No matter whether you are planning for immigration or you are already an immigrant, it’s essential to gather as much information as you can, to understand the potential challenges you may face. Acknowledging there would be barriers in your way, is the first step in being a successful immigrants. In this article, we will look at some of those challenges and later, in a series of articles we will look at some of the solutions to tackle them.
It is no surprise that the greatest barrier to integration into the host country is low language proficiency. Your ability in expressing your thoughts and needs, affects every aspects of your life. Language is a key communication indicator, which has a big impact on how others assess your general proficiency. Without a sufficient knowledge of official language in your host country, all your technical skills, qualifications and, experiences could be underestimated.
2. Unrealistic expectations
To many immigrants, the foreign countries are the “land of prosperity and wealth for all”. Although prosperity may be more attainable in a developed country, you need to be aware that you, and ONLY you, must work hard to achieve your dreams. You may have heard of welfare and unemployment support systems in some countries, however, be aware not to develop unrealistic expectations. It’s wrong to assume that your presence in the host country means entitlement to its benefits. In most cases, the benefits are only available to citizens and permanent residency visa holders (or green card holders). Nevertheless, in some countries legitimate refugees are usually eligible for a limited financial support.
3. Finding an adequate job
Quite often, not all your credentials and work experiences are recognised in the host country. Lack of local work experience accompanied by language barrier, makes it incredibly hard to break through this obstacle. This is especially frustrating for well-educated immigrants, who had higher level positions back home and, struggle to find the same jobs in their new country. This can impose financial constraints to the immigrant families, especially if they don’t have any investment or financial support back home.
4. Psychological issues
Immigrants face varied mental health challenges. Not having the support of family and friends, post-traumatic stress for refugees, isolation, loneliness and adapting to life in a country with different values, can cause depression and other mental health issues for immigrants.
5. Discrimination and racism
In the current anti-immigrant climate, many immigrants are facing negative stereotypes in the host communities. This is a key obstacle to the full integration of immigrants into their new country. Even skilled immigrants are facing mistrust and discrimination in the job market because of their race, skin color, language skills and their religion. For example, researchers in Australia and Canada have found evidence of substantial discrimination against applicants with foreign names, especially asian and middle-eastern names.