Report: Govt failing new NZ immigrants

Report: Govt failing new NZ immigrants

The Auditor-General's office has put the hard word down on Government departments, warning them they need to do a better job of integrating newcomers to our country.

A review three years ago identified a number of areas for improvement, and a follow-up report has now found that progress has been slow on adopting the office's recommendations.

Performance audit manager Gary Emery says seemingly small changes can make a big difference to how well migrants adjust to life in New Zealand.

"That could be as mundane as providing a leaflet for Filipino dairy farmers in Southland, helping to explain the basic law and requirement within this country -- what to do if you're in an emergency situation," he says.

Another issue identified in the report is that we're not doing enough to support the family members of those who come here on work visas.

Mr Emery says the Government needs to do more to teach newcomers about the values of New Zealand society.

"When you come from a country that's culture is completely different, to New Zealand -- people that are coming Southeast Asia, India, or a Middle Eastern country -- our culture can be completely alien and difficult for those people."

The report makes it clear that the responsibility for integrating new migrants falls on all Government departments, and they need to do a better job of working together.

Mr Emery says while people who come here on work visas usually integrate well, it's a different story for their families.

"They settle much easier because they've got that work interaction, but their partners can become very isolated and they can have not a good experience of being in New Zealand."

Mr Emery says a flow-on from that is that they then persuade the original worker to leave New Zealand, meaning we lose out on skilled migration.