The region’s commitment to establishing a welcoming and supportive environment for newcomers been formally recognised by Immigration New Zealand.
Earlier this week, Invercargill City Council, Gore District Council and Southland District Council, joined four other councils across New Zealand in becoming the first to be accredited as Established Welcoming Communities.
The accreditation marks stage two of Immigration New Zealand’s Welcoming Communities initiative and highlights the commitment of the Southland councils and wider region to adopt the inclusive principles of the programme.
Southland’s Regional Development Agency, Great South, developed, supported, and submitted the joint application on behalf of the three Southland councils, and chief executive Graham Budd said the accreditation was a great win for the region.
“The announcement reflects the collaborative approach and work that has been invested across the region to broaden cultural understanding and awareness to develop suitable welcoming plans that increase connections between locals and newcomers,”
Accreditation as an Established Welcoming Community is stage two of the 4-stage accreditation model and currently involves 10 councils from across New Zealand.
Initially introduced by Immigration New Zealand as a 2-year pilot, the Government confirmed the expansion of the programme to other regions in New Zealand in 2019.
Further progress towards achieving the next two levels of accreditation will be managed in-house by each of the individual councils.
Mr Budd said the initiative was pivotal to attracting and retaining newcomers across and was looking forward to the benefits the initiative would continue to bring for the Southland region