Problems of Immigration

Immigration – the voluntary movement of people from one country to another – has many purposes. Usually, it refers to people of one country searching for better economic opportunities in another country, or seeing a more culturally and socially comfortable environment in the host nation. The availability of work, as well as the absence of persecutions, has been the main factors of major immigration waves of many German, British and French nationals into the United States of America, during the first half of the nineteenth century. These factors caused the emigration of South Asians to Australia, in the latter half of the twentieth century (Bischoff, 2010). Still, along with the benefits that immigration can sometimes provide to the economy of hosting states, various issues associated with this social phenomenon also exists. Problems can arise for an individual as well as for the whole host nation. For example, problems can result from cultural and religious differences, causing negative economic and social consequences.

The most complex set of problems is represented by cultural and religious differences that may vary greatly, depending on the region. A person, who moves to another country, will most likely face a set of problems which may appear insurmountable, at first glance. This includes differing languages, practices, and discrepancies in value sets. These problems often multiply if the immigrant does not speak the language of the host country. In this case, the immigrant’s limited ability to communicate often results in various misunderstandings, and the impossibility to quickly grasp new sets of norms. Even when an immigrant learns the language, he or she may not be able to understand or accept cultural elements that are dominant in the new surroundings, and may find it difficult to assimilate with the host population. Besides, religious practices of an immigrant and the hosting nation may differ to a large extent, so that conflicts become almost inevitable. Therefore, when immigrants face dilemmas, should they keep their faith or adopt the one of the state to where they have moved? Some religious practices are associated with differing standards of human rights, such as the wearing of the veil, and hence become barriers to integration (Baumgartl & Favell, 1995).

Cultural factors may also play a significant role in immigration, from the viewpoint of the host nation. Even in cases when the society is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, immigrants insisting on keeping their beliefs and values may give rise to conflicts and tensions. To overcome this challenge, a number of nations have adopted different social policies and immigration restrictions. They all have one common feature: an insistence that immigrants become closely acquainted with the history and language of the country to where they move. These are known as citizenship or integration tests (Van Oers, Ersboll & Kostakopoulou, 2010).

Though immigrants often change a place of living in a pursuit of a better life, work conditions in a new place often pose as a major problem for them. Despite the fact that an immigrant can meet all requirements of the adopting country, they may face hostility from the local population, which often has a xenophobic cultural history, on the idea that immigrants take away the working places of the representatives of the host nation. Even employers may prefer local workers, knowing that they will be able to relate to the organization’s culture more easily and create a more cohesive workforce. Since immigrants usually do not have acquaintances and lack money, they often do not have the ability to travel around the host country in search of jobs that match their skill sets.

Another problem linked to large scale immigration is that the host state literally adopts a significant number of the mostly semi-skilled immigrating population. Since immigrants are often eager to work for much lower salaries just to sustain themselves, the influx of large numbers of such laborers often drives down wages in job markets. In turn, this may give a rise to ghetto-like conditions, especially in port cities. Poor immigrants often settle together in the down towns and uncomfortable areas of the cities. As a rule, problems with law and order do not hesitate to follow. Thus, local government may be forced to provide additional measures of protecting legal order and economic welfare to mitigate the circumstances of the newcomers. Altogether, this also gives a rise to xenophobia among the host population, thus hindering assimilation and further attempts to establish a harmonious coexistence (Triandafyllidou & Gropas, 2007).

In conclusion, it may be observed that immigration, while economically attractive, poses severe challenges for both the immigrants and the host nation. One can point out severe problems connected with differences in culture and religion, antagonistic sets of values, and the limited ability to communicate. Besides, immigrants can cause negative impacts on economy and social relationships in the host country. However, movement of populations across borders is a global phenomenon, and it will continue in the foreseeable future.”


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