Unravelling Indian Migrant Workers’ Perceptions about the Effectiveness of Employment Assistance Programmes in Auckland, New Zealand
Migrant settlement and integration into the New Zealand labour market has been a longstanding concern for government agencies, migrant community groups, and researchers. Numerous initiatives to enable successful settlement have been created but the effectiveness of these initiatives is questionable as migrants continue to face challenges in finding suitable employment. Non-standard work and under-employment are common experiences among new migrants in New Zealand. These experiences are not unique to New Zealand. Studies show that migrants in countries such as Canada and Australia share similar issues. There is also consensus in the literature for the need to consider the migrants’ points of view regarding the effectiveness of settlement initiatives. As few New Zealand studies have taken the migrant perspective into account, this study fills a research gap by looking at the effectiveness of various employment assistance programmes through the eyes of its migrant participants.
The first aim of this study, therefore, was to understand what role an employment assistance programme (EAP) plays in facilitating migrants’ settlement in employment in the host country. The second aim of the study was to determine how effective EAPs are in Auckland, New Zealand. The third aim was to critique the Auckland-based EAPs by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. These aims were addressed through the migrants’ perspectives. In addressing these research aims, a qualitative descriptive interpretive approach was applied to capture the different points of views of the interviewees.
This study found that the EAPs in Auckland are only partially successful in supporting the migrants’ settlement in employment. Despite attending the EAPs, migrants do not find the right employment – employment that is in line with their educational qualifications and prior work experience. Although the EAPs provide useful labour market information, their effect on reduction of barriers is negligible.
Through its findings, this study provides insights for improvement of the current EAPs and offers a starting point for future evaluative migrant-centred research.