Migration to Canterbury is at an all-time high as the rebuild workforce continues to grow. The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce (CECC) has, for several years, been contracted by Immigration NZ (INZ) to deliver its Settlement Support programme to help businesses who employ new migrant staff. Recently, the national INZ model for this service has changed but CECC’s programme for businesses still provides the resources and advice employers need to ensure new migrants to Christchurch settle in quickly. This introduction to CECC’s Annual Report for its Skilled Migrant Business Services, formerly Settlement Support, tells a timely story of our region’s growing migrant population:
In many ways, SSNZ Christchurch (CHC) has been a test case for seeing how the new national SSNZ model can and should work. The one-to-many group approach is effective, which is important given the sheer numbers of both new migrants to our region and the organisations that employ them.
Thousands of new migrants and their employers-- including managers, supervisors, HR practitioners and that all-important role in the construction sector, foreman -- have accessed the service through SSNZ Chch’s events and resources. Evaluations of the service’s events provide evidence of just how helpful and relevant these are to both new migrants and employers, and informal feedback has been collated to provide an indication of the breadth of the service to businesses in Canterbury.
Nearly 1000 newcomers and over 300 employers have had direct contact with the service over the past year, through attendance at our seminars and workshops, meetings, and enquiries. These figures do not include those who were recipients of direct emails, newsletters, mailouts or promotional material, or who read or listen to our many promotional activities such as the Lane Neave newsletter and Canterbury Cultures on Plains FM radio.
The Monthly Newcomers’ Event – now in its third year – regularly attracts 40-80 new migrants and their families, with a record 182 attending this year’s Kiwi Christmas party. A seminar to inform new Filipino workers about their employment rights and processes in NZ attracted over 100 new migrants, while 134 supervisors, foreman, managers, and HR practitioners benefitted from in-depth INZ settlement information through our employer workshops.
A new newsletter for employers of migrants was initiated during this period to better utilise the business networks the service has established and to promote the INZ resources, tools, events, and immigration and settlement news and tips.
The employment of a second SSNZ Coordinator this year has extended both the depth and breadth of the service for both newcomers and employers. While events, enquiries, and information distribution are managed responsively and with a high quality, more strategic and higher level work can also be addressed through the service.
I am confident that this report provides a solid basis of evidence and analysis that INZ/MBIE can use to demonstrate that the new approaches we have set up in Christchurch – some of which are now part of SSNZ’s new model – are effective in achieving INZ’s settlement outcomes.