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Refugee regional settlement: romance and reality

  • Year: 2005
  • Author: Janet Taylor
  • Journal Name: Brotherhood Comment
  • Country: Australia

Both the Federal and the State Governments have been developing policies to encourage immigrants and refugees to settle in regional areas, to assist the newcomers in gaining employment and to build regional economies. However, the policy objectives associated with regional settlement of refugees, namely humanitarian goals and obligations, population strategy and regional economic development, are not necessarily congruent. This article summarises the refugee settlement process and identifies issues of concern associated with regional settlement of refugees. Refugee resettlement programs need to consider whether regional communities can meet refugees' special needs arising from the refugee experience, offer real employment choices and access to support services, and have the capacity to build ties with newcomers of different cultural backgrounds. A study of the experiences of two refugee groups, Iraqis and Sudanese, in selected areas of regional Victoria, should provide further insights into the issues associated with refugee settlement in regional areas.

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