Refugee Settlement Priorities Research


The main objectives of the research project were to better understand the challenges faced by refugees in Surrey, the processes they have to go through and the settlement service infrastructure supporting their settlement and integration. Additionally, the goal was to explore potential solutions to address the settlement services/infrastructure gaps identified in the research and consultations.

Research and Consultations

The OCOV Advisory committee comprised of 22 community stakeholders guided the development and implementation of the project. A total of 12 Research Assistants -3 SFU students, 2 KPU students and 7 community RAs – were hired for the project. The 7 community RAs were themselves refugees and came from Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq and El Salvador.

A literature review was completed and shared with stakeholders during a community consultation day held on May 7th, 2015. A total of 65 participants from refugee and immigrant agencies, local government, healthcare, academia and recent refugees came together to review the literature, discuss current practices, and explore strategies for enhancing services.

A total of 16 focus groups (with 104 total participants) were held during in the Fall of 2015. Focus groups were conducted with recent refugees – both youth and adult – across 5 distinct cultural groups – Karen, Arabic, Spanish, Swahili and Spanish (South America). Additionally, focus groups were held with diverse classifications of service providers (i.e., frontline staff who work directly with refugees, front-line staff who work only in-directly with refugees, City of Surrey leaders and sectorial leaders).

Research and focus group results were shared with the group of stakeholders at the last community consultation event that took place in March 2016 at Surrey City Hall.