deals with persons who have fled their countries and who are the victims of war or massive violations of human rights. The source country class deals with persons who remain in their country of citizenship, and who are the victims of war or violations of fundamental civil rights or who would meet the Convention definition had they fled their country.
Canada has specific guidelines for assessing gender-based persecution, which are taken into account when an eligibility decision is made.
Normally, applicants must show potential to become self sufficient and successfully established in Canada within a three-to-five-year time frame. Factors such as education, presence of a support network (family or sponsor) in Canada, work experience and qualifications, ability to learn to speak English or French, and other personal suitability factors such as resourcefulness, will be taken into account by visa officers. However this criterion does not apply to refugees determined by a visa officer who fall within the categories: "urgent need of protection" or "vulnerable".
For a refugee to be accepted by Canada he or she must pass:
- a medical examination - successful applicants must not be suffering from a medical condition which is likely to be a danger to public health or safety. Depending on the circumstances of the case, refugees with medical conditions may need to be destined to particular areas where the required medical services are available
- criminal screening - refugees are not required to submit police certificates from their country of origin
- security screening - Canada will not accept combatants who have participated in war crimes or crimes against humanity. Senior officials from certain regimes, including former or serving senior military officials, and individuals who belong to organisations that espouse violence, are inadmissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
In urgent protection cases, Canadian policy is to try to complete the immigrant processing so that refugees may become permanent residents on arrival in Canada.
With women at risk, the ability to successfully establish will be assessed by Canadian visa officers on a "sliding scale"; that is, the greater the need for protection or the more immediate the danger the less weight will be placed on establishment considerations. In cases of refugees in urgent need of protection or who are vulnerable, ability to establish criteria will not be applied. In other words, women at risk may be accepted despite having limited settlement prospects.
Protection can be extended to individuals who seek protection asylum on arrival in Canada. Once their claim has been accepted they can apply for permanent residence for themselves and their families in Canada or abroad.
The Danish resettlement programme is divided into three categories: the geographical, Twenty or More and emergency categories.
The individual quota refugee is chosen from among UNHCR refugees. In each instance, the Immigration Service evaluates whether the applicant would have received a residence permit if they had entered Denmark as an asylum seeker. The Immigration Service also considers the applicant's chances of establishing roots in Denmark and benefiting from a residence permit. This involves looking at such factors as language ability, educational background, work experience, familial situation, network, age and motivation. In expedited cases or cases involving critically ill individuals, these factors will not play a decisive role.
Applicants are chosen via dossier selection (Twenty or More or emergency cases) or through in country visits (the majority).
The applicant must also consent to a medical examination performed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Finally, the applicant must sign a declaration accepting the conditions for resettlement in Denmark, which, among other things, includes an acceptance of the importance of work and the importance of learning the Danish language.
For public health considerations, persons who suffer from particularly communicable diseases will, unless particular reasons make it inappropriate, not be accepted for resettlement in Denmark. Particular reasons that could favour granting a residence permit are weighty needs for protection or close family ties to persons residing in Denmark. Persons with mental illnesses will, unless particular reasons make it inappropriate, also not be accepted for resettlement in Denmark. Cases concerning persons with physical illnesses or disabilities and who are in need of special or long-term treatment should be submitted under the Twenty or More category. A health consultant reviews all such cases for an assessment of whether proper treatment is available in Denmark and whether the overall situation of the person concerned will improve.
Foreigners resettled in Denmark may under certain circumstances be granted family reunification with their spouse (or cohabitant) and unmarried children. As a main rule, reunification with children requires that the child is under 15 years of age but can also be given to children aged between 15 and 18.
Applicants can be excluded on security grounds, because of criminality or because of a deemed threat to public order, safety and health.
The criteria for resettlement in Finland include:
- the person's need for international protection
- the need to be resettled away from the country of first asylum
- the capacity for integration into Finnish society
- the issue of a residence permit is not prevented by reasons relating to public order and security, public health or Finland's international relations.
Selection is through missions that build on a pre-selection phase carried out in Finland. The pre-selection phase draws on documents submitted by UNHCR that should provide information on the need for resettlement, data on all family members and on the refugee's integration potential as well as any health care and medical treatment needs.
Emergency cases are admitted to Finland without a personal interview on the basis of a written document by UNHCR. In recent years, these cases have accounted for 10 per cent of the annual quota.
Finland has no quotas for special categories; they are included in the normal quota. Criteria for selection are to be clarified so that Finland can admit unaccompanied minors and women in need of special protection.
A residence permit is issued on the basis of a family tie to a family member who is residing in Finland or who has been issued a residence permit to move to Finland, unless there are reasons relating to public order, security or public health. A family member includes a spouse, including a same-sex spouse or people who have continuously shared a household and cohabited in a relationship resembling marriage for at least two years, or who have a common child and unmarried children under 18 years. Family reunification cases are not included in resettlement allocations.
Taking account of the UNHCR resettlement needs, the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, following consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Office of the Minister for Integration indicates to the UNHCR the country of origin and country of first asylum the resettlement quota for the following year. In general, Ireland reserves 20 per cent of the quota for vulnerable cases, such as
- survivors of violence or torture
- medical needs
- women at risk
- elderly refugees.
Vulnerable cases are selected on a dossier basis, and the balance of the quota is selected by face-to-face interviews during the selection mission.
Dossiers are submitted to the Office of the Minister for Integration and copied to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The dossiers are examined in the Office of the Minister for Integration by the resettlement team and are referred to the various government departments for comment as appropriate. To ensure that the full range of services can be provided, cases with medical or special needs are referred to the Department of Health and Children. Cases having children with special needs are also referred to the Department of Education and Science. All applicants and immediate family members over the age of 16 years are referred for security and consular clearance. The Department of Health and Children or the Department of Education and Science may recommend non-acceptance of a case if, in their opinion, adequate provision can not be made to meet the special needs of the applicant or any family member.
At present there are no procedures for processing emergency and urgent cases.
Every effort is made to ensure that the complete nuclear family is included in the application even if a family member is not resident with the applicant at the time of application. Where immediate family members are separated at the time of application or when the primary applicant is being admitted into Ireland, provision is made from the quota for the subsequent admission of those absent family members. (Family members in this context are spouses, unmarried children under the age of 18 years or dependent parents.) Family reunification of extended family members is considered only in very exceptional circumstances, as described above.
Selection occurs through four selection missions each year to countries of asylum (selected in cooperation with UNHCR) as well as the submission of individual cases directly by UNHCR.
Netherlands has six grounds for admission:
- 1951 UNHCR Convention
- European Convention for Human Rights
- national protection for humanitarian reasons
- national protection for special categories
- family reunion
- extended family reunion.
"Integration" is also a criterion for selecting refugees within the policy for resettlement. In cases in which there is a need for international protection, the potential for integration is not an issue. However, a submission by UNHCR will be rejected if there are signs of behaviour or ideas that indicate that the person will not fit into Dutch society (eg showing non-conformist behaviour or ideas, intent to cause social unrest).
Capacity for integration can follow from having undertaken activities in the refugee camp, willingness to adjust to a new country, general knowledge, knowledge of a West-European language, family ties with Dutch nationals or having an open mind to Western/Dutch values and standards.
Medical cases must fit in the medical category as laid down by UNHCR. The medical treatment must not be available and non treatment has to result in a medical emergency situation, and the condition of the submitted persons should be such that their coming to the Netherlands for treatment and supervision can effect a substantial improvement. Medical checks are carried out during selection missions.
The Dutch regulations on family reunification distinguish between:
- ordinary family reunification with spouses and unmarried minor children
- reunification with other dependent relatives, where it can be demonstrated that continued separation would cause excessive problems for those left behind
- reunification with parents and more distant relatives, such as uncles and aunts, who have been left to face unendurable financial, social or emotional conditions.
In practice, family members in group a) above are granted entry and residence permits without having to prove their dependence, while those in groups b) and c) must provide clear evidence, not only of their family connections, but of the degree of dependence. Unmarried couples (including same sex partners) must provide proof of their relationship and of their income and housing in the Netherlands.
After three months it is still possible to apply for family reunification, but not within the resettlement programme. After that the regular Dutch criteria for family reunification apply, including requirements for the person granted asylum to have sufficient and stable means of support. The government does not pay travel expenses for this group.
Convention refugees do not need to satisfy income or housing requirements if they apply for family reunification within six months after the granting of the status, provided that family members have the same nationality. For family members other than the spouse or minor children, family members with a different nationality or where a request is submitted after the above-mentioned six-month period, convention refugees must be able to demonstrate an income which is at least 70 per cent of the minimum income level required in the National Assistance Act.
All refugees considered for resettlement under New Zealand's annual Refugee Quota Programme (except certain applicants who are nuclear or dependent family members of the principal applicant) must be recognised as a refugee under the UNHCR's mandate. All submissions for resettlement to New Zealand are referred by the UNHCR to the Refugee Quota Branch (RQB) of the Department of Labour for consideration.
In brief, individual refugees submitted by the UNHCR for resettlement to New Zealand must
- be recognised by the UNHCR as a refugee according to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 Protocol
- be submitted for resettlement by the UNHCR in accordance with the UNHCR resettlement guidelines and priorities
- fall within the regional and global priorities of the Government of New Zealand (exceptions for emergency and family reunification cases) as set out in the Quota Composition Plan established each year
- be assessed as admissible under the RQB policy and procedures
- be otherwise admissible under New Zealand law.
All cases presented to the Department of Labour for inclusion in the quota composition are interviewed by refugee quota immigration officers. While the humanitarian principle of protection remains paramount all cases undergo a comprehensive selection screening and assessment process to ensure that
- individuals or groups do not present security or criminal risks to New Zealand
- the case does not present any credibility issues
- New Zealand is the right settlement option for that individual or family; ie, that they show good prospects for positive settlement outcomes, and that appropriate settlement support can be provided to meet their needs.
The refugee quota includes the following subcategories of refugees:
- up to 75 women at risk
- up to 75 medical/disabled cases (including up to 20 places for HIV/AIDS referrals)
- up to 300 places for family reunification (includes declared spouse and dependant children of refugees who arrived in New Zealand under previous quota intakes and UNHCR referred family linked cases)
- up to 35 emergency cases.
Family reunification is recognised as an important part of New Zealand's refugee resettlement activities. However, it is acknowledged that there is a consistently high level of demand for family reunification from resettled refugees that cannot be met through the refugee quota programme alone. Generally, people who have refugee relatives in New Zealand and who do not qualify for resettlement in accordance with the UNHCR resettlement criteria must apply for residence under standard immigration categories. In addition, they may come from backgrounds similar to refugees but are not categorised as refugees in terms of targeted assistance or funding (other than ESOL funding in schools). Family reunification migrants may also be sponsored by recognised asylum seekers.
In recognition of the fact that it is often difficult for family members of refugees to meet the eligibility requirements of normal immigration policy, Immigration New Zealand also has a special policy that allows extended family members of refugees in New Zealand to apply for permanent residence. This immigration category (the refugee family support category) is currently limited to 300 places per year.
The UNHCR refers refugees for resettlement to New Zealand who require urgent legal or physical protection (ie refugees who face an immediate life-threatening situation, imminent refoulement, deportation or local security threat, including arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment, which may result in a violation of their human rights). It may also include refugees for whom the international community has identified a need for resettlement as part of a comprehensive strategy to address a refugee problem. As with all other subcategories within the refugee quota, the nuclear and dependent family members of the principal applicant are included.
Medical cases are referred for advice concerning the availability of suitable treatment in New Zealand. Feedback from these sources is taken into consideration in the decision-making process. Under the medical/disabled, where there is an apparent physical or psychological condition, full medical reports must be provided by the UNHCR for assessment by the relevant health authorities in New Zealand. The full disclosure of the condition and its effects are essential for planning purposes.
On 4 April 2005 a new health screening policy came into force within Immigration New Zealand. Under this policy, refugees provisionally accepted into the refugee resettlement programme are required to complete health screening offshore for TB and HIV/AIDS. Those found to be TB positive are not declined for resettlement, but their travel is temporarily delayed while they receive treatment to ensure they are fit to travel.
The policy also established that up to 20 places within the medical/disabled subcategory of the refugee resettlement programme would be available for any individuals found to have HIV/AIDS. This policy was not developed with the primary aim of keeping refugees with HIV/AIDS out of the country, as New Zealand's programme has always aimed to focus on providing protection to those most in need. Rather, the policy provides an effective early warning process for health authorities in New Zealand to ensure they have time to plan appropriate and necessary treatment and support for those refugees arriving in New Zealand with HIV/AIDS.
Although individual refugees are not declined on medical grounds alone, if appropriate medical treatment or services are not readily available in New Zealand this is taken into account in the decision-making process. Waivers of certain grounds of inadmissibility may be available in some cases for humanitarian purposes; for instance, to uphold the principle of unity of the family or when it is otherwise in the public interest.
Refugees granted asylums are considered quite separately from, and in addition to, the UNHCR-mandated refugees accepted for resettlement to New Zealand.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion sets the basic criteria for the selection of refugees for resettlement.
- A person referred for resettlement needs to fulfil the criteria contained in the definition of a refugee in the 1951 Convention. Exceptionally, other persons also in need of international protection may be offered resettlement in Norway.
- No other durable solutions should be available to the referred person in the foreseeable future.
- Links to Norway and to persons residing legally in Norway strengthen a case.
- A referred person's willingness and ability to become active participants in the Norwegian society are assessed and taken into account for some of the refugees. This includes the potential to be self-reliant within a reasonable period of time. Elements to be considered are the refugees' professional and educational background, their proficiency in languages, other skills/factors and links in Norway. When some of the refugees within a group of resettled refugees meet these integration-related criteria, they may act as a bridge between the other refugees and the Norwegian society. The integration-related criteria are largely disregarded in emergency cases where the refugee is in immediate risk.
Generally, priority is given to families, because it is easier to find accommodation for families than for single refugees in Norway.
UDI is responsible for selection decisions, issuing entry visas and for status determination. The refugee's status may be determined before departure from the first country of asylum or upon arrival in Norway. The same criteria are applied in determining the status of offshore refugees as are applied in determining the status of persons seeking asylum in Norway.
The close family members of Convention refugees are entitled to family reunification in Norway and they are usually also granted Convention status, although sometimes they are granted a residence permit on a humanitarian basis. Spouses and partners (including same sex partners) and children under 18 years of age are allowed to join their family member in Norway. Unmarried children under 21 who would otherwise be left alone in their country of origin (since their parents and siblings are living in Norway) may also be granted family reunification. Single parents above the age of 64 are sometimes eligible for residence permits if they are dependent upon a child already living in Norway. This is difficult for couples, since exceptional circumstances are usually required for both to be given residence permits based on dependence. There are no financial conditions attached to family reunification with Convention refugees.
Military activities are not normally considered an obstacle to resettlement but refugees with a criminal record are not normally accepted.
If a person requires special medical treatment not or scarcely available in Norway, the case will normally be rejected. Refugees with medical needs should have a refugee background and prospects to recover after getting medical treatment in Norway.
Refugees are eligible if they meet the criteria set out in the definition in the 1951 Convention or the other categories set out in The Aliens Act:
- persons who risk execution, corporal punishment, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
- persons who are escaping armed conflict or environmental disaster
- persons who risk persecutions due to gender-related reasons or on grounds of homosexuality.
The resettlement quota can include close members of family if they arrive at the same time or shortly after the person in need of protection. Residence permits may be granted to aliens married to or cohabiting with a person domiciled in Sweden or who is a holder of a Swedish residence permit. Any children of a parent living in Sweden or holding a Swedish residence permit are also regularly awarded residence permits provided that they are under 18, are unmarried and are or have been living in their parent's home.
Relatives outside the immediate circle of the nuclear family are awarded residence permits only if they were previously members of the same household community in their country of habitual residence. Apart from having belonged to the same household community, they must also be able to demonstrate some form of mutual dependence making it difficult for them to live apart. In rare cases on exceptional grounds, persons who were in need of protection and who now reside in Sweden may be allowed to bring over a relative with whom they were particularly close, even though they may not have been members of the same household community while in their previous country of habitual residence.
The Gateway Programme
The Gateway Programme is operated by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the UK Government. It is a quota programme. To qualify for resettlement under the programme, applicants should have been assessed as a refugee within the 1951 Refugee Convention and Protocol. Dossiers come through UNHCR. In addition, the applicant (and his/her dependants) must
- co-operate with UK officials and any other body involved in the UK programme
- be committed to supporting themselves and their family (with support and training)
- not be in a polygamous marriage
- not have an active application lodged for the Mandate scheme or Ten or More plan.
The UK conducts medical screening of all Gateway resettlement cases and their dependants. Resettlement will not normally be offered under the Gateway Programme when, in the opinion of the medical examiner the individual has a disease or illness, which for the individual's own health or for public health reasons, currently precludes travel or requires treatment before travel. Resettlement may be offered to such individuals once this ceases to be the case. Gateway applicants who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, multi drug resistant TB, or established renal failure will not usually be offered resettlement for reasons of public health.
Security screening also takes place for the principal applicants and dependants before selection.
The UK also looks at whether the programme is able to meet the resettlement needs of the applicant and their dependants, and whether resettlement of the applicant and their dependants in the UK would be conducive to the public good. The UK process also seeks to establish whether resettlement to the UK may be contrary to the best interests of the applicant or their dependants.
Assessment of individuals who are survivors of violence and torture are conducted as part of the normal process. There is no specific programme for women at risk.
At present the UK is not accepting unaccompanied children as part of the Gateway Programme.
