A friend of mine have recently relocated back to China, after living here in New Zealand for about 10 years. Everyday, I get to hear how much pain she is in and how depressed she is. She relocated because her parents want to spend more time with her. And she wanted to do so. She just cannot adapt to the long working hours, poor pay, working culture and the temperature of China.
One of my past life is working as the Settlement Support Coordinator for the Auckland Regional Migrant Services, who is turning 10 on 11th December 2012. ARMS have settled over thousands of newcomers, the technical and proper word for new migrants who have lived in New Zealand for less than 3 years, and new refugees who have lived in New Zealand for less than 5. Only in the last couple of years, Immigration/Department of Labour have also added Expat New Zealanders, due to the economic downturn and the number of Kiwis coming back to New Zealand.
It is not easy job to settle for Kiwis who have been away for many years. ARMS didn’t have a programme for expats. The employment programme is aimed to help new migrants and refugees on how to find jobs in New Zealand. Expats don’t really need that. Nor they can get the mentorship they needed to resettle in New Zealand. Whilst some people say that Kiwis discriminate migrants, some of them also discriminated Kiwis and turned them down because “they have no New Zealand experiences”.
That always make me question – if Kiwi employers are worried about cultural conflicts, why were they worried that Kiwi expats cannot fit into the company’s culture? Or was it just a blanket policy to ban people who have no Kiwi experiences? And how do they ever get Kiwi experiences? It has always been a Catch-22 situation.
I’ve told my friend in China to learn how to settle in the ‘new’ country. She has family and friends there and if she could settle in New Zealand without an English language skills when she first arrived, I am sure she can resettle back in China. A tough time, I know. I had cultural shock when I first started work at ARMS. However I have faith that she can get past it and settle well.
I hope all newcomers, and expats, can enjoy a fantastic Kiwi Christmas this year and get to relax and enjoy some sun. Much needed summer holidays!