Greater Emphasis on Early Employment and Better Monitoring Needed in Indochinese Refugee Resettlement Program

HRD-83-15: Published: Mar 1, 1983. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Federal and State refugee assistance programs authorized under the Refugee Act of 1980, concentrating on the initial resettlement services provided by voluntary agencies under Department of State auspices and social services funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

GAO found that many interrelated problems have prevented Indochinese refugees from achieving the act's goal of self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. Foremost among these problems has been the continued placement of most refugees in a few locations in the United States and the lack of employment assistance given to newly arrived refugees. Other problems which have seriously affected the goals of the act include: (1) limited monitoring by volunteer agencies to ensure that refugees receive services needed to help them become self-sufficient; and (2) fragmented Federal management of the resettlement program and poor program direction and oversight. GAO noted that welfare dependency for Indochinese refugees has been high and has occurred almost immediately upon arrival; these high rates are apt to continue unless refugees are resettled in areas conducive to their attaining quick self-sufficiency and more emphasis is placed on early employment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should specify in the funding agreement that voluntary agencies will place high priority on job development and placement assistance for refugees and on monitoring refugees' progress toward self-sufficiency.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of HHS should monitor and assess the services provided through the Office of Refugee Resettlement social service funding to assure greater emphasis on job development and placement services to newly arriving refugees and that emphasis is given to employment concurrent with training to the extent possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should require the Bureau of Refugee Programs to undertake program and financial monitoring on an ongoing basis and to assure that periodic audits of voluntary agencies' activities are performed.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should comply with the requirement of the Refugee Act of 1980 which requires the voluntary agencies to submit proposals as a requisite to being funded for providing initial reception and placement services to refugees.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should revise funding agreements with voluntary agencies to clarify the activities that the agencies and their affiliates are expected to provide under those agreements versus activities using their own resources, those of local sponsors, or other Federal resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

 

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