The Mandate Programme
This programme is for family members of people already settled in the UK. In order for a person to be resettled to the UK under the Mandate Programme, he or she must be a mandate refugee. The applicant must have close ties with the UK. These ties may either be close family members, or a history of time spent in the UK; for example, as a student. Close family members are normally limited to
- a spouse
- children under the age of 18 years old
- parents or grandparents over the age of 65.
The family members in the UK do not need to have been accepted as refugees, but must be settled or have limited leave in a category leading to settlement. In exceptional circumstances, the following members may meet the requirement or a close tie with the UK:
• parent or grandparent (in the singular) under the age of 65
• family members aged 18 or over: son, daughter, sister, brother, uncle and aunt.
No other categories of family relationship will meet the close tie requirement.
The Ten or More Programme for people with severe medical needs or disabilities
With the Ten or More Programme the cases are judged against several criteria, the three most important being that
- the refugee must fall under UNHCR's mandate
- he or she must have a severe disability to which he or she is not well adjusted, for which treatment and/or rehabilitation is not available in the first country of asylum
- he or she falls outside all regular resettlement criteria.
The definition of "disabled" is a fairly broad one, and caseworkers can expect to receive cases involving for example, invalidity, ill health, mental disability and/or illness, alcoholism, as well as survivors of torture or other violence who are suffering from the physical and/or psychological consequences.
Applicants for refugee admission into the US must meet all of the following criteria:
- meet the definition of a refugee contained in Section 101(a)(42) of the INA (see above)
- be among those refugees determined by the President to be of special humanitarian concern to the US
- be otherwise admissible under US law
- not be firmly resettled in any third country.
Processing priorities set out below serve as guidelines to determine eligibility for access to the US resettlement programme and as a tool to manage the refugee admissions process within the established annual regional ceiling. The integration potential of individuals or ethnic groups is not a consideration in being accepted as a refugee.
UNHCR or US Embassy identified cases: persons facing compelling security concerns in countries of first asylum; persons in need of legal protection because of the danger of refoulement; those in danger due to threats of armed attack in an area where they are located; or persons who have experienced recent persecution because of their political, religious or human rights activities (prisoners of conscience); women at risk; victims of torture or violence; physically or mentally disabled persons; persons in urgent need of medical treatment not available in the first asylum country; and persons for whom other durable solutions are not feasible and whose status in the place of asylum does not present a satisfactory long-term solution. As with all other priorities, priority one referrals must still establish a credible fear of persecution or history of persecution in the country from which they fled. All nationalities are eligible for processing under priority one.
Refugees with medical needs, survivors of violence and torture and women at risk may be processed under priority one. Age is not a factor in US refugee admissions. Unmarried children under the age of 21 who are accompanying or following to join a refugee parent are eligible for derivative refugee status.
Priority two: groups of special concern
This includes specific groups (within certain nationalities) as identified by the Department of State in consultation with NGOs, UNHCR, DHS, and other area Experts as well as some in-country programmes. Only those members of the specifically identified groups are eligible for processing. Groups may change from year to year.
Nationals of specific countries who are spouses, unmarried sons and daughters under 21 years of age, and parents of persons admitted to the US as refugees or granted asylum, or persons who are lawful permanent residents or US citizens and were initially admitted to the US as refugees or granted asylum.
Certain family members may join relatives in the US through
- a UNHCR referral for the purpose of family
- an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) filed with a voluntary agency by refugees, permanent residents, or American citizens to establish a relationship in order to qualify for consideration under the priority three, family reunification category
- Visa 93: a resettlement authorisation for the spouse and unmarried children under 21 of a refugee already resident in the US
- regular immigration: refugees may also qualify for admission under regular immigration categories if they have the requisite relatives in the US.
Refugees may be excluded from the US for the following reasons:
- health-related: some communicable diseases, physical or mental disorders and current drug use or addiction - denials may be overcome when problem successfully treated or upon waiver or at the discretion of the Attorney General
- criminal activity
- security grounds.
Unmarried children under the age of 21 who are accompanying or following to join a refugee parents are eligible for derivative refugee status. Unaccompanied minors may also qualify as refugees if they satisfy all requirements for admission to the US as refugees. The US refugee admissions programme works with UNHCR to determine whether third country resettlement is in the best interest of the child.
Rationale underpinning refugee resettlement policies
The statements below are drawn from a range of official documents and reports. Some are relatively high level; many refer to migration in general rather than specifically to refugees. The statements tend to focus on offering protection and full participation in the life of the host country.
According to the Australian chapter in the Department of International Protection Settlement Handbook (2004), offshore resettlement is the largest component of Australia's Humanitarian Programme. This goes beyond international obligations and reflects the desire of Australians to assist those in humanitarian need. The Australian Government is committed to supporting humanitarian entrants to settle in Australia and become part of the Australian community. The government also actively encourages regional migration to meet the needs of employers in regional areas and avoid overcrowding in Australia's major cities.
The National Framework for Settlement Planning (2006) notes that the main focus of settlement services is to enable new entrants to become self sufficient as soon as possible, thereby allowing them to participate fully in Australian society.
An information sheet from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship in relation to the planned Citizenship Test comments:
Australian citizenship is a privilege not a right and the Government is focused on ensuring that people who migrate to Australia participate in Australian life to the fullest extent as Australian citizens. (Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2007)
Canada has chosen to protect persons for humanitarian reasons, to meet its international commitments and to respond to international crises. Canada's resettlement programme places emphasis on the protection of refugees and people in refugee-like situations by providing a durable solution to persons in need of resettlement. With the implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in 2002, Canada has placed emphasis upon the following principles for refugees:
- a shift toward protection rather than ability to successfully establish
- long-term, multi-year planning
- group processing where possible to increase efficiencies and where group resettlement needs are present
- rapid family reunification
- accelerated processing of urgent and vulnerable protection cases
- balancing inclusiveness with effective management through closer relationships with partners.
The Danish resettlement programme is guided mainly by a humanitarian approach. At the same time it takes into consideration whether the individual will be able to create a new life by integrating into Danish society.
A 2002 fact sheet put out by the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that the Danish Government's policy for foreigners rests on three fundamental considerations:
- Denmark's commitments under international conventions must be honoured.
- The number of foreigners entering Denmark must be limited and stricter requirements must be introduced with regard to their obligation to support themselves.
- The refugees and immigrants already living in Denmark must be better integrated and get work more quickly. The incentive to seek work themselves must therefore be enhanced.
In Finland the reception of resettled refugees is considered a humanitarian activity, and burden sharing and aspects such as political priorities and labour force needs do not play a major role in refugee policy.
The Irish programme is intended to meet the state's international obligations. It aims to provide protection to vulnerable groups of refugees and to equip them to participate fully in Irish society. Ireland also believes that people from different backgrounds and cultures can enrich the society around them and contribute to the continued development of Ireland.
The Integration of Newcomers Act came into force in 1998. It establishes the rights and obligations of newly arrived adult immigrants. Fermin (2001) argues that the Act is "motivated by the ambition to prevent the formation of new groups of the underprivileged by obliging inadequately equipped newcomers to participate in an integration programme to promote their self-sufficiency".
New Zealand's refugee resettlement policy has always aimed to focus on providing protection to those most in need. It reflects the Government's commitment to fulfilling its international humanitarian obligations and responsibilities.
The goals of the New Zealand Settlement Strategy (DOL 2007), which covers all migrants, including refugees, are set out below.
New Zealand's economic transformation is supported by the contributions of migrants and refugees and their ability to realise their personal aspirations by: accessing appropriate education and employment; utilising their skills, knowledge and qualifications; stimulating innovation and creativity in business; and strengthening relationships between international and domestic markets.
Migrant and refugee families have equitable access to the support and choices they need to be secure and able to reach their full potential in all aspects of social and economic life.
New Zealanders understand and accept cultural diversity - migrants, refugees and their families have a sense of place and belonging in New Zealand, while maintaining their cultural identities that contribute to New Zealand's social and cultural vibrancy.
The revised Settlement Strategy indicates a shift in emphasis with the importance placed on dual responsibilities in achieving settlement - both the newcomers and New Zealanders are responsible for achieving settlement outcomes.
It is up to New Zealanders to ensure that migrants and refugees feel welcome and safe in their new home. It is important also that New Zealand's cultural diversity is respected in all communities.
The efforts that New Zealanders make to support settlement need to be reciprocated by migrants and refugees themselves. Newcomers are expected to understand and respect our values, and contribute to our community and civic life. (DOL 2007:13)
Norway holds the view that resettlement first and foremost is an instrument of protection. The need for protection is deemed to be the basic criteria for resettlement. Parliament has expressed that the ability to integrate should be an important factor to be weighed when selecting refugees for resettlement - that is, refugees should have a potential to integrate well into Norwegian society and to support themselves within a reasonable period of time.
The resettlement programme is seen as a way of showing international solidarity with countries that receive many refugees and have trouble providing these people with necessary protection. It is also a contribution to the UNHCR's work with refugees around the world, by offering resettlement to those who cannot return or locally integrate.
It is considered important that the resettled refugees as soon as possible become active participants in Norwegian society. This is not only important for the individuals themselves, but also for the society and for securing the legitimacy of the programme in the population.
A report to the Norwegian Parliament (Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development 2001) describes the government approach to integration:
The Government believes we must distinguish between a policy of integration and a policy of diversity through inclusion and participation. In the Government's opinion, integration applies to persons who have immigrated and concerns what is required to introduce the immigrants to and include them in their new society and to ensure that they are as self-supporting as possible. The policy of diversity through inclusion and participation has a broader perspective. In principle it involves all members of our society, majority and minority, new arrivals and more established immigrants. Its aim is to provide all inhabitants, regardless of background, religion or origin, with equal opportunities for making independent choices on how to organise their lives. Major social and economic differences based on ethnic divisions must not be allowed to develop. The aim of the policy is the harmonious development of good relations between groups and communities in the population, without too much social tension. (MLGRD 2001:6)
An information sheet from the Government Offices of Sweden (2007) in relation to integration and diversity covers migrants and refugees. It states that:
The overall objectives of integration policy are
- equal rights, responsibilities and obligations for all regardless of ethnic or cultural background
- social community based on diversity
- social development characterised by mutual respect for differences within the boundaries that follow from society's fundamental democratic values in which everyone, irrespective of background, should take an active and responsible part.
The National Strategy for Refugee Integration notes that refugees can make a huge contribution to the enrichment of national life and contends that a genuinely strategic approach to the integration of refugees is in the interests of the host population and of refugees themselves. It continues:
By integration, we mean the process that takes place when refugees are empowered to achieve their full potential as members of British society, to contribute to the community, and to become fully able to exercise the rights and responsibilities that they share with other residents. (Home Office 2005:5)
The aim of the Gateway Protection Programme is to offer a managed legal route to the UK and engage refugees at the earliest opportunity to maximize their chances of eventual resettlement and self sufficiency in the UK. It is also part of a balanced immigration strategy to tackle abuse of the asylum system by those who are not in need of protection. The programme works in partnership with the UNHCR.
The US is committed to offer resettlement to refugees in need. Achieving economic self sufficiency is the cornerstone of the US resettlement programme, and getting a job is the first step toward that goal.
Refugees come to the US for protection and in search of freedom, peace and opportunity for themselves and their families. The mission of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is to help refugees, Cuban/Haitian entrants, asylees and other beneficiaries of our programme to establish a new life that is founded on the dignity of economic self support, and encompasses full participation in opportunities which Americans enjoy (ORR 2002).
Roles and responsibilities across sectors
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is the federal government agency with responsibility for settlement services. Federal, state and local government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups are all involved in service delivery. Community groups also undertake advocacy.
The government also plays an active role in building social cohesion. Its policy aims to enhance community harmony, ensure government services and programmes respond to the diversity of Australian society and promote the economic and business benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians. Through its National Action Plan, the central government provides support for local government and community groups in initiatives to promote social cohesion.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
Reviews of IHSS and state services (Correa-Velez, Gifford and Bice 2005, Davidson et al 2004, Urbis Keys Young 2003) have identified some lack of co-ordination between service providers under IHSS and a need to have clearer transitions between initial (ie IHSS) services and long-term settlement services. There are also some gaps between improving the ability of governments, service providers, community organisations and other settlement stakeholders to plan for the arrival and settlement of new entrants. The National Framework for Settlement Planning will enable
- early and systematic identification of new and ongoing settlement needs and service delivery issues
- improved communication and information flows between settlement stakeholders, including on new caseloads and the unmet settlement needs of new arrivals
- clarification of the roles and responsibilities of different settlement stakeholders within DIAC
- development of clear referral and feedback pathways for issues identified.
The framework constitutes an ongoing cycle of
- identification, reporting and analysis of ongoing, emerging and predicted settlement needs
- identification of appropriate programmes and/or agencies to address identified needs and subsequent referral
- provision of information on caseloads and service needs to key stakeholders.
DIAC is responsible for managing the framework. Other stakeholders include mainstream Commonwealth agencies, state and territory governments, non-government service providers, established and newly arrived migrant and humanitarian communities and individuals, local governments, communities and individuals, and employers and employer groups.
The government identifies locations for regional resettlement only after extensive consultations with local communities and clear indication of support from local government.
State and local government
State governments have instigated a number of initiatives, particularly in the area of health. New South Wales, for example, has established the Refugee Health Service, and Victoria has prepared a refugee health and wellbeing action plan (State of Victoria 2005). This aims to enhance co-ordination between services, promote flexibility and responsiveness and build data collection and research capacity. It includes funding for four full-time refugee health nurses, a refugee dental services programme, refugee health clinics and school-focused youth services. It also aims to develop specialist mental health services.
As noted above, IHSS services are delivered by service providers contracted to DIAC. Volunteer groups also work with service providers to support entrants and assist them to settle into the local community. Typically, a person is assigned to a Community Refugee Settlement Scheme group (volunteers) for the first six months after arrival in a community. During this period the CRSS group is expected to pick up refugees from the airport and provide them with accommodation and basic material needs. A settlement checklist is provided to the groups to guide them in introducing entrants to processes in Australia. It includes ensuring that newcomers
- are registered with Centrelink (which provides allowances and benefits)
- have a Medicare Card and have undergone appropriate medical and psychological screening
- have a bank account
- can use the public transport system
- are enrolled in English classes and the children are in schools
- have accommodation.
The Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council in Australia (RRAC 2002) is engaged in advocacy and has developed a strategy for refugee young people. The RRAC would like to see state and territory, local government and community organisations work together to further develop and implement the strategy through the National Framework for Settlement Planning.
In Canada, central government, provincial government and service provider organisations all play a role in resettling refugees.
Central and provincial government
The Government of Canada has signed accords with several provincial governments regarding immigration policies. For government-assisted refugees initial resettlement in Canada is entirely supported by the Government of Canada or the Quebec Government.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) administers the Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program. Refugees are eligible for full benefits under this programme until their provincial health plan coverage begins. Once provincial coverage has started, refugees are eligible for supplemental coverage under the programme, which covers emergency dental, vision and pharmaceutical care. Citizenship and Immigration Canada administers the IFH Program.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
CIC consults regularly with the Canada Border Services Agency, Justice, Immigration and Refugee Board, Foreign Affairs, the Canadian International Development Agency and provincial governments when developing and implementing policies around refugee and asylum issues.
The Canadian Council of Refugees (CCR) offers a space for NGOs concerned with refugees to work together. Two national consultations are held each year enabling members to network and meet with others, including government officials and representatives of the UNHCR. The council works with government on policy issues.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play a key role in welcoming and protecting refugees in Canada. As service providers, community builders and advocates, they offer refugees practical, emotional and moral support.
The NGO sector serving refugees in Canada is mostly made up of local community-based organisations. Many were created by immigrant and refugee communities, organising to help themselves. Some NGOs owe their origins to a faith-based response to welcome the stranger and overcome injustice. Some organisations were formed to address the needs of particularly vulnerable refugees, such as survivors of torture.Many serve refugees as part of a wider community response (eg a women's centre that serves refugee as well as non-refugee women).
Among the activities of refugee-serving NGOs are:
- providing shelter to newly arrived refugee claimants
- assisting refugee claimants in securing refugee protection in Canada
- sponsoring refugees from abroad
- visiting refugees in detention
- offering information and referrals
- assisting refugees in finding housing, employment, schools for children, etc
- educating the public about refugees
- helping refugees and Canadians to get to know each other
- providing language training for refugees
- informing the government about the impact of their policies and practices on refugees
- working with Canadian institutions to sensitise them to the realities of refugees
- supporting refugees in their efforts to organise themselves and participate fully in Canadian life
- advocating for policies that protect and welcome refugees.
According to the Danish Integration Act, the Ministry for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs has the principal responsibility for the reception and integration of foreign citizens.
In November 2003 the government adopted an action plan for the promotion of equal treatment and diversity and to combat racism. The initiatives in this action plan are intended to ensure there is room for diversity in Denmark. The plan includes financial support for dialogue meetings on ethnic minority participation in political activities, and local events that focus on diversity. The integration plan also focuses on employment and education.
Danish municipalities have responsibility for policies aimed at integrating new immigrants into the labour market. They are also responsible for language training and, where required, vocational training and job counselling. The general framework for the integration policy is given by national law, but the municipalities have discretion regarding the administration of the law and specific implementation of policies. They can, for example, contract with other agencies to organise or implement the introductory three-year programme.
The Danish Refugee Council, the Danish Red Cross and other organisations and associations have volunteer programmes across the country that promote the integration of foreign citizens into local communities and create dialogue, understanding and tolerance between foreign citizens and the rest of the population. Volunteer programmes offer a variety of activities in the local community. The voluntary sector may also contract with municipalities to provide programmes and services.
