|Resettlement of Displaced Population - 1st Edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1995, 60 p.)|
|Part 4: Options of place|
Case Study Addressing Problems in Third Country Resettlement Through Planned Secondary Resettlement (PSR)
Reference: "Planned Secondary Resettlement Program, Getting Refugees Off Public Assistance and Into Jobs", Refugee Reports, Volume XIV, Number 8, August 31,1993
Resettlement for refugees in resource-rich countries does not imply that their recovery is assured. Many refugees who came to the United States resettled in areas where relatives or others with the same nationality or customs were living. They were often unable to find steady employment and were dependent on a monthly welfare check and other types of public assistance to survive. In 1985, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the US implemented a Planned Secondary Resettlement (PSR) Program. The goal of this program was to relocate the resettled families in another part of the country where they could become economically self-sufficient.
At first it was difficult for the ORR to find volunteers who were willing to leave familiar surroundings, but due to the success of the program, a waiting list was required. At the end of 1992, every employable adult resettled through the program was employed. In the early years of the program, however, there were many obstacles. These included the following:
· Resettlers feared leaving the security of the welfare system for the uncertainty of the job market.
· Resettlers were uncertain of funding and support from agencies implementing PSR.
· Some community leaders in the original resettlement location were opposed to breakup of the resettled community.
Steps were taken to overcome these obstacles by publicizing the long-term success of the families who had relocated and by inviting community leaders to visit the new resettlement areas. The five agencies implementing PSR tried to ensure that every family who moved had a positive experience. Families who successfully relocated then referred other families from their former communities to the PSR program. The two major keys to success were the publicity generated by the success of the program and the trust generated by the implementing agencies and their staff.
Most of the resettled persons had been living in California and many were refugees from Laos and Cambodia. They were highly motivated to relocate because they had a desire to work and improve their standard of living, and they were seeking a better environment for themselves and their children. Many relocated in North Carolina, Texas or New York. One family, who fled Laos in 1975 and resettled to the US in 1980, had lived in a one room house in California for nine years, and had been supported by welfare. Members of this family heard about the PSR program through friends who had moved to North Carolina, and they also moved there within a few months. Today, the husband and wife both have full time jobs and have purchased a home. Their teenage children were also able to find jobs.