Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Do You Want to Migrate Abroad for a “Better Life”...?

DO YOU WANT TO MIGRATE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY FOR A “BETTER LIFE”…?
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

WHY DO PEOPLE MIGRATE…?

People migrate for multifarious reasons. 

In a nutshell – the various reasons for migration can be categorized into “Push Factors” and “Pull Factors”.

Push Factors = Survival Migration

“Push Factor Migration” is “Survival Migration” – where people are “forced” to migrate – due to danger to life/limb because of war/conflict – or – inability to survive due to lack of food and bare necessities of life.

Such migrants who seek asylum in other countries when their life is endangered – or persons who migrate to escape from extreme poverty and deprivation – are called “Refugees”.

The present European Migrant Crisis is an example of “Push Factor” migration where refugees are fleeing from war-torn countries and seeking asylum in peaceful countries.

History is replete with examples of such “push factor survival migration” due to war, religious/political persecution, genocide, ethnic cleansing, safety/security issues, natural disasters/calamities, famines, droughts, floods etc.

Pull Factors = “Better Life” Migration

“Pull Factor Migration” is “Choice Migration” – where people “choose” to migrate for a “better life”.  

These people migrate to more developed countries because they want to enjoy a Higher “Standard of Living” and live a Better “Quality of Life” –  to put it “metaphorically” – they migrate to realize their “American Dream”.

In this blog post (and a few more) – I will explore this type of “pull factor migration” from India – where people migrated abroad for a “Better Life”.

MIGRATING ABROAD FOR A “BETTER LIFE”

In the 1970’s – many of my classmates migrated abroad (mainly to the USA) for a “better life”.

They first migrated for “higher studies” – then – they took up jobs – and – they permanently settled down in the US – and later – in due course – they acquired American Citizenship.

A few settled down in England, Europe and other prosperous nations like Australia.

By migrating abroad – they certainly achieved their aim of a “Better Life”.

If not – they would have returned back to India.

But – no one returned – all of them became citizens of their “host” countries and have happily settled down there. 

(One classmate did come back to India after a few years to take up a research job – but – he got frustrated by the working culture here and returned back to America. Another came back for the “sake of his children” – but – his children could not adjust in Indian schools – so even he went back to the US after 2 years of “experimenting”…)

Now – all of them are Foreign Citizens –and – of course – since our government is magnanimous to NRIs (Non Resident Indians) and PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) settled abroad – they have all acquired PIO cards – and – they taunt me that – even in India – a PIO with a Foreign Passport is treated better than an Indian Citizen.

When I observe their prosperity – and I hear about their fabulous lifestyle abroad – I too wish I had migrated abroad for a “better life” rather than spending my life “serving the nation” in uniform.

But – that is all in the distant past.

Recently – I visited New Zealand – and – I had the opportunity to interact with many Indian youngsters studying/working in New Zealand.

And yes – just like my “migrant” classmates in the 1970’s – even today – not even a single youngster wanted to return back to India – all of them wanted to settle down in New Zealand for a “Better Life” – or – use New Zealand as a stepping stone to migrate to Australia, America, Europe or other modern developed nations.  

This phenomenon seems quite common – once they have got used to the “Better Life” abroad – no one wants to come back to India.

(Only two types of youngsters who go abroad for higher studies want to come back to India – children of politicians – and – children of businessmen – since – they can aspire for a much “Better Life” back home. Of course – there may be an odd “academician” who comes back to teach – but – these are exceptions to the rule)

Today – after “liberalization”, “globalization” and the “IT Boom” – it is even easier to migrate abroad – and – a large number of youngsters are desperate to migrate abroad for a “better life”.

Many developed countries encourage immigration because it helps them both economically and intellectually – economically – due to the huge fees paid by migrant students – and – intellectually – since they get skilled migrants to fill up their own skill shortages and augment high-tech domains with highly qualified/motivated migrants.

So – on the surface – it seems to be a “win-win” situation – especially for youngsters who want to migrate abroad for a “better life”.  

MOOT QUESTION – IS LIFE REALLY “BETTER” ABROAD…?

Is life really “better” abroad…?

Are these young migrants really enjoying a “better life” as compared to the life they were living in India…?

Of course – they think so – otherwise – wouldn’t they return home…?

What do I think…?

Well – Dear Reader – in the next few posts I will tell you about my recent interactions with “migrant” youngsters – and – I will leave it for you to decide whether the “grass” is really “greener” on the other side… 

VIKRAM KARVE
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