What strategies can help newcomers with social integration?

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Evidence Summary
December 2022

There is strong evidence that peer mentoring and support groups with established immigrants can support social integration of recently arrived newcomers from the same ethnic group.

  • Studies show that peer support groups provide needed social capital and resource sharing to recently arrived refugees and other newcomers.

There is moderate evidence that peer mentoring with host community members can support newcomers’ social integration.

  • Mentoring is one way to build relationships with members of the host community. It provides opportunities for newcomers to 1) develop social capital for resource attainment, 2) understand new cultural norms related to work and play, and 3) gain a sense of belonging within their new community.

There is some evidence that encouraging newcomers to volunteer supports their social integration, but this practice may be exploitative and should be used with caution.

  • Volunteerism may provide opportunities for relationship building; however, it is important to keep in mind potential exploitative components. Some newcomers do not see volunteering as having a benefit to them, so it is important to discover what each population or individual wants and needs.
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