Free Q&A session for migrants

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by Alexia Johnston

Migrants will get a chance to have their questions answered in Waimate next week.

An immigration officer will visit the district to answer questions on October 31, in a move to assist the large group of migrants now living in the area.

Aoraki Migrant Centre manager Rosie Knoppel was supporting the concept to ensure all answers and advice would be provided to those in need by someone who was legally able to do so.

“If you can’t plan your future ahead, there’s a lot of distress. You want to know where to go to buy a house, or rent a house, or what school your kids can go to.” – migrant centre manager Rosie Knoppel

“The reason we are doing this is because we [are often] contacted by migrants from that area. As we are not allowed to give immigration advice [through the Aoraki Migrant Centre], we thought it was important to connect them with an immigration adviser,” Mrs Knoppel said.

“She will give them an overview [and] explain the situation … what opportunities they have and the current legislation.

“So, everyone who is a migrant and has questions can come.”

While she did not know exactly how many migrants now call the Waimate district their home, she understood there was a reasonably large community.

“In Waimate we have a number of migrant workers on farms [in the] Kurow and Waimate areas [and] there’s no immigration advice for them there.”

The aim was to make life easier for those people so they had every opportunity to settle into the community without doubt.

“If you can’t plan your future ahead, there’s a lot of distress. You want to know where to go to buy a house, or rent a house, or what school your kids can go to.”

The ultimate aim is to help migrants make informed decisions and take up opportunities they might not otherwise have known were available to them.

Anyone with questions can visit the Waimate Event Centre for the free service from 11am to 2pm on October 31.