Latest posts by Garima Ghoshal (see all)
If you ever happen to come across a middle-class citizen, at one point they would confess their desire to go abroad, they fantasise to live the ‘glitzy and glamorous’ lifestyle that they think is available across the borders, in the rich European countries. Some people try to achieve this dream by following the accepted procedure, whereas on the other hand, others end up choosing the alternative options and learn from their mistakes in a hard way.
Motivation is the most influencing factor of a person’s behaviour. So what was the driving force in the lives of these young men that led them to risk their lives? It is very simple- respect, comfort, better lifestyle; something all humans strive for. Illegally migrating to a foreign land is dangerous as well as a criminal offence. This shady business is usually operated by ‘agents’ who charge a lot of money with just an informal promise and words of assurance that they would reach their destination well and good.
People who have had undertaken this gloomy journey recall their horrifying experiences. In order to reach England, they had to undertake a long and fatiguing journey covering several kilometres, just on foot. Without any food or water, they were made to live in horrendous and rundown places for days. A man recalls by saying,“We ate snow for so many days there, our throats were literally sore.” And another man adds, “There were 21 of us, and 2 had already perished due to exhaustion. It was the worse time of my life; I cannot describe it in words.”There is no end to such horrifying accounts; at the end of the day, there was just sorrow, pain, loss, and regret. Even if they made it to the border after the perilous journey, there seemed to be no end to their hardships. Escaping the border security, the goons, extreme weather – It was a complete mess.
Even if they make it to the UK, the struggles seem to be never-ending. Entering the country undocumented, it was nearly impossible for them to get a job. And even if they did, the pay was negligible. They had come into the foreign land with high hopes for their future, but in reality, they were struggling to get through the day. One man says, “Even though my income was quite low back in Pakistan, but at least I lived honourably.”Culture shock is another drastic change in the lives of these people. For them, everything had to be done secretly. They lived in such conditions that they could not even inform their family for the fear of getting themselves and their dear ones embarrassed. The police in the UK have become much stricter with their policies against undocumented people. Once they are arrested, they are herded into detention centres, and their fate hangs in the balance for days, weeks, and sometimes, months in a row.
On the other hand, another gentleman recounts his experience in the UK as a legal immigrant. He too admits that life is not as glamorous as shown in the media; it is difficult to adjust in and one needs to work very hard. He also mentions that being a legally documented visitor, he was helped by several organisations while hunting for a job.Skills and talent are respected and it certainly helps to start a new life.
It is only advisable that if a person does plan to move abroad it should be through the proper and legal channels. Opting to go through illegal channels is equivalent to putting yourself in unnecessary risk, The risk that could easily be avoided. The difference in the quality of life, between moving legally and illegally, is significant as legal immigrants are more likely to secure jobs and maintain the standard of life that they strive for. A number of governments are working to dissipate information and create awareness regarding legal ways of immigration. The UK government, for instance, has provided detailed information on digital platforms such as https://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa that helps create awareness among the masses on the legal procedures. Apart from that, it is the need of the time that independent awareness campaigns are conducted over the social media and other communication channels that raise this issue. Des Pardes is one such initiative that is working toward this goal.