The Ministry of Labour is primarily involved in the integration of immigrants, the reception of asylum seekers and refugees, the placement of refugees in the municipalities, work permit issues and the promotion of employment for migrants. The government pays an integration allowance to refugees until they obtain employment.
Employment and economic development centres have an important role in steering and monitoring reception activities in each region. They operate under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour.
In 2008 migration and integration matters will be placed in the Ministry of the Interior. Under the government programme, an entity responsible for migration and integration will be established within the Ministry of the Interior. It will include the Immigration Department and the Directorate of Immigration operating under its auspices. The new entity will also include the relocation of the following units from the Ministry of Labour: the Immigration Policy Team of the Policy Department, the Immigration and Work Permit Team of the Labour Market Policy Implementation Department, the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations, reception centres for asylum seekers, the Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities, and the National Discrimination Board (Finnish Government 2006).
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
The government adopted the migration policy programme in October 2006, its main emphasis on promoting work-based immigration. Other central themes in the migration policy programme include increasing the efficiency of the integration system for immigrants, improving ethnic relations between population groups and dealing with the commitments related to humanitarian immigration.
An advisory board for the integration and reception of asylum seekers was established in connection with the Ministry of Labour to improve the opportunities for involvement and co-operation between ministries, municipalities and NGOs. At the local level, co-operation between the municipalities and employment offices was more efficient, generally and with regard to the integration of individual immigrants.
The Act on the Integration of Immigrants and Reception of Asylum Seekers was amended from 2 January 2006. Its aim is to accelerate and make the integration of immigrants more efficient. It clarifies the division of labour and sharing of responsibility between the authorities at all levels of administration.
Receiving municipalities are responsible for preparing an integration plan and arranging access to services and support including language lessons and vocational training. They also provide refugees with accommodation and social assistance, based on an agreement between the state and the municipalities.
Employment offices, in collaboration with the employment and economic development centres, implement labour market policy measures and provide employment services.
A recent government report (Finnish Government 2006) notes that municipalities have been increasingly less willing to resettle refugees and persons granted asylum, and there are not enough places to safeguard fast, smooth placement. The report states:
The decreased willingness of municipalities to receive refugees and similar persons relates to economic problems currently experienced by municipalities and the difficulties experienced in the reception of refugees. Municipalities consider the level and duration of compensation to be a problem. The reception of refugees places a major drain on a municipality's service provision and staff providing such services. In addition, municipalities consider that family reunion and independent movement results in refugee numbers growing much larger than planned. Because of their background, not all refugees can be employed and may require extended social assistance to survive. Ensuring adequate resources would foster the possibility and willingness of municipalities to receive refugees. (Finnish Government 2006)
The Finnish Red Cross assists municipalities in receiving refugees for resettlement. It trains volunteers to assist at reception and to provide support to newly arrived refugees. In Finland there is generally a lack of formally registered organisations run by refugees to which activities can be subcontracted. NGOs and other adult education groups are active in arranging language and other training for refugees. (Ekholm, Magennis and Salmelin 2005)
In Ireland, resettlement policy is co-ordinated at central government level by the Reception and Integration Agency. It deals with integration policy for all refugees and people who have been granted leave to remain in the State. It arranges accommodation and works with statutory and non-statutory agencies to co-ordinate the delivery of other services (including health, social services, welfare and education) for asylum seekers and refugees. Local authorities do not receive any direct financial allocation in respect of resettled refugees placed in their localities. Ireland has a mainstream model of integration, which requires service providers to make provision to meet the needs of the new arrivals. At the same time, it is recognised that resettlement refugees are a particularly vulnerable group and funding is provided for targeted initiatives in the early stages of resettlement. Care is taken at all times not to build dependency on targeted initiatives.
City/county development boards are established in each of the 29 county councils and in each of the five major cities in 2000 to bring about an integrated approach to the delivery of both state and local development services at local level. The boards receive funding from central government to pursue social inclusion policies at local level. Some have used funding to pursue activities aimed at the integration of resettled refugees in their areas.
The resettlement team assists county development boards to set up a local working group to plan for local resettlement and integration of refugees. The working group usually includes representatives of all service providers. The resettlement team provides training and information to the working group and works with the group in the planning process. It continues to provide support to the working group for approximately 18 months following resettlement. In cases of special need, the team also works with national organisations to ensure adequate services are provided. For example, where rape victims are admitted, the resettlement team will liaise with the rape crisis centre in advance of the refugee's arrival.
In recent years, working groups have employed a community development worker, full or part-time depending on numbers in the area, to facilitate access to services, promote participation by the new arrivals in local activities and to encourage local organisations to proactively welcome the new arrivals (the two-way process). Central government funds this position. The community development worker works with the new arrivals to identify gaps in service and supports them to find solutions to problems. He or she also works with the service providers to inform them of issues arising and initiate change at a local level. In this way the experience of resettled refugees should have a long-term impact on how services are provided at a local level to all legally resident immigrants.
The NGO sector is also very active in Ireland as regards social matters in general. This has historically been the case here, where community organisations and organisations funded and run by religious groups have been prevalent. There is also a strong culture of voluntary work in Ireland.
Most of the large NGOs involved in refugee matters are based in Dublin and concentrate primarily on issues concerning asylum seekers. However, many NGOs and community groups, both in and outside Dublin, help resettled refugees with language and vocational training, help them find accommodation and access social services, and provide other forms of assistance aimed at facilitating integration into the society. In addition, there are a number of NGOs focused on immigration issues highly relevant to the situation of resettled refugees, particularly as regards access to the work place and civic participation.
In 2004 the Irish Refugee Council hosted a conference on the role of refugee community organisations in representing and servicing their communities. The brief for the conference states that
This conference will explore the potential role to be played by Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs) in Ireland. To date, issues of concern to refugees and asylum-seekers in Ireland have largely been mediated through Irish-led NGOs. Across Ireland, fledgling RCOs are emerging as refugees and asylum-seekers strive to find their 'voice' and role in Irish society. By exploring the role played by RCOs in continental Europe and the UK and the current status of RCOs in Ireland, the conference aims to encourage wider debate on the potential for Irish RCOs to act as representatives for and deliver services to their communities. (Irish Refugee Council 2004)
Central government funds the reception centre at Amersfoot and provides a basic social allowance. Extra financial assistance is available for unforeseen and unavoidable expenses. This is usually repayable. The government is also responsible for funding benefits for refugees and services provided by municipalities.
Local authorities are required to provide housing and an extended introduction programme, generally lasting one to two years and including language lessons and vocational training.
The Dutch Refugee Council plays an important role in the reception of refugees in the Netherlands. It advises local authorities and institutions and, perhaps more importantly, recruits and supervises Dutch volunteers who assist resettled refugees with reception and integration in the Netherlands. The Dutch Refugee Council, which also provides the Dutch public with information about refugees, receives financial assistance from the central government. In addition, refugees from various countries have organised their own voluntary associations, which hold meetings, publish magazines and provide advice. These associations, some of which are subsidised by the central government, can intercede with the Dutch authorities on the refugees' behalf.
The New Zealand Settlement Strategy supports all government agencies to work together within a common framework. The Settlement National Action Plan sets out what will be done at a national level under each of the strategy's high level goals.
Under the Settlement National Action Plan, the Department of Labour is leading initiatives to enhance pre-arrival employment information for migrants, increase access to employment and strengthen the responsiveness of mainstream services. The Tertiary Education Commission is leading work on ESOL and work readiness tuition programmes. The Ministry of Education is leading work to support educational achievement, including implementing the Home School Partnership Scheme and providing extra funding to selected schools for career planning specifically with refugee students. Housing New Zealand is supporting increased regional housing services so that refugees are well informed about HNZC processes and providing education and training for NZHC staff.
The Ministry of Social Development is engaged with the Office of Ethnic Affairs in promoting effective capacity building with migrant and refugee communities. The Department of Labour supports community-led process that will both strengthen the effective engagement of refugee community groups with local settlement initiatives and enable them to provide a united voice on settlement matters at a regional and national level.
A number of government agencies have responsibilities for refugee resettlement, usually through mainstream channels, but also through special initiatives. For example, the Ministry of Education provides funding for schools to develop programmes to meet the needs of students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Refugee education co-ordinators are employed by the Ministry to work with refugee families, agencies and schools.
The Office of Ethnic Affairs supports refugees by providing a referral and information service for ethnic communities, and policy advice to government. The office also operates Language Line, a telephone interpreting service with 37 languages that is available for key government departments to use when communicating with speakers of other languages.
The Ministry of Social Development's "Settling In" programme works directly with refugee communities to develop and deliver social services identified by the communities themselves.
Health funding authorities support refugee-specific mental health counselling services for survivors of torture and trauma. Other examples are described in earlier sections.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
The settlement strategy calls for co-ordination nationally, regionally and locally, and involves a wide range of government agencies, non-government organisations and local councils. The Department of Labour, which is responsible for immigration, has a key leadership and co-ordinating role in implementing the strategy.
Under the strategy the Department of Labour received funding to establish a national structure, supported by a secretariat, to address the current lack of co-ordination and information sharing across and between central government, local government, and other stakeholders. This will involve setting up processes for regular meetings between central government agencies and groups and communities involved in settlement issues (Department of Labour 2006a).
Government agencies whose areas of responsibility are associated with refugee resettlement meet regularly to ensure information-sharing and co-ordination, and responsiveness of policies and service delivery.
The National Refugee Resettlement Forum (NRRF), formerly known as the Tripartite Consultations on Refugee Resettlement, is held twice yearly in key refugee resettlement areas. The NRRF enables international agencies including UNHCR, central government agencies, non-government organisations and refugee community representatives to discuss aspects of refugee resettlement in New Zealand, and plan for future refugee resettlement.
The "Strengthening Refugee Voices" initiative has been developed in response to the need for more sustainable engagement with settled refugees. This community-led process will help refugee communities in the main refugee resettlement areas provide cohesive input into government consultations and contribute to the development of improved policy and services across government that support refugee resettlement.
As part of the settlement strategy, the Settlement Support New Zealand initiative is being rolled out in 19 areas around the country in collaboration with local city councils and settlement support agencies. The initiative focuses on better co-ordinated delivery of settlement advice and information at a local level. After the support from RMS volunteers has ceased, refugees and their families can access the Settlement Support New Zealand local point of contact that refers them on to the relevant settlement support services. This initiative uses a community development approach, which will make a significant difference to local collaboration and cross-agency planning for effective settlement support. It will also strengthen local input into central policy and service delivery planning for settlement.
Local government sector
Local government has a key leadership role in helping migrants and refugees establish themselves in local communities. The Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy launched in 2006 (Auckland Sustainable Cities Programme 2006) evolved from the Auckland Mayoral Forum in July 2003. It was developed in partnership with central and local government, non-government organisations and other stakeholders, including migrants, refugees and Pacific peoples. The strategy complements the New Zealand Strategy, and
- focuses on host communities as well as migrant and refugee communities across the Auckland region
- takes a regional interagency approach to facilitate local, central and non-governmental agencies working in collaboration across the region
- builds on existing settlement initiatives in the region, and aims to enhance these through a collaborative approach
- acknowledges that long-term immigration is an essential component of Auckland's contribution to the economic transformation of New Zealand.
The Auckland Settlement Action Plan (Auckland Sustainable Cities Programme 2007) associated with the strategy, sets out what will be done in the Auckland region under each of the 10 goals identified when the strategy was developed. Those actions particularly relevant to refugees include:
- improved planning for new intake of quota refugees
- facilitating cross-sector planning for refugee resettlement
- exploring the possibility of developing an inter-agency information process
- exploring options for more flexibility in the orientation programme for exceptional cases.
The initiative will be structurally supported by a regional settlement network of local stakeholders and a settlement network support group, whose role is to provide leadership and guidance.
Government agencies and NGOs work in partnership with the voluntary sector to provide support and settlement assistance to refugees in New Zealand. As noted elsewhere, RMS is the lead non-government organisation that supports refugee resettlement. RMS participates in decisions about where refugees are resettled throughout New Zealand, and provides local volunteer support workers who are trained to support new refugees, both individuals and families, for their first year in the community. The role of volunteers is to provide practical advice, support and assistance to refugees. Volunteers introduce the refugee (or refugee family) to local services such as public transport, the shopping centre, doctor, dentist and schools. It is expected that volunteers will recognise when a refugee family may need more support than they are able to provide and refer the issue to RMS social workers for intervention and case management.
A number of voluntary groups are actively involved in refugee resettlement. These include refugee community groups, faith-based organisations and organisations such as the Refugee Council of NZ and the Auckland and Canterbury refugee councils.
The National Association of ESOL Home Tutor Schemes also delivers its services through trained volunteers. These home tutors invariably provide more than just English language support to refugees in their homes. The medium for language development is often around the practical challenges faced by refugees in their everyday lives. The association draws its tutors from a wide section of the community, many of whom are in full time employment.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has the overall responsibility for immigration and refugee policy in Norway. Other ministries are obliged to observe the rights of immigrants and refugees in their sectors of responsibility. Since January 2006 a new Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDI) has been responsible for placement and integration of refugees.
In a report to Parliament (MLGRD 2004) the government presents four areas of focus for integration:
- giving immigrant parents an independent responsibility for promoting their children's opportunities in Norwegian society
- equal educational opportunities
- ensuring admission to and equal opportunities in the labour market
- adaptation of public services for users' needs.
The government sees part of its role as: defending respect for individual differences; promoting equal rights for men and women; freedom of choice, including for young people who want to choose differently from their parents; seeking to influence attitudes and conduct that they consider inopportune or undesirable, and actively combating racism and discrimination.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs co-operates with departments inside the Ministry, particularly the Directorate of Integration and Diversity and the Social Policy Department. The Ministry also cooperates with the Ministries of Children, Health, Education, Justice and Foreign Affairs, and their underlying bodies, through ad hoc co-operation and working groups.
The municipalities have the same responsibility for those who are allowed to stay in the country as refugees or on humanitarian grounds as they have for the rest of the population. This relates to health, education, housing, vocational training and employment.
NGOs have a limited role in resettling refugees in Norway. They participate in receiving refugees upon arrival and provide some general information targeting the refugee population. In addition, the Red Cross can provide a "guide" or resource person or personal contact for the refugee. The government has in the past made some efforts to engage Norwegian NGOs in the field of resettlement, but so far the main NGO involvement is connected to the arrival and rights of asylum.
In 1998, the Swedish Immigration Board divided into two bodies - the Migration Board and the Integration Board. The Integration Board is responsible for all national reception and integration matters together with implementing local action. It reaches agreements with municipalities on the reception and resettlement of refugees and funds those services.
The Migration Board's role is to ensure the migration chain functions efficiently. It makes decisions about work permits, residence permits, asylum and citizenship. It also administers European Refugee Fund project funding, which can be used to support integration efforts.
Under the integration policy, the Swedish Administrative Development Agency has been given the task of leading and co-ordinating a diversity and anti-discrimination project. The aim is to help government agencies increase ethnic diversity in central administration.
The Office of the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination is responsible for initiating anti-discrimination measures. This involves meeting with government agencies, companies and organisations, influencing public opinion and conducting information campaigns.
A range of government agencies has also been tasked with investigating or addressing violence in the name of honour for girls, women and young people, including homosexual, bisexual and transgender people.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
The Department for Migration and Asylum Policy has regular dialogue with its agencies, the Swedish Migration Board and the Aliens Appeals Board, where views and information are exchanged. These agencies are, however, totally independent of the government when it comes to decision making.
Local governments decide on a voluntary basis if they want to accept refugees for settlement. NGOs are not frequently involved. Local governments deliver services on behalf of central government.
Many organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors play crucial roles in refugee integration in the UK. The National Strategy for Refugee Integration (2005) focuses on
- refugees achieving their full potential
- contributing to the community
- having access to services.
The challenges in achieving these goals are identified as
- provision of information and knowledge of where to get it from
- stability of service provision
- collecting accurate data
- keeping in contact with refugees.
The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) is a new executive agency of the Home Office. The agency assumes the responsibilities of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) for managing immigration control in the UK. Government departments responsible for social benefits, employment, health, housing and education are all fully involved.
The government also administers the main funding programmes that support refugee integration, and ensures that refugee issues are fully considered in other government initiatives, such as those that aim to promote employment, community cohesion and neighbourhood renewal.
The National Strategy also identifies a role for the government in providing fair and accurate information about refugees and in creating better public awareness and community relations. The government also has a role in strengthening the capacity of refugee community organisations.
Scotland has its own Integration Strategy and Scottish Refugee Integration Forum.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
The Home Office is the lead government department and is responsible for overall management of the Gateway Programme. When designing, implementing and reviewing policy, the IND (now the BIA) works closely with a number of other government departments and agencies, including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Education and Skills, UK Visa and Work Permits UK.
The National Refugee Integration Forum (NRIF), chaired by the Minister of State for Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality, brings together representatives of central and local government across the UK, and the voluntary sector, to discuss the direction of policy.
Regional planning is taken forward by the 11 Consortia for Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support. These are multi-agency networks made up of local authorities, government offices, the police, health bodies, voluntary organisations and the private sector. Some consortia have developed strategies. The National Strategy notes that the NRIF will take on a co-ordinating role for local strategies where appropriate, ensuring that the best aspects of each strategy are disseminated to other regions.
Local authorities, including local education authorities, social services, learning and skills councils and Jobcentre Plus, all have a role in delivering services, advice and support to refugees.
Many of the national voluntary sector organisations working in this field are core funded by the Home Office. They provide advice, advocacy and support services and public education.
