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People seek to migrate to the US for a number of reasons. One of the most potent reasons is the belief that America provides greater opportunities for immigrants relative to their home countries (Kirkegaard 1). Indeed, the US is a vast country with diverse opportunities for all people from all walks of life. However, it is evident from numerous media stories that immigrants in the US generally have it rough in a new land with different social values and cultures. This paper projects the details of an interview with Sanjay Singh whose own immigration story is as unique as that of any other immigrant.
As such, making the decision to immigrate to the US is a difficult one. In most cases, potential immigrants have to dedicate a lot of their time towards conducting research on the US in an effort to relate well with its society. They also have to endeavor towards tying up loose ends at home before departing for the US. Immigrating to another country is therefore not only difficult but also quite expensive. Adding to this complicated and costly process is the act of moving itself (Kirkegaard 1). It is therefore expected that immigrants in the US seek financial, social, and emotional support from a wide array of sources.
I met Sanjay Singh through a close family relative working with an organization supporting small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the US. He is a married man who moved from India to the US in 2012 in an effort expand the chances of making it big in international business. He is a well-built man about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a rather soft voice for a voice. This interview was conducted at a city restaurant which was confidently comfortable for Sanjay as well as my self. I had visited him in his small office to pick him up for an early lunch. I was punctual as usual but had to wait a little while to enable him delegate his duties to his assistant for presumed our interview would interrupt his standard work plan. This was apparently the case as the interview went on for longer than was expected. He however was grateful to be of assistance to me and more so added that talking about himself served to make him a more psychologically and emotional balance individual. I recorded the interview using my smart phone I placed on the restaurant table before us. Proper phone placed served to ensure good quality recording. Foods and drinks were served as the interview progressed and as such did not present any distraction to either of during this meeting. Phone call made to Sanjay however called for about three time breaks with the interview continuing soon after with the seriousness it deserved.
Me: Hello to you Mr. Singh and welcome very much to the US. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to know more about your self and reasons as to why you chose to immigrate to the US. Kindly give a short introduction about your self.
Sanjay Singh: I moved to the US from India three years ago. I came along with my immediate family which includes my wife and two daughters. I sort to relocate to the US in search of greater opportunities towards international business operations. The US also offers a very promising future for my family as it has one of the best educational facilities in the world. It has good schools, good education policies, technologically advanced education infrastructure and a high standard of living. I like the benefits this country has to offer such as a sustainable population density, great infrastructure and a multicultural society which is an important enabling factor in good integration with the international community. I have to state that the US offers advantages that are impossible to outline comprehensively in a two hour interview session.
Me: Kindly elaborate on when did you actually moved to the US and your experiences concerning the immigration process to live and work here.
SS: I moved to this country on March the 12th 2012. Initially, it was as a fact-finding visit to know whether my family and I would decisively favor living here. The immigration process to the US was not only slow but also quite frustrating. My first application for immigration to the US was in 2003 and was rejected in 2009. I came to learn that this was partly my fault as I had failed to ensure that fresh application forms were duly furnished to the American Embassy in India. Changes in US Embassy regulations had required a more detailed application form to fill up and as such, these did not get to me on time. Upon making clarifications with US Embassy staff on their failure to adhere to convenient communication channels resulted in an unexpectedly welcome outcome. In 2011, my family and I learned of the US Embassy’s acceptance of us as US immigrants and as such, we then had the legal immigration papers in our hands. I had actually given up on the ambition of getting to the US. From a personal perspective, this process should be made more efficient such that potential immigrants should wait for less than 12 months otherwise; it is very easy for someone to forget about the whole issue altogether.
Me: Which were the greatest concerns when relocating to the US?
SS: The biggest concern was that it was highly likely that American business people would fail to accord my professional experiences and Indian education credentials with the seriousness deserved. The US culture is more progressive than the Indian culture. A few of my immigrant friends from India suggested that taking up any job that came my way was the best option to begin life in the US. As such, I had to do factory jobs regardless of my vast experience as a consultant on entrepreneurship and a certified engineer.
It appears that most immigrants I know off went through similar experiences and continue to encourage other immigrants from India to do the same also. It is apparently a vicious circle which the US government’s department of immigration should look into critically.
Me: Did the US Immigration offer you any credible assistance?
SS: Yes indeed! The US Immigration Department offered us high-quality services that enabled us to settle down quickly in our new home. As such, it is a very busy institution but the quality of services deserves a mighty good applause as I now say here.
Me: What are some significant challenges immigrants encounter upon arrival to the US?
SS: Ubiquitous concerns include employment placement, reinvesting one’s finances in the US economy, appropriate housing in good neighborhood and locating a good school for the children to go to. In my view all else is well catered for by the federal, state and county governments.
Me: What are the general reasons for natives to leave India?
SS: Institutionalized apathy, poor infrastructure, lack of transparency within public and private institutions in India, overpopulation, lack of basic amenities such as clean environment, fresh water, rampant pollution, mediocre government support, better investment opportunities in immigrant countries and more so a brighter future in the US which is not possible in India.
Me: Any advice to all the immigrants living in the US?
SS: The experienced and well-educated should not fall into the vicious circle of working menial jobs to make ends meet. For people inexperienced in such, physical impairment not only limits one’s quality of life but also frustrates one from engaging in the desired profession. Instead, they should actively pursue internship opportunities, attempt self-employment avenues and continuously educate themselves either part/full time in the numerous institutions of higher learning available here. This is however, subject to the financial status of an immigrant.
TS: What motivates you to assist other new, as well as old immigrants?
SS: I was once an immigration consultant and a very successful businessman. At the moment, am in the entrepreneurship consultancy sector and as such, I employ lessons learned from my past experiences. I hold strong personal beliefs founded on assisting communities with knowledge and skills I have acquired. It gives me great satisfaction to successfully support other individuals and see them succeed. Not only does this helps me meet new friends from all walks of life but also results in the creation of strong networks and learns great lessons from their experiences too! It seems always to come back to you because the world revolves around its orbit.
Kirkegaard, Jacob F. “The Economic Scope and Future of US-India Labor Migration Issues.” Peterson Institute for International Economics Working Paper 15-1 (2015). (Kirkegaard 1)