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Immigrants and Refugees

An immigrant is a person who moves from one country to another. The difference that exists between the nature of movements made by immigrants from other movements is that immigrant move from their country of origin to another with the intent of establishing a permanent settlement. Therefore, getting to a country does not make one an immigrant but rather the reason behind determines (Australia 2001). This may in some cases include forfeiting one’s citizenship in one country to become a citizen in a different country.


There are various ways through which an individual may obtain an immigrant status. This, however, may differ across countries depending on the constituted laws of each country. One way through which one may become an immigrant is when he/she is a family member to a citizen in a given country. Another way is when a country falls short of a given skill or qualification that are thought to be necessary for the welfare of the nation. In such a case, an individual who may possess such qualification may be allowed to come and settle permanently in to the country. Also, one may be allowed to become an immigrant where he seeks for refuge or asylum. In this case, however, the immigrants need to prove imminent danger that he exposed to if he returns to his place of origin (Northern Suburbs Migrant Resource Centre 2000).

An expatriate is a person who lives in a country different from which he has citizenship. Quite often, people from the Western nation who move to non-Western countries such as Asia, Australia, South America or even Africa are perceived as expatriate (Australia 2007). An expatriate differs from an immigrant in the sense that, the former has no intension to establish a permanent residence in the new country. In case an expatriate establish a permanent residence in the new country, they hold into their native citizenship for any practical purposes. Expatriates are generally viewed negatively by the native in their new residence and their place of origin. They are sometimes referred to expatriots from their country of origins because they are seen to have less sense of patriotism. In their destination, they are perceived negatively because they do not contribute to the tax base and may never get full integrated into the local culture (Martin 1983).


An exile is a situation where an individual is perceived to have forfeited his right to stay in his place of residence. Here, an individual stays away from his place of origin, having been explicitly denied the right to go back or even threatened with some sort of punishment such as imprisonment in case he returns. An exile could be external or internal. In some cases, refugee and diaspora are used in the description of exile groups; forced and voluntary. However, an immigrant is perceived to be forced than voluntarily (Australia 2006). An asylum-seeker refers to an individual who may apply for material assistance and protection as a refugee in a different country because of fear of persecution.


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A refugee refers to an individual or a group of people who are victims of situations and events that are beyond their control. These circumstances may include natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Other reasons may include violence, persecution and war. In general, a refugee is a person characterized by well-founded fear of maltreatment based on nationality, race, politics, religion or membership in a particular social group. Their fate is substantially susceptible to lukewarm observance by the host people in their country of destination. In case a refuge is sought internally, he is referred to internally displaced people (IDP). The big difference of this group of people from the immigrants is that, refugees are more than willing to return into their place of origin as long as a state of normalcy is achieved from their places of origin. Those refugees who return to their place of origin are referred to returnees (Australia 2003).


A skilled immigrant refers to an individual who banks heavily on his skills and professional qualification or the kind of experience that he is likely to experience in the host country. Contrary to a refugee and an exile, a skilled immigrant benefits from preferential treatment with respect to his admission into the host country. In any case, a skilled immigrant is exposed to fewer constraints with regard to the period of stay, family reunification and employments.


Experience of people who leave their country for others depending on the category they belong to. As noted above, there are various reasons why people move to settle in a different country permanently or temporarily. The majority of people who get to Australia is asylum seekers. They get into the country by boats carrying the cultures and norms of their places of origin with them. Generally, they are in search of protection level that may not prevail in the country they fled into (Iredale 1983).

The most widespread challenge the asylum seekers face is means for living. As it is dictated by the refugee culture and public policy, parents have to meet the basic requirements for their family as well as help their family to settle in the country of destination. The main risk that they are exposed to is the risk of being arrested for illegal work. Being illegal asylum seekers, they face the threat of exploitation, without any right report to the authority.

Education level and general illiteracy are other factors that determine the experience they are likely to get. As opposed to the old people who may find it difficult to learn a new language, young people have a better chance to learn new languages and hence a means of socialization: a necessity in the globalized world (Australia 2008). For this reason, a role-reversal phenomenon is being observed among the asylum seekers in Australia. Youths with the ability to interact with the host natives, are able to help families in access to health care, education, housing, employment and shopping among other services. Such parenting role of the children is perceived with contempt by the natives.

Refugees and asylum seekers have a challenge of intergenerational conflict. This occurs when parents play a lesser role in acting as role models to their children and influencing what type of culture to hold to. Parents would like their children to adopt culture and roles from their country of origin, but it seems more preferable for the young people to adopt the Australian roles and values. The two expectations leave the young people torn between two pressures doubting which to choose.

Generally, youth services in Australia have their focus on the youth, as opposed to their parents. Key thing here is culture trafficking and their implication to the youths living in the country. But parents lack the need to let their children benefit from such services. However, these services have proved to be beneficial for the minors such as Afghans who in most cases get into the country without parents but under the help of DoCS.

Immigrants and refugees face the challenge of reconciling their education experience in their home country with that of their country of origin. The newly arrived immigrants have to enroll in the Local Intensive English Centers to have their proficiency in English assessed before they are admitted in high schools. Here, they receive detailed English tuition with the aim of making them as well-off as the natives. The main challenge in this is that, some of them may have spent too much time in refugee camps to attend to any school.

Immigrants and refugees are characterized by a lot of health issues. They experience low immunization, sexual torture, disabilities and injuries sustained from wars and depression and other maltreatment. They, however, experience challenges in their need for healthcare due to the language barrier, cultural barriers and financial constraints. Sometimes they also lack necessary information about the existing programs, which facilitates health provision. Some of them may dissimulate some events that may have caused health problems.

A young Australian is an active sportsman. However, refugees and immigrants find it difficult to engage in such social events. This is because sometimes the sport differs from what the aliens are used to and also they have other things to worry about than to commit the little resources they have to sports. They also lack information regarding sporting association (Australia 2009).
Refugees and immigrants are very cautious on gender issues. In most cases, it works against young women who may be denied to associate in activities where young men are present. These restrictions are given them by the parents based on their cultural and religious values.. However, as they continue interacting, such beliefs and values are not paid attention to. A good example is a lady from Muslim religion who is expected to wear long clothes and not to talk with males without a family member by.


In conclusion, the other challenge which the refugees and immigrants in Australia face is the lack of sense of identity, safety and ability to start and trustworthy relationships. This is the result of traumatic events that they may have experienced while growing up. Such experiences leave them with sadness, low self-esteem, emotional numbness, survivor guilt, intrusive thoughts and aggressive outburst. Such things make it difficult to harmonize cultural behavior with the natives due to lack of necessary interactions. Having witnessed or experienced torture from the militia in their homeland, immigrants and refugees live with fear of security officers, CityRail Transit Officers and police. This hinders integration and hence cultural changes between the alien and the natives.


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