Putting a price on the pursuit of happiness
09 June, 2011
Putting a price on the pursuit of happiness

The common understanding of human condition is the understanding of the need for a better life. In many millions of cases a betterment of ones life unfortunately means migration to a better world. This is unfortunate, as human beings don’t particularly like change. Therefore the realization that one’s own country will never do right by the said person comes gradually or not at all. People may talk easily about wanting to leave their country, but in reality when it comes down

to the suitcase, it’s not as easy to leave everything one knows and loves behind and never look back.

The more obvious obstacle is the act of immigration itself. There are a five ways to legally immigrate and those few basics apply to most countries. One obvious way is to marry a citizen of the country one wants to immigrate to. This used to be a somewhat easiest way to obtain citizenship. Recently in the States there have been crackdowns on fake marriages, with immigration officers doing surprise house visits, checking up on the validity of the marriage, as was seen in the movie “Green Card” with Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. On the other hand there’s Denmark where getting naturalized as a married person can take up to ten years. The laws for reunification are pretty strict compared to all the other countries in Europe. One is proof of a bank account, as to prove that the person will not be asking for monetary help from the government (welfare), another is taking classes on Danish society and culture and learning the Danish language to a certain level. As in the States and other countries there’s a test to pass to become a citizen. And as it happens in many countries the naturalized citizen ends up with more knowledge of the country than the rest of the population. Although the process can be a nightmare, that doesn’t stop the homeland of Hans Christian Anderson from producing fairy tales. One fairy tale came true when Prince Frederick of Denmark married a commoner and an Aussie. Good thing they were both older than 24, the legal age a foreigner can marry a Dane. In some countries, it seems, love has a curfew.

Second way to legally stay in the country is to apply for a student Visa. But getting into a college doesn’t necessarily mean one will get to go there. In Switzerland, the practice is not automatic and the consulate can refuse a visa based on their own personal reasons. As anyone who has ever applied for a visa knows, no consulate ever tells the reasons for rejection. Those who do get in on a student visa, can continue studying and racking up loans, or go to phase three and apply for Work Visas. Those are also not as easy to come by, but relatively speaking it is easier to get a work visa in the States than it is in Europe.

The least popular, because of its nature, is the way of refugees and asylum seekers. These cases are worst off, because their reason for fleeing their country is not a need for better life, but for simple survival. The reason this is least popular is simply because one government might not have the understanding of the political life of the other country, and asylum seekers can be denied a stay. As has been recently reported on CNN there’s also a possibility of the two countries not wanting an international incident and to avoid it, the person, in this case Iman al-Obeidi  a woman from Benghazi who claimed to be raped by Qaddafi forces,  caught in the middle pays the price. Iman al-Obeidi had found asylum in Tunisia and then Qatar, but was suddenly expelled from Qatar this week and ended up in Benghazi again. The States have since stepped in and offered to take her in. And of course there are cases governments are weary off, cases of political refugees, who are simply criminals and wanted by their own government. Those cases make it harder for judges to determine who is really in need of an asylum and who is trying to hide his stolen money in an offshore bank account.

The fifth way to get a citizenship is by winning a lottery for a Green card. This happens, even though rarely, but it still happens. Unfortunately, the lottery only happens in the States.

When all the five ways mentioned above do not work out for an immigrant, the only thing left to do is to go at it illegally. This is not a recommended, but widely acknowledged practice. (Please visit us again next week for the continuation of the article.)

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