Why long-term welfare beneficiaries? : a study of barriers to employment for refugees from the Horn of Africa living in Auckland : a thesis submitted to fulfil the requirements of the degree of Master of Philosophy in Public Policy, Massey University

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The rationale for writing this thesis was prompted by years of working with displaced people and refugees in Africa. Though the African people north of the equator are generally regarded as transient people, very few move beyond the boundaries of the continent of Africa. The instability of the political and socio-economic conditions on the continent has exacerbated the current volatile cycle of poverty and human instability. The effects of the political and socio-economic conditions have resulted in a huge displacement of people and the emergence of refugees. Few refugees are able to be identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for resettlement outside Africa, while others take the courageous step of fleeing and seeking refuge on another continent as asylum seekers. In 1960 New Zealand ascribed to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of refugees and actively participated in a refugee quota programme and allowed asylum seekers to apply for refugee status. In an endeavour to answer the question "why long-term welfare beneficiaries" in relation to African people, this thesis analysed the integration process of African people and sought to establish what domestic or public policies impact or influence the settlement and integration of refugees and asylum seekers in New Zealand. While there are many factors that influence successful integration, however this study identifies barriers to sustainable employment as one of the major contributors. The literature review and the outcome of the research undertaken showed that barriers to employment do exist for refugees and asylum seekers. The literature review analyses the legal aspect that defines a refugee and also outlines the process followed for the determination of quota refugees. The review further describes the journey of the study population to New Zealand. New Zealand has an established welfare system therefore the study traces the discourse within welfare history and policy that relate to the criteria and obligations under which benefits are granted to refugees and asylum seekers. It is argued that present jobseeker agreements and work test provisions when agreed upon does assist the development and work readiness of the refugee and asylum seeker and does not contribute to long-term welfare beneficiaries. It is concluded that the absence of an overarching national domestic or public policy on settlement and integration could contribute to long-term welfare beneficiaries (as defined in the welfare policy of the Ministry for Social Development). In conclusion, policy changes to certain aspects of the Social Security Act 1964, language training, organs of civil society intervention and employer interaction need to be addressed in relation to refugees from the Horn of Africa living in New Zealand to allow them to become employable in a shorter period of time.
Refugee services, Immigrant services, African refugees, Refugee resettlement, Asylum seekers, New Zealand, Refugees, New Zealand, Refugees, Auckland