Refugee community organisations and other community-based support groups, often relying entirely on volunteer effort, work to build the confidence of their own community and foster links with the wider community.
The Resettlement Inter-Agency Partnership (RIAP) comprises the British Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, Migrant Helpline, Refugee Action, the Refugee Arrivals Project, the Refugee Housing Association, the Scottish Refugee Council and the Refugee Council. These eight non-governmental organisations came together at the planning stage of the Gateway Protection Programme to form a partnership for the delivery of services on the programme.
The private sector contributes to refugee integration through adherence to good practice, particularly in the employment and housing sectors. The National Strategy also identifies a role for the media in providing promoting positive relationships between refugees and their communities.
Three federal agencies play key roles in the US resettlement programme.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has the statutory authority to determine which applicants meet the requirements for refugee status and are admissible to the United States under US law.
The Department of State (DOS) co-ordinates resettlement policy and manages overseas processing, cultural orientation, transportation to the US. It also provides funds to private non-profit NGOs for initial reception and placement activities for newly arrived refugees.
DOS manages reception and placement through funding agreements with 10 such agencies. The reception and placement programme is intended to welcome arriving refugees and provide the immediate essential services they need during their first 30 days in the US. It provides a link to longer term services funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
DHHS is responsible for the domestic programme of refugee resettlement services, which includes cash and medical assistance to arriving refugees and a broad range of social services for refugees in the US for up to five years. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS provides funding for refugee services programmes through state governments as well as through NGOs.
Some state and local governments have offices dedicated to refugee and immigrant services. Many of the services they offer are funded through ORR.
Co-ordination of settlement support and consultation
A recent paper (Newland, Tanaka and Barker 2007) argues that the ORR should assume a leadership role in organising efforts among federal departments and their agencies to collaborate on integration initiatives. It goes on to suggest that ORR should continue its internal review of integration practices and its work with the Integration Working Group, and offer consortia for leaders from government, ethnic community-based organisations, voluntary resettlement agencies, foundations and corporations to discuss priorities in immigrant integration.
The voluntary sector
The US resettlement programme is designed to function as a public-private partnership, with NGOs playing a key role. NGOs participate in every step of the process, working in partnership with federal and state agencies, as well as with each other, to provide effective and co-ordinated services to refugees.
Some of the NGOs seek church groups and volunteers from local communities to provide a variety of services and to contribute clothing and household furnishings to meet the needs of arriving refugees. In addition they often become mentors and friends of refugees, providing (among other things), orientation to community services and supportive services such as tutoring children after school, and teaching families how to shop. Volunteers may be citizens or refugees and immigrants who arrived earlier.
Other private non-profit agencies in the partnership are refugee organisations, known as mutual assistance associations (MAAs), many of which have national networks in place. These organisations are an important source of emotional support to refugees as well as provide services. They enable refugees to connect with their ethnic culture through holiday and religious celebrations, and to meet their countrymen now living in the US.
Pre and on-arrival planning
This section covers pre-arrival planning, orientation programmes, policy on geographical dispersal and residence and citizenship status.
The Australian Government organises and pays for the passage to Australia of holders of refugee visas. SHP visa holders, or their proposers, are expected to fund their travel to Australia. To facilitate the travel of SHP visa holders, the government provided a $2.5m grant in May 2005 to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to enhance its existing no-interest travel loan scheme. Under the grant contract, IOM has modified its lending conditions so that a significantly greater number of visa holders can be assisted than were travelling under IOM's existing scheme.
The Australian Government meets the cost of health assessment of applicants for refugee and SHP category visas. Pre-departure medical screening has been introduced just before scheduled travel to ensure the applicants are fit to fly, and to identify any further medical issues that will require treatment in Australia.
The Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) programme for refugee and SHP entrants is delivered outside the country. It represents the beginning of the settlement process and aims to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance their settlement prospects and create realistic expectations for life in Australia. The programme is voluntary and available to all refugee and special humanitarian entrants over five years' of age. There are four courses offered - adult, children, pre-literate and a youth programme that is being trialled in Africa.
Courses are delivered over five days to ensure topics are covered in sufficient detail. Topics include an overview of Australia, including its government, geography and climate; cultural adjustment; travel to Australia; settling in; health care; education; finding a job; housing; transport; Australian law; and money management. IOM delivers the courses on behalf of DIAC. The core goals of the programme are to provide
- accurate information on departure arrangements from the country of temporary stay
- information on the settlement process
- a realistic picture of life in Australia
- practical information about the services available and how to access them
- encouragement of self sufficiency
- the necessary tools to deal with initial settlement concerns and with the different stages of cultural, social and economic adaptation.
The Australian Government has also produced an information kit for approved humanitarian applicants. It is in English, detailed and in relatively small print.
On arrival in Australia, humanitarian entrants have access to on-arrival reception and assistance under the IHSS. This assistance helps link entrants to the local services they need in the initial stages of settlement.
Geographical dispersal approaches
The settlement location of humanitarian entrants is determined by a number of factors, particularly whether or not the entrant has family or friends (known as "links") already living in Australia. The Australian Government is seeking to increase regional settlement of humanitarian programme entrants by identifying new regional towns that may have the capacity to settle such entrants successfully. Local government support for this initiative is critical as locations are only identified following extensive consultation with local communities and clear indications of support from the local government.
All SHP entrants are proposed by a person in Australia. These entrants generally settle near their proposers, who provide valuable settlement and social support. Many refugee entrants also have links already residing in Australia. The department endeavours to identify the location of these links before refugees travel to Australia so that they can be settled near by.
About 4,000 entrants each year do not have any links. For these entrants, the department considers a range of factors when deciding on a suitable settlement location. These factors include the specific needs of the entrant, such as health requirements, the capacity of the receiving location to address those needs and the community's ability to provide a welcoming and supportive environment.
Successful applicants are granted a visa for entry to and permanent residence in Australia (except for holders of temporary visas 451 and 447). Long-term temporary visa applicants are required to sign a statement that acknowledges they will respect the Australian way of life and abide by Australian laws before a visa will be granted.
After two years of residence in Australia, people with permanent residence visas can apply for Australian citizenship. Australia is introducing a citizenship test that will require applicants to have an understanding of the values, traditions, institutions and history of Australia.
In Canada refugees are responsible for paying their own travel. This is usually through an immigrant loan to cover the cost of transport to Canada, immigration medical examinations and, where necessary, transport to the interview with the visa officer. A refugee must demonstrate the need for and the potential to repay the loan. Refugees are required to begin repaying the loan (in monthly instalments) shortly after arriving in Canada. Under certain circumstances loan repayment may be deferred for up to two years. Special needs refugees may be granted financial assistance in the form of a contribution which does not have to be repaid.
The Joint Assistance Sponsorship Programme is intended for refugees with special needs, meaning that the person has greater need of settlement assistance than other resettled refugees. Those selected for joint assistance include refugees whose personal circumstances may include a large number of family members, trauma from violence or torture, medical disabilities or the effects of systemic discrimination. There is some flexibility in eligibility and admissibility criteria because of the extra support available.
The Canadian Orientation Abroad initiative aims to provide a realistic view of life in Canada before arrival.
Upon arrival, refugees in transit are assisted with inland transport. Arrangements are also made for overnight accommodation and meals if required. Arrangements are normally made for refugees who need additional reception assistance to be greeted at their final destination. Refugees who arrive in Canada between mid October and mid April are given any necessary winter clothing. Orientation materials are provided to immigrant-serving agencies across Canada.
Temporary accommodation is provided to government-assisted refugees until permanent housing is secured. In some cases, this accommodation is purchased commercially from hotels and motels. In other cases, accommodation is purchased from organisations that provide reception house services. These reception houses offer a more holistic and communal environment than hotels and motels, and help alleviate the feelings of abandonment and isolation felt by many refugees on their arrival in Canada.
Assistance for the basic needs of life (food, clothing, shelter) is available for up to 12 months after arrival or until the refugee becomes self supporting, whichever comes first. Essential household furnishings and sundries are also provided.
Refugees are helped with applications for medical insurance, social insurance numbers and family allowance, and with transfer and translation of employment records. They are also referred to language training and other services provided through the settlement programmes.
Geographical dispersal approaches
In Canada resettled refugees are assigned to 23 cities and nine provinces across the country. Provincial governments are responsible for health care and social services. Some health conditions may require frequent or costly medical treatment. As part of the annual target-setting exercise, these types of cases are discussed during the consultations with the provinces to ensure adequate care is available. Depending on the circumstances of the case, refugees with medical conditions may be destined to particular areas where the required medical services are available. Quebec has a separate agreement with the federal government, which gives it responsibility for choosing the refugees to be resettled there.
During selection and "destining" interviews, visa officers ideally ask if refugees have family or friends in Canada, in order to send them where they will have the support of someone they know during settlement. Most of these people stay in that community for the one-year duration of the Resettlement Assistance Programme (RAP). Sometimes the need to fill predetermined refugee targets for various provincial communities takes precedence over satisfying refugees' needs for social support (Simich 2003).
Except for those who are issued a temporary resident permit, all refugees processed overseas are granted permanent residence status on arrival in Canada. Those who arrive with temporary resident permits may apply for permanent residence once medical and background checks are passed, or after a period of five years. Refugees who are permanent residents of Canada may seek employment immediately after arrival in Canada and are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of continuous residence in Canada.
The Danish Government covers all expenses connected with travel to Denmark, including possible medical escorts. Pre-departure expenses are normally not covered. The Danish Immigration Service (DIS) prepares the travel arrangements in close cooperation with IOM. Upon arrival in Denmark, the DIS and the receiving local municipality meet the resettled persons at the airport.
People who are under consideration for a residence permit must participate in a health examination. IOM performs the medical examinations on behalf of the Danish authorities.
Before a quota refugee chooses to accept an offer of resettlement in Denmark, the refugee receives written material describing their rights and obligations in Denmark. The goal is to ensure that refugees have realistic expectations about life in Denmark.
After each selection mission, the DIS and the Ministry for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs conduct a pre-departure orientation programme. Members of the receiving local municipalities can participate in the course. The programme consists of lessons in elementary Danish and cultural orientation.
Local municipalities provide a three-year integration programme in the country on behalf of the government and financed by government funds. The programme must be at least 20 hours a week and include a course in understanding Danish society as well as language lessons. For those foreign citizens (including refugees) who do not have a job and who are not self supporting the introduction programme also provides vocational training.
Geographical dispersal approaches
The DIS decides where each foreign citizen must live. Placement of refugees is made according to a quota system which ensures an equal dispersion of refugees throughout the country. DIS decides the destination on the basis of the quota and the personal circumstances of the person in question, as well as the situation of the municipality. The municipality then provides a place to live. Every effort is made to find a permanent dwelling for foreign citizens within three months of arrival. Moving to another city and another municipality is only possible if the municipality accepts the responsibility of the introduction programme. Moving without acceptance may result in the contribution being reduced or ended and the residence permit not being made permanent.
Convention refugees are issued with a one-year residence permit, renewable twice. Arefugee living in Denmark can normally apply for a permanent residence permit after holding a temporary permit for seven years, completing an integration programme and passing a Danish language test.
Foreign citizens accepted for resettlement in Denmark are granted a work permit. They have access to the labour market in Denmark immediately upon their arrival in the country.
Persons with a confirmed refugee status, and stateless persons, may acquire citizenship after eight years of uninterrupted stay.
The Finnish Government covers travel costs to Finland. IOM makes the travel arrangements to the refugees' final destination. The Finnish Red Cross meets refugees at the receiving airport and organises reception in collaboration with the receiving municipality.
Travel arrangements are made to fit the timetable in which municipalities are prepared to receive the refugees.
Finland offers a three-day cultural orientation course for Finland-bound refugees before their departure. All accepted refugees above the age of 15 attend the courses, which include basic information about Finland, reception procedures in municipalities, rights and duties of refugees and practical exercises in using public services, shopping etc.
Geographical dispersal approaches
Refugees are resettled directly in local municipalities, with selection being made both on the basis of the municipalities' willingness to receive them and on an assessment of the kind of municipality that might provide the best conditions for the integration of a refugee or groups of refugees. This includes opportunities for work or study and the possibility of support from a community of similar ethnic background. The municipality has to have sufficient resources to work with refugees.
Refugees are granted a residence permit on arrival. People accepted under the refugee quota may be issued a permanent residence permit after four years from arrival in Finland. Citizenship may be granted on application after four years' residency in the country.
The Office of the Minister for Integration liaises directly with the UNHCR to initiate selection missions and subsequent travel arrangements for the accepted refugees.
Approximately nine months before the arrival of a new group under the resettlement programme, the resettlement team from the Office of the Minister for Integration begin the process of preparing the receiving communities. The resettlement location will have been identified up to 12 to 18 months previously.
In the past Ireland has not presented a detailed pre-departure orientation programme but relied on a short overview of resettlement presented at the time of the selection mission. The interview process includes information on elements of the resettlement process, and is used to present information on rights and responsibilities following resettlement. In certain exceptional circumstances, the Irish Government has offered a pre-departure orientation programme specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular group, eg the Burmese refugees accepted from Bang Don Yang Camp in Thailand in 2007 were considered to be a particularly vulnerable group.
Over the past eight months pre-departure orientation arrangements have been reviewed under a trans-national (MOST) project funded under the Community Actions Strand of the European Refugee Fund. (Other project partners are Spain and Sweden with Finland as the lead partner). This project has examined current practice in Ireland and other EU member states, and is in the process of developing a model for pre-departure and post-arrival orientation training. The model was field tested during a recent selection mission to Uganda.
In 2005 Ireland introduced a new reception programme. Under this programme refugees admitted for resettlement are placed initially in an orientation centre for six to eight weeks. Each family is placed in independent living accommodation in the centre. The objective of the orientation centre is to provide the new arrivals with the opportunity to adjust to life in Ireland, familiarise themselves with Irish food, equipment, shopping and money management, and to receive information on Irish society and culture. It provides for a period of adjustment before they move to independent living in the community.
During the orientation centre residency special pre-entry to school programmes are put in place for the children aged six to 12 years and 13 to 17 years. The children are given a gentle introduction to school life in Ireland and are provided with some language tuition. Initial indications are that the programme eases the transition to school life. Organisers take the opportunity to arrange school visits during this period.
A special orientation programme is also in place for adults over 17 years of age. The programme provides basic information about life in Ireland, their rights and responsibilities, cultural differences, real and unreal expectations, personal development and confidence building. The programme includes information on how to access services, information about diet and nutrition in the Irish context, how to support your child in school, money management, law and order, a "children first" programme and information on using financial institutions. The programme includes linked language training.
In 2007 a voluntary programme was put in place to train refugees on how to cook food available in Irish shops using equipment normally found in the Irish home, ie gas or electric cookers, microwaves, with which refugees from remote camps are not generally familiar. Interpreters are provided during this period.
Geographical dispersal approaches
Refugees are generally resettled outside the capital, except for dossier-based vulnerable cases. When selecting a resettlement location, care is taken to ensure that services are available to meet the needs of the group to be admitted while at the same time ensuring that a balance is maintained in relation to demand for services and the ethnic/Irish mix. In general no more that 15 families are resettled in bigger towns (population around 10,000) and, to avoid isolation no fewer than five families are resettled in any one location. Refugees may move from these locations but there is no guarantee that resettlement services will be provided in their new location.
Refugees admitted under the resettlement quota are described as "programme" refugees. They are granted permanent residence status on arrival. They can apply for naturalisation and citizenship after three years' residence. Convention refugees are entitled to apply for citizenship through naturalisation once they have been granted refugee status, as long as they have lived in Ireland for three years.
Travel expenses, the costs of visas and, where necessary, laissez passers, are covered by the Netherlands Government.
The delegation's medical doctor checks every person interviewed during the mission. The results of the examination do not influence the selection decision; the examination is for the benefit of the refugee only, in order to receive adequate care upon arrival in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands does not offer an offshore orientation programme.
After arriving in the Netherlands refugees are taken to the central reception centre of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in Amersfoort. Refugees are responsible for their own housekeeping, such as cooking and washing. They receive a weekly allowance to cover personal expenses. They receive all the urgent medical treatment they require. They register for health insurance and are entitled to the same medical facilities and treatment as Dutch citizens. They also have access to recreational and educational facilities, and access to primary and secondary education for minors (usually local schools in the vicinity of reception centres).
Refugees remain in the reception facility for three to six months, sometimes longer. Moving to a house of their own is subject to the availability of (social) housing in one of the Netherlands' 500 municipalities.
During their stay in the reception centre the COA offers the refugees a short introduction programme that includes Dutch lessons, information and a course about participating in Dutch society. The COA staff also offer all refugees tailor-made case management in order to promote integration in the Netherlands.
Refugees register with the police to receive photo card identity, and with the municipality to receive a civil service number in order to get access to municipality housing, social security and labour.
Geographical dispersal approaches
All municipalities in the Netherlands are obliged by law to accommodate a certain number of Convention refugees and persons holding humanitarian status. Distribution is based solely on the number of inhabitants already living in each municipality. There are no legal restrictions on freedom of movement within the country, but the choice for domicile is not up to the asylum seeker: social housing will be offered only in one municipality.
Several weeks after arrival the refugees receive a temporary residence permit for asylum, valid for five years. After five years they can apply for a permanent residence permit, which is granted provided the circumstances in the country of origin and the refugee's personal situation have not changed. Under a new Integration Act, which came into force in January 2007, the right to a permanent resident permit is conditional on passing an integration exam, which tests language skills and knowledge of Dutch society.
Those who arrive under family reunification criteria are granted derived asylum status if they possess the same nationality as the head of the family.
