I work with refugees and do some consulting for some organizations working with immigrants.
I would say, most refugees are in the country because their country or situation is unsafe. They have no choice, and when they are in the country, most of them are grateful just to be there.
Like refugees, many migrant workers are also very grateful to be in the host countries because they can get higher salaries. In most cases, a few years of work can allow them to buy a house or start a business in their home countries.
I’ve spoken to many migrant workers who have worked overseas. Most of them still have fond memories of the countries they worked in. For example, I’ve a friend who worked in Singapore in construction for 10 years and returned to Bangladesh where he had enough money to buy a house and start a small shop selling portable solar light and chargers.
He was one of the fortunate ones who managed to find an ethical agent to get to Singapore without paying too much and taking up heavy loans to come. Even though his salary was S$17 a day, he managed to save up S25,000 after 10 years to return home and start his new life.
In Bangladesh, these stories attract many people to leave their villages to risk their lives for a better life. However, they do not hear the stories of exploitation which are far too common, and many don’t even make enough to pay for their debts.
However, I feel that economic migrants and refugees and immigrants who choose to be citizens are very different. Their view of a country is a safe place to be, and it make sense to be there as it benefits them. But once the safety is gone or the benefit of having a job is gone, they would find another country to be in.
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I’ve a friend who was from India, and he became a citizen in 2018. He has nothing but praises to day about Singapore. He was last in India in 2000 and always compare Singapore today to India in 2000, so he loves the “stable energy supply” and “24x7” streetlights on every street. Similarly, one of my classmates that was originally from China and now a Singaporean also have nothing but praises.
Strangely, when I complain about some of the government website which are down for maintenance every…