There are a lot of problems that immigrants face in the UK. This is in addition to the struggles that they experience from moving to a completely new location, one that they may not know a lot about, and they may be alone or with family. Immigrants across the globe can experience similar challenges and it can be argued that some countries may be easier to settle into then others.
In general, there are some strong opinions that people living in the UK have about people coming to the UK. Many argue that immigrants take advantage of the benefits that we offer here in the UK and think life is better, whereas others understand that people are trying to escape from the dire situations that may be occurring in their own country. I do not have an opinion on this topic, as it is all too controversial, but I think there is a universal agreement that when people decide to emigrate to the UK, there are many challenges for them. In my opinion, there are three main challenges that they face, and this has a huge impact on their quality of life.
Children do not seem to do as well
This may seem obvious, but this is something which is part of a much bigger issue. Children who emigrate to the UK with their family are placed in schools within the UK (relatively) easily. This is a great opportunity for them and allows them to have a great education and future, something which may not have happened in their country of origin.
Depending on their age, it would be difficult for these children to do well in school if there is a language barrier and they are not able to engage in class like their classmates do. As a result, they are not able to learn as much or do as well on all the testing, even if they are extremely smart. I know that many schools have trained teachers or teaching assistants who are able to deal with these situations and provide special assistance, but with classes as large as 30, these children do not get the amount of attention they deserve/need.
This is of course not the case with all immigrant children, and many excel, but for those who do not, they are less likely to remain motivated and pursue further education and secure a job. Not being able to speak English in the UK, or very good English, or not obtaining good grades on your GCSE’s and A-Levels can be a real set back and can hinder employment. With regards to this being a part of a bigger issue, we can all consider the psychological effects/financial effects unemployment can have on an individual and the financial effects it can have for a country.
Unemployment → Poverty
Above, I have discussed the challenges the children in an immigrant family may face, but this is mostly predictive and may not actually be the case as time goes on and the potential of better accommodations being made for these children so they can excel. However, for the parents, there is often a big struggle when they come to the UK because they may have nothing. Often, they do not have a house, they do not have family who already reside in the UK, they have very little money and no job prospects. Immigrants are often commended on their passion to work and that includes any menial work which will provide an income for their families. But as time goes on and workplace employment laws become stricter, this is much harder for them.
Like I mentioned earlier, being unemployed can be detrimental to one’s psychological health in general, let alone if it is an immigrant who has no security for themselves or their family. They may be forced to live on the streets, eat scraps and have a poor quality of life until they can get the necessary help that they need. Although everyone has this impression that benefits are easy to get, there is a somewhat difficult procedure that needs to be followed and can take some time, so until then, or unless they secure some work, their lives can be extremely challenging.
There is not enough space
There are many articles that address the UK as being ‘too full up’. Although this is definitely a challenge for the UK, this also becomes a challenge for immigrant families too. The lack of ‘space’ directly impacts the amount of services available and the amount of help that can actually be given. There is an extreme shortage of housing in the UK and the list of people who require housing is much larger than what is available. People who are born in the UK struggle to escalate to the top of this list and therefore so do immigrants. Many immigrants have come with nothing and really do rely on the help of the Government and at the moment there just is not enough to get around. This once again links to my previous points as these people live in poverty, children are not able to do as well at school without a stable home environment and this has also been argued to impact crime rates.
To conclude this blog post, I think at times it is important to consider the challenges that immigrants face when they come here to the UK. As I have discussed, there is a lot more than this to consider, and this is becoming a rising issue that the UK is trying to address, however this is not what I am trying to do here. The challenges mentioned are similar to challenges that people who are born in the UK experience too so this highlights how difficult it can really be. As an immigrant, if you come to the country with nothing and hope to build everything, there will be many challenges before you become settled. This really applies to anybody who emigrated from one country to another and for whatever reason.