The Government of New Zealand pays for the travel of refugees accepted under the Refugee Quota Programme. This includes travel from the country of refuge to New Zealand and to centres within New Zealand where the refugees will settle following their initial on-arrival orientation in Auckland.
RMS Refugee Resettlement (RMS) prepares regional settlement plans for each intake of quota refugees. The plan takes into consideration the availability of trained volunteer support workers, potential work opportunities and availability of housing. The plan also considers the receptiveness of the host community, access and links to existing refugee communities and any special needs. Key stakeholders such as Refugee Health co-ordinators, Ministry of Education, ESOL services and the Refugees as Survivors Trust (RAS) are informed about the refugee quota composition so that they can begin planning.
New Zealand undertakes health screening offshore for TB and HIV/AIDS. Those found to be TB positive are not necessarily declined for resettlement, but their travel is temporarily delayed while they receive treatment to ensure they are fit to travel.
New Zealand does not offer an offshore orientation programme.
Refugees who arrive in New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme spend their first six weeks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, based in Auckland.
Refugees who are granted refugee status after arriving as asylum seekers (called Convention refugees in New Zealand) get limited orientation and do not go through the reception centre. This is also the case for migrants coming through family reunification policies who are sponsored by refugees and may be refugee-like themselves.
The centre can accommodate approximately 145 quota programme refugees at any time. Facilities include accommodation blocks, an early childhood learning centre, classrooms, medical and dental clinics, a mental health clinic and general living and recreation areas. Here the Refugee Quota Branch works in partnership with government and non-governmental agencies to implement a variety of programmes to assist the refugees during their initial phase of settlement.
The orientation programme is conducted in the refugee's own language and provides general information about life in New Zealand, including the relevant institutions and services integral to their successful settlement into New Zealand society. It also aims to build basic social and coping skills required for their new life in New Zealand.
The Auckland University of Technology co-ordinates the English language and socio-cultural components of the orientation programme. It provides adult education, early childhood learning and care, special education support, and primary and secondary classes, which prepare students for the New Zealand education system.
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service of the Ministry of Health provides comprehensive medical and dental checkups. The Refugees as Survivors Centre has a multidisciplinary team that provides a trauma counselling service as well as therapeutic activities for adults and children. These services are available after refugees leave the reception centre.
RMS, a non-government organisation primarily funded by the Department of Labour, provides social services (including bilingual/cross-cultural workers) and co-ordinates the training of volunteer support workers to assist resettled refugees with ongoing settlement needs and accessing mainstream services to achieve good settlement outcomes. At the reception centre, RMS provides all refugees with a "Welcome Pack" of information and undertakes a needs assessment of each refugee or refugee family to identify: previous education; past employment experience; housing needs and family groupings; physical and mental health needs; social needs and any special consideration. RMS also arranges for all adult refugees to have a bank account and IRD number and to be enrolled with Work and Income.
Work and Income provides each refugee family with a resettlement grant of up to $1,200 and income support in the form of a benefit paid direct to their bank account.
Housing New Zealand has a team of people who help refugees from the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre into homes.
An early intervention protocol has been developed at the centre to help identify refugees who are in special need of assistance on arrival in New Zealand. This programme links key agencies to identify and assist "at-risk" individuals (eg severely traumatised refugees).
RMS Refugee Resettlement participates in decisions about where refugees are resettled in New Zealand on the basis of a yearly settlement location plan. The yearly plan is prepared in consultation with social service agencies and government departments. RMS prepares a preliminary settlement location plan, which is finalised as a national settlement location plan by the end of the third week of an intake's residence at the Mangere reception centre. The plan must take into account the availability of trained volunteer support workers, potential work opportunities, housing, mental and other health services, ESOL tuition and links to existing refugee communities, as well as any special needs.
Persons accepted for resettlement to New Zealand under the refugee quota programme are granted a permanent residence permit on arrival. As New Zealand permanent residents they are entitled to live in New Zealand permanently and enjoy similar rights to New Zealand citizens in terms of access to education, health care, employment and social welfare. After a qualifying period of five years' residence, resettled refugees are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Asylum seekers who have been recognised as refugees in New Zealand are eligible to apply for New Zealand permanent residence.
IOM arranges travel for refugees accepted for resettlement in Norway under the quota as well as for persons accepted for family reunification with refugees in Norway. Norway pays for travel and other assistance.
The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) in cooperation with IOM, has implemented a four-day cultural orientation programme for Norway-bound refugees. Information about Norway and the Norwegian way of life is given to refugees before they depart. The programme aims to promote the smooth integration of the refugees into Norwegian society by preparing them for the initial period after arrival, and by addressing unrealistic expectations and limiting culture shock. The cultural orientation programme also provides the receiving Norwegian municipalities with relevant and current information about the refugees before they arrive in the country. When interpreters are needed, the programme is extended to five or six days, depending on the size of the group. IOM also organises a two-day/10-hour cultural orientation programme for children aged eight to 14. It is believed that participants benefit from
- learning the basic settlement facts of life in Norway
- the opportunity to form realistic expectations of life in Norway, including the difficulties related to learning Norwegian, finding jobs and moving
- acquiring knowledge of the services available to them upon arrival, including the introductory programme
- acquiring the skills of cultural awareness, information processing, problem solving and social interaction
- exploring characteristics that will ease the integration into the Norwegian society - self-esteem, initiative, self-reliance, tolerance
- receiving a training handbook in a language they can understand.
Once refugees reach Norway, they are received by representatives of the municipality in which they are to be settled. They do not first stay in reception centres. By then the municipality will have organised housing. The aim is for all resettlement refugees to be settled in a municipality no later than six months after the granting of an entry permit.
Geographical dispersal approaches
Norway aims to "match" refugees with appropriate resettlement communities. Most refugees are settled in municipalities with people of the same nationality and/or ethnicity. In general resettled refugees are not actively involved in deciding their placement, yet refugees who are interviewed by Norwegian authorities get the opportunity to express placement preferences. For integration-related reasons, Norway tries to build up ethnic/national groups of a certain size to enhance sustainability of the group locally and prevent too much secondary movement, which creates concentrations of refugees in bigger cities.
Once a resettlement refugee has been granted a permit by the UDI centrally, the case is sent to a local office of the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi). They contact the relevant municipalities with a request to settle the refugee. When a municipality has consented to settle the refugee, the UDI contacts the IOM, which arranges travel to Norway. Resettled refugees are expected to stay in their receiving municipality and may attend a full time introductory programme for two years.
Decisions on the refugee status of individuals accepted on the basis of a dossier are taken after the refugees are resettled. For those accepted through selection missions, refugee status is normally granted before they arrive in Norway.
People granted refugee status are issued with an entry visa and a residence or work permit before they enter the country. This applies to refugees accepted via dossier selection as well as in-country selection. On arrival they receive a residence permit valid for one year and renewable annually. After three years of legal residence in Norway, the refugee may apply for a permanent residence permit. This will allow him or her to reside outside Norway for a period of maximum of two years without losing the permit. In order to obtain citizenship, the refugee must have stayed seven years in Norway with a residence or work permit. Other requirements apply if the refugee is married to a Norwegian citizen.
The Swedish Government pays for travel for Convention refugees. Under certain circumstances, the government will also pay the costs of travel for relatives of refugees who have been granted a residence permit. Before the Migration Board organises travel to Sweden, accommodation must be available in a municipality.
Sweden does not require UNHCR to perform a medical examination of the refugees or next-of-kin who have been granted permits entitling them to settle in Sweden.
The Swedish Integration Board is responsible for a pre-departure cultural orientation programme offered to refugees bound for Sweden. It provides information about services and political systems in Sweden. Its aim is that "those who have been given a permit to come to Sweden obtain information and instruction about Sweden in order to be better prepared for how the new country works" (The Swedish Migration Board).
Geographical dispersal approaches
Quota refugees are normally resettled directly in one of the municipalities. Unless otherwise requested, the Swedish Integration Board always attempts to locate a place in a municipality close to other relatives already settled in Sweden. Refugees are otherwise free to settle anywhere in Sweden, although if they need help finding permanent accommodation they must accept a home in the municipality allocated to them.
As Convention refugees, persons in need of protection are normally granted a permanent residence permit. When refugees arrive in Sweden they are entitled to apply for a travel document and for official recognition of their refugee status. Convention refugees who have lived in Sweden for four years are eligible for Swedish nationality under certain conditions. These include an age requirement, a record of good conduct and relinquishment of previous citizenship. Some nationals can, if their national legislation allows it, keep their old citizenship alongside a Swedish one.
Under the Gateway Programme, the UK Home Office pays travel for refugees. With the Mandate Refugee Programme travel arrangements to the UK are made by the UK. In exceptional circumstances, where there are no other financial means available, travel arrangements are made through UNHCR.
No later than six weeks before their arrival, the Home Office informs the Resettlement Inter-Agency Partnership (RIAP) of the composition of a caseload accepted for resettlement to the UK, pending further health checks and the allocation of accommodation.
The UK conducts medical screening of all Gateway resettlement cases and their dependants. Certain medical conditions are given special consideration, and a decision is made on a case-by-case basis after reference to ministers. If accepted, preparations for medical treatment are made in conjunction with local authorities and non-governmental organisations within the UK responsible for resettlement integration.
Gateway programme refugees have access to a four-day cultural orientation programme before they come to the UK. Additional individual or group sessions are provided where there is a clear need. Sessions are designed to manage expectations and give refugees a clear understanding of the resettlement process. They include familiarisation with the UK, finance and budgeting, housing, employment, healthcare, education, rights and responsibilities and cultural adjustment. Sessions are discussion-based and client-led, with workshops and role plays. On the final day an evaluation session is held and certificates presented. This is followed by sessions with the principal applicant or households, if necessary, to answer specific concerns or meet specific needs.
Prior to arrival in the UK, refugees may also be given English language training, subject to time and budgetary constraints, and the needs of a particular caseload.
Geographical dispersal approaches
There are no restrictions on freedom of movement or residence with respect to Convention refugees or people with extended leave to remain (ELR). However, people who are housed by their local authority (or wish to apply for local authority housing) may find it hard to move to another part of the UK. For example, an asylum seeker who was housed by a local authority or NASS in Liverpool might want to move to London after receiving refugee status. It is not yet clear how such cases will be resolved.
Under the Mandate Refugee Programme, applicants qualify for refugee status on their arrival and are granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Following the arrival of the applicants, the British Red Cross makes requests to the Home Office for them to receive letters confirming their status. Applicants accepted under the Ten or More Programme qualify for refugee status on their arrival in the UK.
Under the Gateway Programme all accepted resettlement cases are granted indefinite leave to enter (ILE) on arrival in the UK. In addition, those applicants who meet the criteria of the 1951 Convention qualify for refugee status on their arrival in the UK. This entitles the refugees to permanent residency in the UK and grants them the right to work, and therefore to the same benefits as all settled residents, as is the case for any refugee in the UK. Refugees are eligible for jobseekers' allowance, income support, working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefits, council tax benefit and most other forms of benefit. As refugees, those on the resettlement programme are also immediately eligible for all the provisions of the New Deal. Similarly, refugees have the same rights to education, healthcare and social services as settled residents. Acceptance onto the Gateway Protection Programme does not fast-track a person to citizenship. If resettled refugees wish to become British citizens, they must have five years' continuous residency in the UK (three years if married to a British citizen).
The children of Convention refugees may apply for British citizenship from the moment that their refugee parent has been granted indefinite leave to remain.
Refugees generally receive interest-free loans for the cost of their transport through IOM. A refugee is expected to begin incremental repayment of this loan six months after arrival in the US, and the total amount is expected to be repaid within three-and-a-half years.
Medical screening is mandatory for all refugees. Medical exams are performed by US embassy-contracted physicians or by IOM. The costs for medical examinations are borne by the US Government. Costs for medical treatment necessary to make an already approved refugee ready for travel are usually paid by the US Government.
The US Department of State has been funding cultural orientation for refugees to be resettled to the US since 1980. Cultural orientation is currently an integral part of pre-departure processing, and is offered whenever possible. Attendance by refugees is not mandatory. Ten essential topics are covered in the majority of overseas cultural orientation programmes:
- role of the resettlement agency
- rights and responsibilities of refugees
- employment priority
- public assistance benefits
- cultural adjustment
- health care
Geographical dispersal approaches
Much of the US resettlement programme involves re-uniting families, so many refugees join other family members who are already in the US. There is, however, a significant portion of refugees who have no friends or relatives in the US. These cases are targeted by the NGOs for placement into communities where low-cost housing is available, where opportunities for employment make early employment an attainable goal and where local communities are open to the resettlement of new groups of refugees. Special care is taken to avoid "impacting" a particular community with more refugees than the infrastructure of education and public health can manage. ORR makes grants to voluntary agencies to increase the number of placements of newly arriving refugees in "Preferred Communities," places with "a history of low welfare utilisation and a favourable earned income potential relative to the cost of living" (ORR Report to Congress, 2003:33).
At the US port of entry, DHS admits a refugee to the US and authorises employment. After one year, a refugee is eligible for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident. Five years after admission, a refugee is eligible to apply for US citizenship.
Approaches to service provision
This section describes approaches to service provision within each country. It covers issues such as mandatory or voluntary programmes, case management, mainstream or targeted services and length of eligibility for services.
IHSS provides comprehensive, nationwide, on-arrival assistance to humanitarian entrants via contracts with various service providers, including community-based and some commercial organisations. These contracts are drawn as a result of a competitive tender process. The contracts include detailed descriptions of each of the service types and of the standards to which services are to be delivered. The contracts also include a number of performance and accountability checks.
A submission from the NSW Government (2006) notes that the current arrangements for tendering services provided under the IHSS have resulted in a wide range of service providers, sometimes in consortia and sometimes in individual agencies. This can result in some confusion for government and community agencies who provide most of the direct services and for the clients themselves.
SHP sponsors are required to provide financial assistance for entrants' airfares, on-arrival information and orientation assistance, and temporary accommodation. There has been some concern about
- new arrivals entering into high levels of debt to meet those settlement costs
- the capacity of many proposers under the SHP to provide adequate assistance to new humanitarian arrivals
- the shifting of responsibility for service provision from the Commonwealth to community service organisations and state/territory and local government services when proposers fail to meet new entrants' settlement needs (NSW Government 2006).
Humanitarian entrants can access the following services under the IHSS.
- Case co-ordination, information and referrals - this includes a case co-ordination plan based on an initial needs assessment, information about and referral to other service providers and mainstream agencies, and help for proposers to fulfil their role of assisting SHP entrants.
- On-arrival reception and assistance - this includes meeting eligible entrants on arrival, taking them to accommodation, providing initial orientation and meeting any emergency needs for medical attention or clothing and footwear.
- Accommodation services - these services help entrants to find appropriate and affordable long-term accommodation and provide basic household goods to establish their own home in Australia.
- Short-term torture and trauma counselling services - these services provide entrants with an assessment of their needs, a case plan, referral for torture and trauma counselling, and raise awareness among other health care providers of health issues arising from torture and trauma counselling.
As well as these services, the Community Support for Refugees (CSR) service allows registered volunteer groups to provide friendship and social support to humanitarian entrants and to welcome them into their local community. CSR volunteers often assist contracted IHSS service providers.
In addition to IHSS services, resettled humanitarian entrants may access mainstream settlement services including the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), the Translating and Interpreting Service, Migrant Resource centres, Migrant Service agencies and organisations under the Community Settlement Services Scheme. In addition to providing over 500 hours of English tuition, AMEP provides education about Australian life, culture and customs, including links to other services that are important to successful settlement.
Some States have also established programmes. In late 2005 Victoria introduced the Workforce Participation Partnerships programme, which provides paid work experience for unemployed job seekers ineligible for regular labour market services. Refugees and recently arrived migrants are a key target of this programme.
A recent OECD report (Liebig 2007) found that sponsored humanitarian immigrants seemed to do less well in the labour market than refugees. One possible explanation for this is that they do not have access to all initial settlement services like formal refugees. Recent changes to give SHP refugees greater access to IHSS services may improve this situation.
Length of time support is available
The IHSS settlement support is generally provided for around six months, but this may be extended for clients facing additional challenges. The IHSS aims to help humanitarian entrants achieve self sufficiency as soon as possible by offering them specialised help on a needs basis. Through a case management approach, the needs of humanitarian entrants are identified and a case plan developed for the delivery of support. The IHSS focuses on equipping entrants to gain access to mainstream services.
The Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) provides support to holders of refugee and SHP visas. It also provides some support to permanent protection visa holders, whose need for intensive settlement is generally less than that of resettled refugees and SHP entrants because they have been living within the Australian community for some time.
In Canada, services are provided through a mix of central government, provincial and community systems. Health and language support services are provided provincially with both central government and provincial governments contributing funding. The Canadian volunteer programme is focused at the provincial level. Community agencies provide training and support for the private sponsorship programme for refugees.
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) funds eligible individuals, non-profit organisations, agencies serving immigrants, community groups, businesses, provincial and municipal governments, and educational institutions to provide essential services. Many service provider organisations (SPOs) have individuals on staff from the refugees' country of origin who are able to speak the refugees' language and share the refugees' culture.
The system has three components: the Resettlement Assistance Programme for government-assisted refugees; the Private Sponsorship Programme and the Joint Assistance Programme.
Resettlement Assistance Programme
The Resettlement Assistance Programme (RAP) offers government-assisted refugees income support for up to one year, and a range of immediate essential services for four to six weeks after arrival as described above.
An evaluation of the programme (CIC 2004) recommended extending RAP's service delivery component to 12 months but the government did not accept this recommendation. Instead it proposed a more co-ordinated application of existing programmes and resources.
