Flagged off in 2017 as a pilot project in 10 Councils and five regions, the NZ Welcoming Communities Programme has gone from strength to strength in building a complete, inclusive, and friendly environment for everyone to live in.
Along with various Work and NZ Visitor Visa extensions, this project aims to promote New Zealand as a favorable land for people worldwide.
The most daunting challenge was presented to the NZ Welcoming Programme during the 1st wave of Coronavirus Epidemic (2020), but like a knight in shining armor, the members and volunteers of this initiative overturned mountains to reach out to the migrant workers, students, and refugee communities in trying times and helped all individuals who were stuck in NZ.
New Zealand has been praised internationally in all press circles and television channels for their practical and swift handling and containment of the coronavirus epidemic.
Another news that made the headlines was the manner and urgency in which the Government of New Zealand worked to protect the migrant workers, prevent their exploitation and enforce that they are provided with basic amenities.
The local administration, the Government of NZ, and the Welcoming Community Programme worked hand in hand to counter the threats of the virus, solve the migrant worker question together and set a vibrant example for all other nations to follow.
The Welcoming Community Standard
The very beating heart of the Welcoming Community Programme is the Welcoming Communities Standard (the Standard), which provides the local and regional council and communities with an ideological guideline and a benchmark for what a thriving, inclusive environment and friendly community should look like.
All stakeholders, agencies, councils, and district boards involved in the project co-designed the Standard together. The people of the country also polled their opinion through a nationwide consultation.
The outcome was the identification of 8 key areas which was deemed instrumental for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.
Acceptance and adherence to The Standard enable the participating council and communities to:
- benchmark their policies, services, programs, and activities
- directed through their Welcoming Plan activities
- assess progress over time
The Eight Elements of the Standard
As mentioned before, during the inception of The Standard, eight key areas were identified, targeted, and periodically assessed to generate a positive outcome.
These eight elements are:
Local and regional communities, councils, administrations, and other community leaders work in fusion to create, foster, and propagate a warm and welcoming community.
They exchange ideas, incorporate various points and lead a “shared plan” to increase the connectivity level between existing residents and newcomers or residents and migrant workers/students/refugees.
Humans across caste, race, gender, creed, nationality, religion, and sexuality should feel included, listened to, and given a platform to speak and raise their voices or even speak up, keeping in mind that every individual has different communication needs.
Equal opportunities and easy access to services and activities; participation in the community and local projects are available to all, including newcomers, students, foreign nationals, migrant and skilled workers.
Connected and Inclusive Communities
The only way to build an inclusive community is by garnering the feeling of safety among its members and extending the same feel to everyone who lives there.
Humans feel safe in a community where they can connect with people in absolute trust and understanding despite their cultural background or identity. The trust levels and understanding don’t have to be forced if it is organically planned out.
Economic Development, Business, and Employment
Communities exponentially capitalize and harness the opportunities brought economically by newcomers, students, refugees, migrants, and skilled workers. The local administration and the council works with the business enterprises, big industries, other sectors to promote the
'contribution that newcomer business owners and skilled migrants make to the region’s economy.'
Civic Engagement and Participation
With a planned and systematic approach to the introduction of a newcomer to the residential culture, habits, and backgrounds, slowly the newcomer would start to identify with the aspirations and values of the community and actively participate in all civic engagements thus, removing the ‘newcomer’ ‘resident’ barrier and take a prospective step towards universal brotherhood.
Welcoming Public Spaces
In a friendly, warm, and welcoming community, all newcomers would start to feel welcome and comfortable in public spaces, thus blending into the lifestyle of the land.
The people who start living recently in NZ would be greeted in public spheres by people who help them. It would definitely foster the community spirit in him/her.
Culture and Identity
The gift of culture and identity to humankind is that it can be shared and appreciated across barriers. People would feel at home if their culture is respected and valued by other community members, and it would lead to more opportunities to learn about each other.
If you have any queries regarding the operation and overall functioning of the NZ Welcoming Communities Program, book a consultation with our experts. Our NZ immigration advisors are highly qualified and well-versed in every matter to guide you properly.
Armed with the tenets of The Standard, a general desire to embody the positive aspects of humankind, the local community, and administration – the Welcoming Communities Programme stands as the perfect example to indoctrinate migrants into a community and make them feel at home, loved, and welcome.
The qualities of understanding, friendship, acceptance, and freedom - if it is extended from one community, the people from different communities would feel more included, and the ultimate fight for the Welcoming Communities project is to build a world where inclusivity is stressed above everything else.
If you have any queries regarding your steps to be a part of the NZ Welcoming Communities Program, book a consultation with our experts. Our NZ immigration advisors are highly experienced and well-versed in every matter related to NZ immigration and can walk you through the entire process.