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Migrant experiences in the time of COVID-19: A survey report by Belong Aotearoa

Amplifying voices of our marginalised communities enables diverse perspectives and experiences to be heard and therefore help shape our understanding of issues and solutions that are truly transformative and regenerative. COVID-19 offered a pressing opportunity for Belong Aotearoa to further look at the plight of newcomer communities and amplify their voices. A first phase of our wider research, this report covers the findings from a “COVID-19 Impact on Migrant Communities in New Zealand Survey” we undertook in September 2020. It focuses on the responses of 160 recent migrants, currently living in Auckland, sharing their lived experiences in the time of COVID.

The findings presented in this report highlight the vulnerability of recent migrants in Aotearoa New Zealand during a global crisis; and the systemic barriers to a positive settlement journey that existed pre-COVID yet to be fully addressed. Both creating a more complex environment to navigate during extraordinary times.

Based on our findings, migrant experiences during COVID are encapsulated by what we term as the ‘4Rs’, namely:

Risks to well-being;

Re-rooting and re-routing of racism;

Restricted access to COVID-related support and information;

Reskilling, relocation, if not, re-migration.

Suggestions for the type of support or initiatives needed by the respondents to manage the impact of COVID are wide-ranging, the main themes being financial and job support; information and communication support; psycho-social support; education and training support; and visa and legal support.

In response to what has been shared by our respondents, we conclude this report with an open invitation to have a conversation around and collaborate on developing a ‘whole-of-society’ approach for positive change and building a better future.

As a first step to this approach, Belong Aotearoa intends to bring survey findings to different spaces and share widely to stakeholders as a way of communicating community insights, raising awareness on lived experiences of migrants and calling for collective action for meaningful impact.

While this survey report only scratches the surface, it has identified a need to

address the difficulties collectively shared for our collective wellbeing. As respondents gave their feedback on the the survey, we are challenged not only to listen to their voices but to take action and work together to rebuild a thriving Aotearoa where empathy is embedded at the core.

The report can be downloaded and read from here:

Research Report 2021
Download PDF • 3.65MB


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