The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programme provides language instruction to adult newcomers in one of Canada's official languages. LINC facilitates the social, cultural and economic integration of immigrants and refugees into Canada. In addition, the LINC curriculum includes information that helps to orient newcomers to the Canadian way of life. This in turn helps them to become participating members of Canadian society as soon as possible.
The objective of the Host Programme is to help immigrants overcome the stress of moving to a new country. Volunteers familiar with Canadian ways help newcomers learn about available services and how to use them, practice English and French, get contacts in their field of work and participate in the community. At the same time, host Canadians learn about new cultures, other lands and different languages; they make new friends and strengthen community life. Conversation circles are a popular new service delivery model for the HOST Programme.
Length of time support is available
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFH) is available to all resettled refugees in Canada, and provides health service benefits for the gap between date of arrival and eligibility for provincial health benefits; as well as limited additional benefits once provincial plans commence, for up to 12 months after arrival or up to 24 months for joint assistance sponsorship cases. The IFH is not available to refugees who are
- able to pay for their own health care services
- covered by a private or public health care plan.
An evaluation of RAP (CIC 2004) found that overall the programme was meeting the essential needs of government-assisted refugees. It raised a number of issues:
- the most pressing issue was adequacy of income support for shelter and the availability of affordable housing. (an earlier evaluation "Power Analysis 2002" came to a similar conclusion)
- additional services such as a host-type programme, parenting and family violence programmes and child care would all be useful for clients
- the monthly amount for rent was significantly below the average rental rates for their city. Although RAP mirrors provincial social assistance rates, many clients had to borrow money from other parts of their monthly cheque to pay rent
- unintended impacts of RAP included dependency on the government for income support; dependency on RAP agency for other assistance, and clients working without declaring income
- privately sponsored refugees tended to find jobs faster, had more networking opportunities, more follow up and more emotional and community support
- access of other settlement services or community or ethnic organisations - aside from referrals was low
- due to the lack of ongoing and long-term monitoring, the longer term settlement and integration of government-assisted refugees is unclear.
Asylum seekers granted refugee status can access services at the provincial level.
Refugees who are resettled under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Programme receive financial and integration assistance from their sponsor. The goals of these programmes are to support refugees in their efforts to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
Organisations, such as churches, can make agreements with the government at a national (federal), provincial or local level and become sponsorship agreement holders. The Anglican church, for example, has a national-level agreement, as do many nationally operated, faith-based organisations. Many individual church groups use regional or local agreements. These agreements permit the organisations to bring a certain number of resettling refugees into Canada each year. In 98 per cent of cases, the private sponsor identifies the refugee in advance.
Sponsoring groups commit to providing the refugee with basic assistance in the form of accommodation, clothing, food and settlement assistance normally for one year from the date of arrival in Canada. The sponsorship period may be up to 36 months in exceptional circumstances. The sponsoring group also assists the refugee to find employment and become self supporting within the period of the sponsorship agreement. Private sponsors may identify a refugee they wish to assist or may ask that a Canadian visa office refer an appropriate case to them.
After one year, if the refugee does not have work, he or she enters the regular provincial welfare system. Often parishioners will donate their services (for example, the local doctor or dentist) to help out. Privately sponsored refugees can get access to classes, including English or French as a second language, on government-run programmes in schools, at YMCAs and other such institutions. With regard to sponsorship by faith-based organisations, officially no proselytising is allowed; however refugees often feel they must attend the services of the church sponsoring them out of gratitude, at least in the beginning.
Joint assistance sponsorship
Joint assistance sponsorship provides for the government and a private sponsorship group to share the responsibilities of sponsorship for refugees who are in need of assistance over and above that which is provided through either government assistance or private sponsorship alone. The Canadian Government assumes financial responsibility while the group is committed to ensure the refugee's integration. The period of sponsorship may be extended for up to two years, during which time the refugee is expected to become self-sufficient. This programme is intended for refugees with special needs. Those selected include refugees whose personal circumstances may include a large number of family members, trauma from violence or torture, medical disabilities or the effects of systemic discrimination.
Services are provided at the municipal level with funding from central government. Most services are main stream, with some targeted services in the early stages.
The municipality prepares an individual plan of action in co-operation with the refugee, based on an assessment of their skills and qualifications. It is targeted at introducing the person to the labour market or to an education. Refugees are offered language training immediately after arrival. After three months they are normally offered training programmes in private and public companies in order to be self sufficient as soon as possible.
During the introduction programme and until they get a job and can provide for themselves and their family, refugees are entitled to an introduction benefit. Refugees who without reason do not participate in the introduction programme may have their benefit reduced. If the resettled person has not fulfilled the obligations of the introduction programme the DIS can choose to grant the person a temporary residence permit instead of a permanent residence permit.
Refugees have access to the labour market in Denmark and do not require work permits. Except for language requirements, there are no restrictions on the access of refugees to the Danish education system. Refugees who have been accepted as students by an educational institution are entitled to special grants under the same terms as Danish students. After a period of six weeks following the granting of their status, refugees have the same access to the national health system as Danish nationals. This entitles them to free medical and hospital treatment.
Length of time services are available
The introductory programme runs for up to three years. Refugees are entitled to access support as needed for this period.
Services at the municipal level are available to asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status as well as to quota refugees.
Central government covers the costs of reception incurred by receiving municipalities, and compensates them for arranging integration measures. The municipality undertakes to provide housing, social and health care services, as well as education, cultural and interpretation services. Costs relating to education are covered by central government but the municipality can receive compensation for arranging preparatory education for basic studies as well as basic vocational studies and language tuition.
Soon after arrival, a personal integration plan is drawn up at the immigrant unit of the employment office in co-operation with the client, the employment authority, a social worker and, where necessary, a health nurse. The plan encompasses language and integration courses and vocational training. A refugee is considered to be at the integration stage for three years from the time they first register at a municipality, and stay in contact with the immigrant team until they are employed or no longer need linguistic or other specialist services.
A recent government report (Finnish Government 2006) recognises that:
Many illiterate adults arriving in Finland need actions promoting integration that last longer than three years. Since most persons in this category are women and mothers of large families, there are breaks in integration training, for example. Persons coming to Finland on humanitarian grounds also include those in a particularly vulnerable position such as persons traumatised in situations leading to refugeeism, persons who have spent a long time in refugee camps and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.
The paper acknowledges that while promoting employment is a priority for refugees, conditions also need to be put in place to integrate persons outside the workforce, such as the elderly, mothers at home, the traumatised, children and young people.
Length of time support is available
Immigrants (including refugees) are entitled to an integration plan for the three years following their entry if they are unemployed jobseekers entitled to labour market subsidy and/or to receive social assistance. Integration support is paid to an immigrant implementing an integration plan, consisting of labour market support and social support granted as necessary. The plan can be extended by a maximum of two years under special circumstances. An extension can be granted in order to acquire reading and writing skills or complete comprehensive school. An extension can also be granted on the basis of an immigrant's age, disability, illness, child protection measure and maternity or paternity leave. The authorities that participated in drafting the plan for the immigrant and the immigrant negotiate the extension. The decision will be made by the employment office.
Services in municipalities are available to asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status as well as to quota refugees.
Following resettlement in the community, a full language and training programme is put in place for 20 hours per week (four hours x five days) for a period of one year. Full participation is expected. This language and training programme follows on from the orientation programme presented during the period in the Orientation Training Centre. While attending language training, resettled refugees receive unemployment assistance in the same manner as an unemployed Irish person. At the end of the training programme the training co-ordinator works with the student to develop a pathway to employment or further training. Resettled refugees with adequate language and skills can immediately access vocational training and employment opportunities through the national training and employment authority, FS (Foras iseanna Saothair).
Generally, resettled refugees live in private, rented accommodation in the community. They receive assistance from the State towards the cost of renting the accommodation. Children attend local schools in age appropriate classes. A full range of supports have been put in place by the Department of Education of Science for non-English speaking children in both primary and post primary schools.
Resettled refugees have access to health services in the same way as an Irish person.
In the early stages of resettlement the focus for adults is on language and training and building links with the local community. In recent years, the local partnership, which works as the implementing partner at a local level, has employed a community development worker, full or part-time depending on numbers in the area, to facilitate access to services, promote participation by the new arrivals in local activities and encourage local organisations to proactively welcome the new arrivals (the two-way process). The community development worker works with the new arrivals to identify gaps in service and supports them to find solutions to any problems. He or she also works with the service providers to inform them of the issues arising and to initiate change at a local level. In this way the experience of resettled refugees should have a long-term impact on how services are provided at a local level to all legally resident immigrants.
Length of time support is available
The resettlement process is supported and monitored for approximately 18 months from the date of arrival. In the initial three-to-four months, support is provided by the resettlement team through frequent home visits. The dedicated resettlement officer ensures that all services are in place, cultural orientation is delivered and language courses have been arranged. Following permanent resettlement, this role is assumed by the community development worker, and the resettlement team adopts a monitoring and supporting role. Where the resettled refugee is not satisfied that an issue is being resolved at a local level they may still contact the dedicated resettlement officer and seek and appointment and support.
After the initial 18-month period the local community continue to work at a local level to support the integration of the new arrivals. Integration programmes are built into normal mainstream activities at a local level. In exceptional circumstances either the resettled refugee or the local community may contact the resettlement team for assistance to resolve issues.
Convention refugees and programme refugees are entitled to the same rights and privileges as Irish citizens, including the right to work and access to education and health services. However, the resettlement programme is specific to programme refugees. As the brief of the Integration Unit relates to the integration of all legally resident migrants, receiving communities are encouraged to take the lessons learned when dealing with resettled refugees and apply them to other legally resident migrants, including Convention refugees.
Services are provided at the municipal level with some financial support through central government. Until 2007, the Dutch Council for Refugees received subsidies from local authorities to provide social support services, which were delivered on the ground by volunteers. The new legislation requires a wider range of support; for example, in finding work and in helping women gain education and employment. These services are now tendered and the council competes with other agencies to provide them.
When refugees leave the reception centre, they are housed in accommodation provided by local authorities. Until they find employment, they receive a subsistence allowance. Children under 16 are enrolled in local schools. The local authorities offer an extended introduction programme. This includes at least 500 hours of Dutch language lessons per refugee, and is expected to guarantee a minimum level of proficiency in the Dutch language - the level needed for unskilled or semi-skilled jobs. This programme is followed by vocational courses or participating in mainstream education. In most cases, local language training institutes provide the linguistic training. It is mainly funded by the central government, with the local authorities taking full responsibility for the organisation of the lessons.
Refugees and members of ethnic minorities can also attend special vocational training in centres which demand only a minimum knowledge of Dutch. Educational qualifications obtained by the refugees in their country of origin are assessed in the light of the standards that apply in the Netherlands. Sometimes a refugee will have to take an additional course or gain some practical work experience in order to have his or her qualifications recognised. This applies not only to refugees but to all foreigners who settle in the Netherlands.
Length of time support is available
The extended introduction programme generally lasts one-to-two years.
Services in the municipalities are available to asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status as well as to quota refugees.
Provision for refugees coming to New Zealand under the quota is primarily through government agencies, with the Department of Labour as the lead agency, and RMS Refugee Resettlement, the central agency in providing social support for resettled refugees. RMS employs social workers and cross-cultural workers and trains volunteers who assist in the resettlement process in various communities.
For the duration of their six-week stay at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, resettled refugees receive a weekly allowance provided by the Ministry of Social Development. On leaving the centre, they are eligible to receive income support at the same rate as benefits provided to unemployed New Zealanders. In addition, resettled refugees may be eligible for additional assistance such as a disability allowance or accommodation supplements. A special settlement grant for re-establishment costs is also provided to assist with acquiring household items such as furniture and white ware.
RMS arranges for all refugees to receive an information "Welcome Pack" on arrival. It also undertakes a needs assessment of each refugee or refugee family and liaises with other agencies at the Mangere centre. Refugees are helped to establish an IRD number, bank account, and RMS collates information into an "Intake Exit Report".
RMS assists in providing furniture and practical assistance and advice to refugees to find accommodation. It also liaises with the Housing New Zealand Corporation to ensure that resettled refugees have access to government subsidised accommodation, where required and available, on leaving the centre.
As with other persons requiring employment and social welfare in New Zealand, refugees may be entitled to additional allowances and recoverable grants to assist with finding employment.
Study grants are available to support adult learners of English who come from a refugee background and are enrolled in designated courses. Approximately 370 grants were available in 2007, offering fee subsidies of $4,000 per student per academic year, or $2,000 per semester. Programmes are delivered at no cost to the learner.
Resettled refugees are recognised as having special needs and given priority consideration for government-funded work placement and training programmes. Training opportunities can include English language courses as well as vocational and life skills training. Similar vocational training and income-generating initiatives that focus on the refugees' traditional skills and occupations are funded by some city councils.
Child, Youth and Family purchases services specifically in support of refugees. It funds community-based organisations working with resettled refugees to provide family and social support, counselling and interpreting services and activity programmes for refugee children and young persons with special needs.
Refugees are eligible for all publicly provided health services in New Zealand. They can register with a primary health organisation for general practitioner services. However, the use of interpreters is limited to publicly provided health care services and is not available to many community health services or to primary health care.
Length of time support is available
Specialist services are available for up to 12 months after arrival.
Asylum seekers recognised as refugees in New Zealand obtain permanent residence and can access the settlement support services they require. This includes services provided by the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission, ESOL home tutors, work-search support, income support and work support provided by Work and Income.
Immigration policy in Norway is based on genuine equal status for immigrants (including refugees) and Norwegians. This means that, as far as possible, immigrants have the same opportunities, rights and obligations as the rest of the population.
This follows through into service provision for refugees, with most services being provided through mainstream agencies. In terms of eligibility, no distinction is made between Convention refugees and persons with residence permits for humanitarian reasons.
Municipalities provide housing and short-term assistance. They are also responsible for delivering the introductory programme for newly arrived foreign nationals/refugees established by the Norwegian Government. This programme is for people between 18 and 55 years of age, who need qualifications and who have been settled in a municipality for less than two years when considered for the programme.
Length of time support is available
The introductory programme is full time for two years and includes instruction in the Norwegian language, social studies and measures preparing for further studies or for working life. The Directorate of Integration and Diversity monitors the programmes in each municipality.
Refugees get 850 hours of language training in Norwegian. Those who are Illiterate are entitled to up to 3,000 hours of language training, or for as long as needed to attain a certain level of proficiency in Norwegian. The children may get training in their mother tongue in kindergarten and school as a tool to learn Norwegian. Schooling is compulsory in Norway. All boys and girls between the age of six and 16 must attend school. Most schools and universities are free. The local labour employment offices provide services to the unemployed, which may include vocational/work training.
Services in the municipalities are available to asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status as well as to quota refugees and family members who have been granted residence on humanitarian grounds or through family reunification. These include access to free language training, studies to provide basic insight into Norwegian social conditions and measures that prepare participants for further education or access to working life.
Municipalities are the main providers of resettlement services in Sweden, supported by funding from central government. Municipalities are required to draw up plans for the introduction and integration of refugees into Swedish society on an individual basis. Each plan must be drawn up in consultation with the refugee in person and in partnership with the local employment office. The programme stresses the importance of maintaining a holistic approach to the problems involved and ensuring co-operation between the various authorities. Trade unions, employers and NGOs are encouraged to play an active role, but it is unclear to what extent individual plans are case-managed.
The municipality must offer a refugee a language course entitled "Swedish introduction for immigrants" within three months of his or her settlement.
Refugees have access to the labour market and the National Health Service (NHS) on the same terms as nationals. There is no qualifying period after a residence permit has been obtained.
Length of time support is available
The introductory plans cover the first two years after arrival.
Services in the municipalities are available to asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status as well as to quota refugees.
The Home Office is currently introducing a new model for National Refugee Integration Services in England. The new model has four main elements: "Sunrise", mentoring, employment services for refugee professionals, and advice and consultancy support for refugee community organisations.
Under the Sunrise (Strategic Upgrade of National Refugee Integration Services) scheme, each new refugee who chooses to participate will work with a caseworker to manage the transition from asylum seeker to refugee, and produce a personal integration plan covering longer term integration objectives. (Most refugees in the UK arrive as asylum seekers). Intensive one-to-one work will take place during the statutory 28-day grace period from when they are recognised as refugees to the point when they are no longer eligible for National Asylum Support Service (NASS) support (including accommodation). In the first stage the caseworker will concentrate on helping the refugee meet housing, health and child education needs and ensure that mainstream benefits and employment advice is accessed. Longer term support is reviewed regularly and continues for up to a year, during which the caseworker will signpost to education and training opportunities and ensure that the personal integration plan has been successfully achieved.
The key objective of the scheme is to facilitate smoother and quicker integration into the refugee's new life in the UK, enabling them to meet their full potential and to contribute to the community as soon as possible. Through the personal integration plan, the Sunrise caseworker service will include provision for
- housing advice
- entry into employment - usually by arranging and ensuring contact with Jobcentre Plus, but there will be other pathways for particular groups of refugees, especially the highly skilled advice on benefits - usually by arranging and ensuring contact with Jobcentre Plus
- other financial advice
- contact with other services, particularly health and education where this has not already been made or where the refugee moves to another locality
- English-language tuition and training opportunities where needed
- opportunities for volunteering and for being mentored, if desired
- information on family reunification
- contacts with community, cultural or faith organisations, if sought.
