Why is USA Called the Land of Dreams and Opportunity for Expats? Debunking The Myths
For many expats, moving to the US is a huge dream. However, is it really easy to adapt in this country? We talk about the difficulties that migrants may face when moving to the United States
The American Dream, which originates in the US Declaration of Independence, states that all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, men, women, and children in the United States of America have this right regardless of their race, color, national origin, age, sex, or social status.
Foreigners are given the impression that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people will be able to achieve a certain standard of living in the United States. Such prospects are quite tempting, especially for citizens of developing countries. That is why every year thousands of foreigners migrate to the USA in the hope of realizing their emigrant dream, which is very close to the American dream. But in reality, building a career in America is more difficult than in most other developed countries of the world. According to a study by University of Ottawa economist Miles Korak, it is much easier to succeed in countries such as Japan, Germany, Australia and the Scandinavian countries.
Why does this happen? And what difficulties await migrants in the USA?
Obtaining a residence permit
Obtaining a visa or residence permit in the US can be quite a difficult task for foreigners who are neither medical professionals nor engineers. Even the most qualified and experienced managers, bankers, financiers, teachers, etc., can find it quite difficult to get a job that would allow them to apply for US residency permits.
The practice of many countries of the world shows that an expat can issue a visa, come to the country, find a job and, together with the employer, prepare documents for obtaining a permanent residence permit. In certain countries, for example, Canada or Australia, foreigners apply for permits and then move to permanent residence. However, things are not like that in America.
In most cases, US authorities prohibit local companies from hiring a foreigner if the position could be filled by a US citizen. Not the only effective way to get a job in the USA and a residence permit is if you work for an international company abroad, which transfers you to its representative office in America.
There are numerous cases of people from Europe, Africa and Asia coming to America on tourist visas in the hope of finding work. However, most of them do not succeed, primarily because they do not have a work permit. Those who cannot afford to return home sometimes decide to become illegal immigrants. Then they live in constant fear of being caught and deported.
Order a step-by-step checklist with information on how to get a visa to the USA and other important details
Cost of living
Although citizens of Great Britain, France and other European countries usually consider the cost of living in the US to be quite moderate, for most expats this is not the case at all. For a comfortable stay, a couple must have an income of at least $3,000 per month. The main expenses are rent (including a security deposit), utilities, groceries and medical care.
In general, food in the USA costs quite reasonably, however, if you plan to visit restaurants often, be prepared to leave a rather large tip - from 18% to 25%. In fact, Americans tip almost everywhere: in restaurants, bars, clubs, hair salons, spas, beauty salons, and taxis.
Education in this country is one of the most expensive in the world. Public school is free, but university tuition is exorbitant. Most Americans can only afford college if they take out student loans, which they then pay off over decades. This is why many students from the US are now looking to attend universities and colleges abroad.
As mentioned above, most organizations in the US prefer to hire Americans. Therefore, it is very difficult for immigrants to find a job that matches their qualifications and experience. Many agree to low-skilled labor. In fact, most immigrant taxi drivers and workers in the US have fairly advanced professional degrees in their countries of origin, but have been unable to obtain a suitable employment opportunity.
The lack of job prospects according to the skill level is one of the factors that kills the American dream for many expats.
Many international diplomas and documents that confirm the level of experience of employees are not recognized in the United States. In order to confirm the appropriate level of knowledge, it is necessary to undergo training, pass an exam and obtain a certificate at a licensed institution in the USA. It takes time and additional costs, sometimes several thousand dollars.
Difficulties of integration into society
Most Americans are quite loyal to immigrants living in their country. However, they do not necessarily trust outsiders or do their best to accept them into their society. Therefore, it may be difficult for you to make friends, even if everyone around you is very friendly and polite.
If you live in one of the big cities, you can probably find many other expats from your country. However, if you live in a small town, this can become a serious problem and lead to loneliness.
Balance between work and personal life
The standard work week in the United States is 40 hours, which corresponds to the norms of most countries in the world. However, due to the fierce competition in the workplace, people tend to stay working after hours, and weekend work is also not uncommon in this country.
According to the law, people who work more than 40 hours a week must be paid 1.5 times the hourly rate. However, this practice is more common for people in junior positions rather than middle and senior management.
When it comes to work-life balance, the US ranks pretty low in the world. According to PBS Newshour, America is 29th out of 36 developed countries surveyed.
In large cities, there is a fairly extensive system of public transport. By using the bus or train, you can minimize your expenses for daily trips. However, those living in small towns have no choice but to travel by taxi, which is very expensive.
The level of dependence on one's own car in the USA is very high. Almost every American family owns two cars, because it significantly facilitates mobility. But for a migrant, this can be an additional significant expense item.
Despite all the above-mentioned disadvantages, the USA remains one of the most popular destinations for emigrants in the world, because life in this country also has many advantages: high standard of living, quality of education, infrastructure, diversity, safety, etc.
It is also important to remember that America is a big country, one region can be radically different from another. Therefore, it is imperative that you do a thorough research of the state you want to move to before you travel.
Make sure you consider all the positives and negatives of living in this country before you decide to settle in the US.
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