Who are Refugees?
Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Persecution could be physical violence, harassment and wrongful arrest, or threats to their lives. They take with them only what they can carry, only what they have time to pack. Sometimes all they have left are their dreams, their hopes and the will to survive.
Since the early-1980s more than 7,500 refugees have made New Hampshire their home. Refugees have greatly contributed to our state and local communities. Through their hard work, they have strengthened our economy and their presence has enriched the cultural diversity of New Hampshire.
Refugees come to New Hampshire from more than 30 nations and represent a diverse group of ethnic minorities. For the most part, refugees adjust well to New Hampshire life. They frequently find employment within the first few months of arrival and actively participate in their respective communities. Refugees are eligible to start the naturalization process within five years after arrival.
Many of New Hampshire's refugees live in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Laconia.