The mentoring service will, at an appropriate point in a refugee's integration, contract a "match" with a mentor from the receiving community
The employment service will provide advice and support to refugees, particularly those with professional qualifications, in entering the UK employment market
The consultancy service will provide advice and support to those running refugee community organisations. Four pilot schemes are currently under way.
Mainstreaming the support provided to refugees remains at the heart of the government's approach. This means as far as possible providing support to refugees within services designed for everyone, such as the NHS or the schools system, rather than setting up separate services or structures. Those services, therefore, need to be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of individual refugees. For example, Jobcentre Plus is developing a refugee operational framework that, among other things, will help frontline advisers to respond more appropriately to the needs of their refugee customers. It is also piloting specialist refugee employment provision to help customers tackle a range of employment barriers. In pilot areas the Sunrise caseworkers will, where appropriate, make sure that refugees attend their local Jobcentre Plus office as soon as possible, and work closely with Jobcentre Plus staff to understand what support they can give so this is fully reflected in the personal integration plan. The department expects refugees will become ready for work sooner as a result of the caseworker approach. By resolving potentially problematic issues such as housing, refugees will be able, in good time, to focus on moving on with their lives.
There is no automatic or compulsory English language tuition for Convention refugees. However, they can attend English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses which are offered at adult education institutes and other further education colleges. ESOL courses usually charge low fees but may be offered free, depending on funding constraints.
In June 2007 the Border and Immigration Agency introduced a loan scheme to help new refugees, those granted humanitarian protection and their respective dependants, to purchase goods and services to assist their integrationinto the UK.
The government plans to deliver the main service elements in the new strategy on a regional basis using a prime contractor or consortium in each region. The new service will be organised in line with the six regions of the new Borders and Immigration Agency. This will enhance the links between the new refugee integration services and the arrangements for support of asylum seekers, and to be consistent with the wider operations of the new agency. Refugee integration services will be procured by the Home Office in consultation with the devolved authorities in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Length of time support is available
Longer term support continues for up to a year.
The services provided under the new model for National Refugee Integration Services are available to refugees who come to the UK as asylum seekers as well as to quota refugees.
The US resettlement programme is based on a strong public/private partnership between the US Government and various NGOs who have entered into a co-operative agreement with the State Department to resettle refugees. Every year the organisations write proposals to the US Government to receive funding for providing initial services during the refugees' first 90 days in the US.
Public and private non-profit organisations provide sponsorship, reception and placement services appropriate to refugees' personal circumstances and to assist refugees to achieve economic self sufficiency as quickly as possible. Sponsoring agencies are required to ensure refugees' basic needs are met. These include initial housing, essential furnishings, food or a food allowance, necessary clothing, transport to job interviews and job training for a minimum of 30 days after arrival in the US. Sponsoring agencies also provide orientation and information about services available in the community (employment opportunities, vocational training, education, language classes and health care) for a minimum of 90 days after arrival.
The co-operative agreement requires heath screening for all refugees within 30 days of arrival. The ORR has individual contracts with all states resettling refugees to provide initial health screening and medical benefits for up to eight months. Local resettlement agencies typically partner with local health providers to provide the health screening. Agencies also assist refugees to apply for Medicaid (health insurance for low-income individuals) and provide orientation to the US healthcare system. Resettlement agencies work with community-based health care providers to ensure refugees have access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health services. When possible, resettlement agencies provide information sessions, trainings or materials on preventative health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, family planning, and other topics identified by the refugee and/or the agency. They also provide information to health providers on the conditions, needs and concerns of refugee groups.
Social services provided through a refugee services system are available for the first five years after arrival in the US, although the programme of services is structured to promote employment and self sufficiency much earlier than five years. Services are also provided following job placement to ensure continued employment, and to enhance opportunities for advancement. There are continuing services beyond five years on a limited basis for those refugees who are identified as difficult to employ. They are helped to overcome barriers and learn new skills that will improve their chances for employment.
Individuals granted refugee status through the asylum seeking process are eligible for ORR assistance and services.
Sector expectations of refugees
The review found little specific evidence and few examples of specific expectations of refugees. Most documents referred to integration in general and expressed general aims rather than expectations in particular areas, with or without consequences or other implications.
As with most of the other countries reviewed in this paper, Australia has expectations that immigrants (including refugees) will respect Australian values and traditions. Refugees are expected to become economically self sufficient as soon as possible, but that is also true of other migrants.
Canada has a citizenship test that applies to all migrants, but it does not appear to have specific expectations of refugees, other than that they will become economically independent as soon as possible.
Denmark also describes itself is a diverse society where many different political and religious beliefs and social and cultural attitudes are represented. This has implications for immigrants, including refugees.
To maximise the benefits of this diversity, we must all share a sense of community based on certain fundamental values. These values include democracy, welfare, freedom, equality and respect for other people, regardless of gender, age, colour and beliefs. Everyone has rights and obligations and should be able to take part freely in the daily life of society on an equal basis within the scope of the law. The fact that Denmark is a welfare society means that everyone must contribute to the community as best they can - by getting educated, working, paying taxes and supporting themselves and their families. In return, the community gives the individual citizen a helping hand when necessary and takes care of its weakest members (MRIIA 2005, 2006).
The government has some specific expectations of immigrants and can impose sanctions when these are not met. For example, foreign citizens who without reason do not participate in the introduction programme may have their benefit reduced. Granting of a residence permit also depends on resettled people fulfilling the obligations of the introduction programme.
At the municipal level, there are also some expectations of refugees. In principle refugees must stay in the municipality to which they are assigned for three years. If they relocate before that time without the consent of the new municipality, they face sanctions. The new municipality may reduce or refuse to pay any social benefits to that refugee and may also refuse them access to the integration programme run by that municipality (Liebaut 2000).
Finland acknowledges that the countries of origin from which refugees are resettled do not always have such strong traditions of non discrimination or gender equality as those in Finland. Resettled refugees therefore need to understand and adopt new values and norms related to equality (Ekholm, Magennis and Salmelin 2005). The Finnish Red Cross comments that:
It is a challenge for every party involved, including refugees, to work for the integration of refugees into the Finnish labour market." (Canadian Council for Refugees 2004)
Refugees are expected to co-operate fully with officials in the selection process and to participate fully in the one-year language and training programme provided in the community in which they are settled.
The Integration of Newcomers Act introduced in 1998 stressed the importance of the responsibility of the individual immigrant to realise "active citizenship". The policy is based on a contractual arrangement between the refugee (or other immigrant) and the government/municipality. According to Korac (2001) the contract guarantees the rights and obligations of both parties.
The government/municipality is obliged to i) organise the integration programme; ii) maintain a sufficient supply of language courses and vocational courses; iii) start the programme within four months, on the basis of an interview with the immigrant. The newcomer has a right to such services and is obliged to: i) apply at the local/municipal office for an interview within six months of status acknowledgement; ii) enrol in an educational institution; iii) follow the programme actively, including 500 hours of Dutch language courses; iv) take a Dutch language test within a year after starting the programme; v) to complete the programme within six weeks after the test is completed.
Korac notes that the policy does not guarantee services to accommodate the different needs of women, particularly in relation to childcare services.
According to VluchtelingenWerk (2005) integration has the following important characteristics:
- Integration is a process of change, affecting both the individual and society as a whole.
- It is a process of mutual adaptation, giving and taking. Integration is a two-way process.
- Integration is both individual and collective. It is the responsibility not only of individual refugees and Dutch citizens but also of institutions, companies and the authorities. These bodies all have to be accessible to give refugees the chance to participate in Dutch society.
- The integration process consists of participation, communication and emancipation. Participation means taking part in the vital social activities of education, training and work. It also includes having access to facilities, institutions and social organisations. "Communication" refers here to the contact between refugees and other inhabitants of the Netherlands.
- "Emancipation" means the process of giving people the space and liberty they need to make their own choices and win an independent place for themselves in society. Participation, communication and emancipation are the pillars of the integration process.
A person who comes to live in the Netherlands has to take an active part in Dutch society. This means learning Dutch, obeying the laws of the country and respecting the liberties that are part of the Dutch heritage. This is not a matter of choice.
A key shift in emphasis in the NZ Settlement Strategy is the importance placed on dual responsibilities in achieving settlement - both the newcomers and New Zealanders are responsible for achieving settlement outcomes.
It is up to New Zealanders to ensure that migrants and refugees feel welcome and safe in their new home. It is important also that New Zealand's cultural diversity is respected in all communities. The efforts that New Zealanders make to support settlement need to be reciprocated by migrants and refugees themselves. Newcomers are expected to understand and respect our values, and contribute to our community and civic life.
There appear to be no sanctions that apply specifically to refuges for not complying with requirements.
The Norwegian Government expects immigrants to familiarise themselves with and respect the basic principles of Norwegian society and politics. The government deems this to be part of the implicit social contract entered into by the inhabitants with the country in which they are living (Min LG & RG 2004). Any immigrant (including refugees) who wants a permanent residence permit or Norwegian citizenship must be able to document that he or she has completed the 300 hours of obligatory Norwegian language training, or document in some other way that their Norwegian skills are good enough.
Sweden also has a statement on integration and diversity which stresses equal rights, obligations and opportunities for all regardless of ethnic or religious background. It notes that "after the initial phase in Sweden, no special policy for immigrants is needed". The implicit expectation on refugees is that they should become part of the broader society as quickly as possible.
A government paper (GOS 2007) states that integration policy must eliminate obstacles and create opportunities for all. It must unleash people's inner strength and break down the barriers of social exclusion that have taken root in Sweden. The most important integration measure is to create better opportunities for earning a living and empowerment by pursuing a policy that makes work and entrepreneurship easier.
The UK National Strategy for Refugee Integration (2005) expresses aspirations similar to those in comparable documents from other countries in that it describes integration as the process by which refugees are empowered to achieve their full potential as members of British society, to contribute to the community and to become fully able to exercise the rights and responsibilities they share with other residents.
A Refugee Council publication Agenda for Integration (2005) comments that for refugees, integration "requires a willingness to adapt to the lifestyle of the host society without having to lose his or her own cultural identity". The paper also stresses the importance of refugees being fully involved in developing and delivering integration strategies.
The situation in the United States is similar to that in Canada, with a particularly strong emphasis on refugees becoming economically independent as soon as possible.
Approaches to funding
The refugee category is fully funded by the Australian Government through 20 contract regions nationally, with one contract per region. Service agreements are also made with migrant resource centres, migrant service agencies and community settlement services to provide community services.
Under the Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP), proposers are expected to provide assistance with costs of travel to Australia, assisting with initial accommodation needs and new orientation. They work in co-ordination with Commonwealth-funded providers. In 2007, the Australian Government increased support for the humanitarian entrants with subsidies for rental, utility and transport costs. Additional funds were also provided for complex case support services and sustainable regional settlement.
As SHP entrants have the support of a proposer to assist them with their settlement needs, they will not normally be assessed as requiring the full range of IHSS services. The 2007/08 Budget included funding for a new proposer support programme to strengthen the capacity of proposers to support SHP entrants. The budget also included increased provision for humanitarian entrants under the English as a Second Language - New Arrivals Programme.
The Settlement Grants Programme (SGP) commenced on 1 July 2006. Under the SGP, organisations are funded to provide settlement services to recently arrived humanitarian entrants and family stream migrants who have low English proficiency, among others. The aim of the SGP is to deliver services which assist eligible clients to become self-reliant and participate equitably in Australian society as soon as possible after arrival. The SGP will fund the following service types:
- Orientation to Australia - Practical Assistance to Promote Self-reliance
- Developing communities
- Integration - Inclusion and Participation.
Funding allocation is made on a project basis, with funding priorities for particular regions and communities determined by an annual assessment of settlement needs.
Settlement services are not delivered directly by the federal government. Rather, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada funds eligible individuals, non-profit organisations, agencies serving immigrants, community groups, businesses, provincial and municipal governments and educational institutions to provide essential services.
The Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) aims to assist immigrants in settling and integrating into Canadian society, so that they may become participating members as soon as possible. ISAP funding is provided in order to deliver direct services to immigrants such as reception, orientation, translation, interpretation, referral to community resources, para-professional counselling, general information and employment-related services. ISAP funding is also provided in order to carry out other activities that will improve settlement services.
Private sponsorship in Canada emerged out of a desire expressed by community-based groups to actively sponsor refugees outside of a government-initiated programme.
In Denmark, the Integration Act provides the statutory basis for the financing of municipal integration efforts. The local authorities are responsible for housing refugees, offering introduction programmes, paying benefits to eligible persons and co-ordinating the general integration effort in the municipality. In 2004, 17,244 persons fell within the scope of the Integration Act, principally refugees and family migrants.
Under the current financing system, a combination of different financial instruments is used to transfer funds to municipalities. They receive a basic grant allocated per person for three years, intended to cover expenses on interpreters, information, guidance and counselling, accommodation, etc, as well as programme grants for Danish courses and employment/education programmes. Municipalities are also reimbursed for certain expenses and can obtain performance grants if a person passes the Danish language test or finds employment for at least six months within the three-year introductory period.
The objective of the financing system is to provide municipalities with incentives for an active integration effort. In addition to the performance grants, the main instrument is the way in which the basic grant is paid out: the municipality receives this grant during the entire introductory period regardless of whether the person is employed or receives public benefits. If the person finds employment before the three years are over, the municipality can use the remainder of the basic grant (which is not earmarked specifically for integration activities) any way it wishes.
In Finland, the social welfare system operates at both central and local level. Up to date, refugees have been settled in more than 140 municipalities. The Municipal Council makes a decision on receiving refugees, and their reception is regulated by the Act on the Integration of Immigrants. The State reimburses the costs of receiving refugees for the first three years.
Services for refugees are mainly funded by government and provided by mainstream services and local authorities. Local authorities do not receive any direct financial allocation for refugees resettled in their area. Health care, education, accommodation costs and social welfare payments are all met by central government. Central government funds community development workers in local authorities, and the county and city development boards receive funding from central government to pursue social inclusion policies at the local level.
Small and large NGOs receive funding for their activities from private entities and from the Irish State, including under the European Refugee Fund (ERF) and the Reception and Integration Agency's small grants scheme. Many national and local level NGOs that assist resettled refugees are therefore in receipt of some State/EU funding.
Services for refugees are mainly funded by government and provided by local authorities. The new Integration Act came into force in January 2007 and introduced an element of competition into the provision of services. A number of activities for which the Dutch Council of Refugees previously received subsidies are now put out to public tender.
Convention refugees (including quota refugees) and persons granted residence permits for humanitarian reasons have the same entitlements - with a few exceptions. The Dutch municipalities must offer all refugees and persons granted humanitarian status in their area, the opportunity to participate in special integration programmes for aliens, which are subsidised by the State up to the amount of NLG 10000 (EUR 4545.45) per person. Participation in integration programmes is compulsory.
The reception and integration of resettled refugees is effected through partnerships between government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whereby government funding purchases settlement outcomes from community-based organisations. Priorities for the long-term work programme and funding are set following a regional and national consultation process, which feeds into interdepartmental committees on migrant settlement and refugee resettlement and a senior officials group which makes recommendations to the Minister.
Funding provided in the Budget in 2004 supported initiatives to assist new migrants and refugees to enter the labour market, enhance information and the co-ordination of services and to extend ESOL provision. Work is ongoing to implement the Settlement National Action Plan and the Auckland Settlement Action Plan.
Immigration policy in Norway is based on genuine equal status for immigrants (including refugees) and Norwegians. After a very brief introductory period where they have access to specialist services and benefits funded through central government, refugees access mainstream resources.
Each municipality receives a state grant for each adult refugee resettled. This grant is expected to cover the extra costs associated with reception of the refugee in the municipality, including any financial assistance paid out under the Social Assistance Act, accommodation, Swedish tuition, childcare, education and training, interpreters' fees and administrative costs. The grant is expected to suffice for the entire introductory period, which is normally two years. An additional grant is payable for elderly or disabled refugees and for unaccompanied minor children.
The government funds the main programmes that support refugee integration, particularly through the new regional consortia. The government strategy is based on mainstreaming services for refugees, with specialist support as required.
With the Gateway Programme, the government funds local authorities to cover the costs for the 12 months following refugees' arrival. The Home Office works with local primary care trusts and local education authorities to establish the level of funding required. Housing benefit and income support costs are also covered, as are the costs of casework support services and English language classes. The government is flexible over the specific ways in which funding can be spent to support services, adapting these to suit the needs of the particular area. For example, casework support may be provided by voluntary sector organisation such as Refugee Council and Refugee Action, or local authorities may opt to use their own staff to provide support (Home Office 2005a).
Three funding programmes administered by the Home Office, the Refugee Community Development Fund, the Challenge Fund and the European Refugee Fund, provide resources for the voluntary sector.
Resettlement benefits for refugees arriving in the US are provided through a combination of public and private funding. Public funding comes largely from the federal government; however some states provide additional funds. The private non-profit NGOs that place refugees in communities raise considerable funding privately, and recruit volunteers, contributing generously to the cost of resettlement.
This US Office of Refugee Resettlement programme emphasises employment services to refugees and enables affiliates to provide support services during the period in which the refugees are seeking and beginning employment. Federal funds must be matched by affiliate funds in support of the services.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement also provides funding to provide supplemental social services to special groups of refugees such as those with special medical conditions.
State social service programmes
Many states provide funding to local programmes to assist refugees with English language training, employment services and social services. The state programmes are funded through the Office of Refugee Resettlement and work with other agencies to provide core resettlement services.
