Tuesday, 16 December 2008

International Migrant's Day

Well, it is International Migrant's Day in 2 days. I'd never heard of it before. It is described by the UN as:

"On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day. On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection."

There is even an entire website dedicated to this day. Migrant, by definition, means to move from one country or region and settle in another. To whose of us who have always counted ourselves amongst those more privileged, becoming a migrant can be a humbling experience and on this day more than others, it's a good time to reflect on this. It's a time to "express support and solidarity with all migrants", according to Diversity at Work:

  • "Worldwide, an estimated 130 million people live outside their countries of origin.
  • In 2004-05, Australia's population increased by 110,100 persons through migration, representing 46% of total population growth for the year.
  • In Australia 25% of the workforce was born overseas. "

To all my migrant friends (and myself at the moment) I think the most important issue at the moment is finding work. It's more of a challenge for many of us as employers are put off by visa issues and concerns, a perceived idea that non-native English speakers are not as capable, and a general bias and passive (and sometimes active) discrimination against foreigners. Survival comes first and with an entire host of issues immigrants have when arriving in their new country, first and foremost in importance is finding a means of sustainability. My best thoughts and wishes that those of us who are looking all have some luck with employment in the new year.

2 comments:

Muddiah said...

Happy International Immigrant's Day!!

opinioneater said...

Happy International Migrants Day, Suzer! I completely agree with you about the work thing. So much of the focus on migrant workers deals with the jobs on the lowest end of the pay scale, and rightfully so. But there does seem to be either discrimination or a lack of understanding across the board. Not saying that is why I've not found full time employment here-- some of it is my own fear of failure holding me back-- but it certainly plays a role in it.