Systems for monitoring and evaluating resettlement processes and outcomes
Australia launched the National Framework for Settlement Planning in March 2006. The framework contains mechanisms to identify the needs of new arrivals in order to inform programme delivery. It also includes the following performance measures:
- number of offshore humanitarian programme entrants assisted
- level of client satisfaction
- management of Migrant Resource Centre, Migrant Service Agency and Community Settlement Services Scheme grants
- satisfactory delivery of service agreements and work programmes
- Settlement Grants programme implemented with fully developed information technology and statistical systems in place
- management and monitoring of the performance of service providers
- contract breaches identified and managed
- demand for fee-free translating and interpreting services
- level of satisfaction with services.
The national framework also includes plans to provide:
- settlement needs reports for each state and territory, to be produced on an annual basis. The reports will provide demographic settlement data, forecasts of likely arrivals and information on settlement needs at regional and state/territory level
- community profiles of new and emerging humanitarian communities, to be produced on an as needs basis
- an internal settlement planning and information newsletter.
The Department of Immigration and Affairs (DIMA) has an obligation to monitor the performance of the service providers it funds and to ensure appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place. The DIMA settlement database contains records of settler arrivals and permanent residence grants, including data on country of birth, age, sex, migration category, main language, English proficiency, location of residence and other variables. DIMA is currently working with Medicare Australia to gather more data on relocation and other variables. These information bases will support other data, such as the performance measures described above and ongoing reviews and evaluations.
A series of reviews and audits have also been completed. The first was the Australian National Audit Office performance audit of the provision of migrant settlement services by DIMA (ANAO 1999). Contracts have also been audited as has the IHSS. An extensive review of settlement services for migrants and refugees was completed in 2003 (DIMIA 2003). It identified a number of monitoring and accountability mechanisms for core funded services, IHSS contracts and the Adult Migrant English Program. These included performance measures, milestone reporting and benchmarking.
A number of strategies are in place for evaluating various services, including satisfaction surveys, reviews of complaints, feedback mechanisms and regular reporting. Reviews have identified the need for service standards for funded organisations and periodic surveys of outcomes as well as client satisfaction.
In 1998, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) established a medium term strategic research framework to guide research on migrants. Most of the framework applies to immigrants generally but it does have segments specifically applicable to refugees.
The questions it suggests should be investigated are:
- How long does it take refugees selected from abroad to be self supporting?
- Is the 12-24 month sponsorship period long enough to be effective?
- What are the differences between government and privately sponsored refugees?
- Why does it appear that settlement outcomes are better for privately-sponsored over government-sponsored refugees?
- What about special needs cases?
- What are the causes for secondary migration of refugees, while they are being sponsored, how many move and to where?
The framework acknowledges that it has been difficult, if not impossible, to agree on a definition of integration or, as a result, a set of indicators of integration. One of the difficulties is that the federal government does not control or directly influence most factors which might be argued to contribute to successful integration. Therefore any "indicators" the federal government developed would not be indicative of the impact of settlement services, or indicators for which the government would be held accountable. Rather they would take the pulse of the immigrant community, and would provide early-warnings for pressure points.
Since that research framework was developed, CIC has funded two evaluations of refugee services. One (CIC 2004) considered programme relevance, success, cost effectiveness, service delivery and other partners. The earlier evaluation (Power Analysis 2002) provided a more detailed "snapshot" of the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) in Ontario. An evaluation of the broader Immigration Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) was completed in 2004.
An audit of the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program and the Host Contribution Program was undertaken in 2006.
CIC has also established a database called the Immigration Contribution Accountability Measurement System (ICAMS). Service provider organisations enter performance data into ICAMS and, since 2004 ICAMS has been able to produce a number of national, regional and SPO level RAP reports.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act includes a requirement to report annually on the impact of this legislation from a gender-based perspective. In early 2005, CIC launched the Strategic Framework for Gender-Based Analysis (2005-2010), which sets out the department's strategic objectives and principles for gender-based analysis and the steps that will be taken to strengthen capacity and performance throughout the department. CIC, along with the Status of Women Canada, has provided funding to the Canadian Council for Refugees to support the development of a tool that will help build capacity in the settlement sector to apply gender-based analysis in advocacy for and the development, implementation and evaluation of settlement programmes and services.
Denmark analyses statistical data on employment and education to assess outcomes for immigrants, but it is not clear if data can be analysed separately for refugees. Interview surveys provide additional information; for example, on employer experiences and the social experiences of immigrants (MFA 2006).
The Danish Ministry for Integration commissions a yearly report entitled "Report on New Danes: Vocational training and mentor initiatives", which contains information for evaluating integration policies, but again it is not clear whether refugee information is recorded separately.
Work has also been done in Denmark on developing an indicator that may be used for comparing or benchmarking Danish municipalities' success in the economic integration of immigrants (including refugees). It is unclear whether this has been implemented (Andersen, Heinesen and Husted 2005).
Finland was part of the MORE project (Modelling of National Resettlement Process and Implementation of Emergency Measures) funded by the EU from December 2003 to April 2005. The aim of the project was to develop comprehensive models for the resettlement process that could be used by other countries. The project included mapping resettlement practice in Finland, as well as development tasks, conferences and workshops. The project resulted in the publication Shaping our Future: A Practical Guide to the Selection, Reception and Integration of Resettled Refugees (Ekholm, Magennis and Salmelin 2005).
Since 2000, the Ministry of Labour has surveyed municipalities concerning the implementation of the Integration Act. The aim is to obtain general information about the state of integration services, the direction of development, actors and resources. In 2005 a total of 250 municipalities responded, including all municipalities in which more than 500 foreigners live.
The results showed that the integration of immigrants receives diverse support in Finnish municipalities. The scope of actors has expanded and there is more co-peration across administrative and municipal borders. Services to promote integration are most accessible in large cities. On the other hand, services in small municipalities are individual and take the customer's life situation into consideration. Integration services appear to work well for those under the age of 16 in all areas, while plenty of improvement in availability of services is needed for the elderly, ie those over the age of 64. Responses showed the same challenges as in previous years: insufficient human resources, little training and induction.
Finland also monitors discrimination and carries out research into employment and other aspects of resettlement.
The Reception and Integration Agency of the Office of the Minister for Integration monitors the resettlement process for 18 months after a refugee's arrival. It is unclear exactly how this occurs or what outcomes are considered as indicators of success. A Working Group on the Integration of Refugees in Ireland (2000) adopted the following definition of integration as a working definition: Integration means the ability to participate to the extent that a person needs and wishes in all the major components of society without having to relinquish his or her own cultural identity.
In 2005 the Dutch Council of Refugees carried out a study into the integration of refugees in the Netherlands. Based on interviews and questionnaires with a panel of 200 refugees and asylum seekers and a survey of Dutch people, research covered areas such as:
- time taken to complete asylum procedure
- steps taken after completing the introduction course
- employment status and barriers to finding work
- social contact, leisure time and feeling "at home"
- sense of integration (VluchtelingenWerk Nederland 2005a).
New Zealand does not appear to have a formal system for auditing and evaluating resettlement processes, although programmes funded by central government will be required to comply with monitoring requirements under their service agreements or contractual arrangements.
A substantive three-year research project to gain a better understanding of the resettlement experiences of refugees was completed in 2002 (DOL 2004). The research gathered information from refugees on their backgrounds, the information they had about New Zealand prior to arrival, their arrival experiences, housing, getting help, family reunification, health, learning English, adult education, labour force and other activities, financial support, children and teenagers, social networks, discrimination, cultural integration and settling in New Zealand.
A related three-year inter-agency research project has recently begun - Refugees plus ten: Perspectives on identity, community and integration. This project aims, among other things, to gather perspectives about integration outcomes and measurement from quota refugees who resettled 10 or more years ago and still reside in New Zealand.
In addition, a range of research and evaluation publications have focused on specific aspects of refugee resettlement, particularly in the areas of health and language tuition. These are documented in an annotated bibliography (Nam and Ward 2006). They include an evaluation of the Christchurch Refugee and Migrant Centre (MacGibbon and Greenaway 2004), a report on a refugee employment programme (JR McKenzie Trust 2004) and a paper on interventions for refugee children in New Zealand schools (Hamilton et al 2001).
New Zealand has taken some steps towards establishing systems and approaches to monitoring outcomes. For example, the DOL has established an outcome-based Purchasing Framework for Settlement-Related Services, which will govern the Settlement Division's approach to purchasing. A key inter-agency initiative to develop this area further is part of the Settlement National Action Plan (4.2) which aims to build an improved understanding of the settlement outcomes for newcomers to New Zealand through establishing an overall agreed framework and identifying outcome-related indicators for both migrants and refugees at a range of levels.
Work has also been done on developing an indicator framework for measuring the longer term impact of settlement policies in New Zealand on social cohesion (Peace, Spoonley, Butcher and O'Neill 2005), but little progress has been made since the first proposals.
The paper by Peace et al identifies five elements of social cohesion which, in the context of a settlement strategy apply to both individuals and groups. In their view, policies and services for migrants, refugees and their families can be assessed in terms of their contribution to these elements.
- Belonging involves a sense of being part of the wider community, trust in other people and common respect for the rule of law and for civil and human rights. New Zealand is home to many peoples, and is built on the bicultural foundation of the Treaty of Waitangi. New Zealand's ethnic and cultural diversity should be recognised, celebrated and valued.
- Inclusion involves equity of opportunities and of outcomes, with regard to labour market participation, income, education, health and housing. The contribution of good settlement outcomes to social cohesion should be recognised and valued.
- Participation includes involvement in social activities, in community groups and organisations, and in political and civic life (voting or standing for election on a school board of trustees). All people should be able to participate in all aspects of New Zealand life.
- Recognition involves valuing diversity and respecting differences by all groups, including the host country, protection from discrimination and harassment and a sense of safety. Diversity of opinions and values amongst the many cultures that make up New Zealand today should be accepted and respected.
- Legitimacy includes confidence in public institutions that act to protect rights and interests and to mediate conflicts, and institutional responsiveness. Public institutions must foster social cohesion, engender trust and be responsive to the needs of all communities.
The authors have begun to develop an indicator framework which, in addition to broad-based demographic information, suggests that information might be collected in relation to the five elements described above. More work has still to be done to review the indicators and align them with other frameworks.
Norway has established a "development group" with members from IOM, IMDi, municipalities and/or other organisations to discuss the contents of the cultural orientation programme, pedagogical methods used, and evaluation of the effects. It also proposes that IOM develops methods for obtaining information on how the municipalities experience the integration of the ethnic groups/ nationalities resettled as quota refugees in their municipality to inform the orientation programme.
In addition to internal controls, UDI and IMDI report to the Ministry (AID), and all governmental bodies are subject to general audits. Research projects may also be funded in the process of evaluating the resettlement programme. A research project called "A comparative study of Integration potential as an Additional Selection Criterion for the Resettlement of Refugees" is currently being conducted by an independent researcher.
Norway has developed goals of participation and living conditions, bonding and belonging for adult immigrants. These are:
- have a job and be economically self sufficient
- learn Norwegian and adopt an active and open attitude to Norwegian society
- familiarise themselves with the fundamentals of Norwegian social life
- facilitate the participation in society of children and young people
- experience acceptance of what they are.
No information is available as to how these are to be measured.
The Swedish Integration Board provides an annual report to Parliament. Other than that, evaluations of integration policies take place on a one-off basis (European Parliament 2007).
The UK immigration system is being restructured. A Home Office (2006) paper describes the intentions for the IND and includes comments on auditing, monitoring and performance management:
We will set clear standards for what we expect in our managers and leaders and review our people against these expectations. We will put in place clear lines of accountability and responsibility. Senior officials must work and think in a joined-up and accountable way, and have the confidence, capacity and systems to do so. We will:
- put in place clear lines of accountability and responsibility
- create a new performance management framework to enable a high-performance business
- radically overhaul IND's processes to create consistency across the business by simplifying and standardising, and to focus our efforts on making correct decisions when cases are initially considered
- overhaul processes that rely on other government departments, ensuring that the overall outcome is considered.
The Home Office undertakes a detailed evaluation of the Challenge Fund (CF) and the European Refugee Fund (ERF), looking at every project that receives funding. The main aims of the evaluation are to
- assess the progress of projects in meeting their stated goals, as well as wider impacts they may have
- identify detailed good practice principles and provide plans for their implementation
- identify common obstacles to progress across projects
- understand and assess processes within projects that lead to efficient service delivery
- devise project-specific indicators to allow those running projects to carry out self-assessment
- analyse projects in terms of their costs and benefits
- make proposals for change in project assessment, support and management systems.
As part of a wider evaluation of the schemes, a research company carried out a survey of a selection of project clients in 2002/03. The survey found that the projects it explored had delivered real benefits to their users and were operating effectively in their own terms. It also stressed however that the service users were extremely disadvantaged, even after two or three years of residence in the UK. The findings demonstrated that interventions such as those delivered by the projects funded by the ERF and the CF are vitally needed, but equally pointed to the need to place them within the context of a strategy designed to address all aspects of the problems faced by refugees (Home Office 2005).
Britain has developed a set of indicators which would enable the success or failure of refugee integration to be measured (Home Office 2004). Refugee integration is seen as a set of distinct but interrelated domains, each of which has its own appropriate measurements. The authors note that in using the indicators approach, it is important to be realistic about what feasibly can be achieved.
The indicator framework includes indicators at the practice and policy level in areas of employment, health, education, housing, social bridges (including participation levels), social bonds (sense of identification with a community), social links (engagement with services and political processes), language and cultural knowledge, safety and stability, and rights and citizenship. It identifies possible sources of data for the indicators, including new strategies for collecting information.
Some examples of indicators are:
- the mean length of time before securing employment after being granted refugee status
- employment and unemployment rates of refuges compared with rates among the general population
- proportion of refugees living in owner-occupied or secure tenancy conditions, compared with the general population
- housing occupation/overcrowding for refugee households
- the number of refugees completing vocational qualifications
- proportion of refugees registered with a general practitioner
- immunisation, antenatal care and cervical and breast screening rates compared with the general population
- proportion of refugees reporting regular accessing of English language media
- knowledge of local services and facilities among refugees
- the number of refugees involved in voluntary work in the past month
- the numbers of refugees, and their children, in touch with community organisations (including local groups and wider community life)
- the proportion of refugees taking up British citizenship once they are qualified to do so
- the proportion of refugees reporting racial, cultural or religious harassment.
In developing the framework, the authors found that "friendliness of local people" and "involvement with the local community" were NOT closely associated - with the former being far more influential on reported quality of life. This suggests that for refugees a secure and friendly neighbourhood is different from - and far more important in supporting integration - than social participation with members of that neighbourhood. This informed the development of the range of social indicators in the framework.
The National Strategy for Refugee Integration (Home Office 2005) notes that given the serious challenges faced by members of the refugee community and the relative poverty in which they find themselves, it is unrealistic to aim for them to achieve outcomes against these indicators that match those of the broader UK population. Rather, through these indicators, the government will focus on demonstrating improvements in outcomes for refugees, so that the effectiveness of local projects and policy interventions to remove barriers to integration can be properly assessed, and in order that the circumstances can more closely match those of the people in the communities in which they are living.
Other studies in Britain (Spencer et al 2006) point out that evidence regarding integration outcomes of refugees and new migrants is limited because many studies that consider these groups focus on more broadly defined populations (such as the migrant population as a whole, ethnic minorities or populations defined by country of birth).
As well as standard monitoring of federal expenditure and contracts, the US undertakes an annual survey of refugees who have been in the country less than five years, to assess employment status, economic self-sufficiency and medical and cash assistance. It also collects basic demographic information, such as age and country of origin, level of education, English-language training, job training, labour-force participation, work experience and barriers to employment, for each adult member of the household. Household information on housing, income and welfare use is also collected.
The ORR requires states to establish annual outcome goals aimed at continuous improvement along six outcome measures:
- entered employment
- terminations of cash assistance due to earnings
- reductions in cash assistance due to earnings
- average wage at placement
- job retention
- average wage at placement.
The ORR tracks the cost per job placement as the ratio of the total funds used by the State for employment services divided by the number of refugees entering employment during the year. ORR has also tracked secondary migration of refugees through social security numbers.
The US undertakes an annual survey of refugees who have been in the country less than five years (ACF/ORR 2004). It tracks the progress of refugee newcomers into economic self sufficiency through the voluntary agencies.
A publication aimed at philanthropic organisations that support refugees (Petsod 2006) suggests ways for evaluating initiatives in a range of areas relating to immigrants generally, rather than specifically to refugees. It includes detailed indicators for measuring some desired outcomes. Examples include:
Community planning efforts
- increased involvement of immigrant leaders in decision making
- increased exchange of information and resources across sectors and among organisations and individuals
- better understanding of unique and common concerns and solutions
- increased cross-cultural interaction and understanding, and reduction in prejudices
- changes in the way organisations and leaders work together
- increased and deepened relationships across cultural boundaries
- changes in policies, procedures and practices within participating organisations.
Language access programmes
- increased use of services among immigrants, leading to improved health and self-sufficiency etc
- improved interaction between public agencies and migrants
- higher quality services offered by public agencies and systems
- improved English proficiency
- better job prospects and increased earnings
- improved dynamics in immigrant families
- more responsive systems and services due to improved capacity among immigrants to express and advocate their own needs
- increased engagement in community life.
- an inclusive school environment
- increased school readiness
- improved academic performance
- higher aspirations and hope
- increased access to higher education.
- increased access to effective health education and services
- increased food security
- improved physical health and mental health outcomes
- improved child wellbeing
- improved familial relationships
- increased economic security.
- improved understanding and navigation of economic systems
- increased use of mainstream financial institutions
- increased small business ownership among immigrants
- representation of immigrants in a wider variety of occupations
- increased car and home ownership
- increased employability.
 Korac 2001:38