General Question

canidmajor's avatar

As an add-on to my previous Question: Canadians, Welsh, Australian, New Zealand, Scottish (etc) jellies, what would you want from American immigrants?

Asked by canidmajor (16831points) September 6th, 2016

What assets and/or skills would you want Americans (who are fleeing the administration of their most hated candidate) to bring to your country? What would make them desirable residents to you?

This is also in General, I am only interested in real answers, here.

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14 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

Funny you asked this while I’m preparing for my cross-culture lesson.

I can write a book about this. So I’m going to narrow down to some most important things.

People in my country are generally very open to foreigners. Partly because it’s our culture to be friendly, and partly because many of us haven’t been to any other country because, you know, financial reason. But please don’t try to be over-friendly like you do in the US. It’s not like we don’t like people who share too much personal information (like what my bullshit textbook claims. Maybe it is right in other regions but I don’t experience it here), it’s just that you can risk creating a false impression that you want to be their friend, even though you only try to be friendly.

There’s one thing I always want to warn any foreigner who wants to visit my country: cheating. Yeah, cheating is everywhere, especially with you foreigners. You can risk buying something for a much higher price than it worths, being charged for something that could have been free, or losing your stuff while you aren’t looking. The culprits are mostly poor assholes who can only speak one language and assume that you do too, and owners of shops/bars/restaurants for foreigners who wants to milk money from you. “Poor assholes” are easy to recognize: they look poor in your American standards and maybe a bit desperate, stand in the street and always appear to be selling something. On your first days here, don’t bring many valuable things with you, and hold dear to your bags/wallets in crowded areas. If you see anyone standing in the street and looking like they are selling anything, walk part them, pretend they don’t exist. Don’t enter shops or restaurants that don’t look so… decent, at least when you still don’t know how to bargain. Wait until you gain more experience before you try anything more daring.

Apart from that, life is pretty easy. Prices here are much cheaper than in America. You don’t have to worry of being broke if you use your money wisely. You can at least afford a decent appartment and good meals. Oh, but you have to learn how to cook for yourself if you want a safe meal. Food in small restaurants aren’t always reliable.

And people are a bit conservative and afraid of being judged. You may have a hard time trying to convince someone to give up their outdated view. Just try to be indirect and soft when you talk to them. In case their heads are too thick, just don’t mind them.

Bonus content: You can be as American as possible with me! My mindset is kind of compatible with your American one and I can understand/tolerate your lack of knowledge about my culture. I’d love to learn more about your culture too, unlike some people here.

Ah! Writing this is much more refreshing than preparing for my lesson :)

canidmajor's avatar

@Mimishu1995: I appreciate your perspective here, but what qualities/assets/desirable traits would you want in Americans coming to live there? You have written a good answer on what Americans should look out for, but not why your country would want Americans to emigrate to your country.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

We have strict immigration laws. To emigrate to Australia you need to be able to work in an ‘in demand’ occupation. You have to have skills we need here. You have to bring something we don’t have. Or you have to be independently wealthy and to guarantee you won’t become a drain on our systems. Or you have to have family who will guarantee to support you. Or you have to prove you require asylum and that you would be in danger of you returned to your home country. I agree with these requirements. While I sometimes feel they are too stringently applied, they’re fair.

I had to comply with these rules to emigrate myself. If anything I think it was harder then. The US has strict immigration laws and I doubt your country would relax those laws out of sympathy for the citizens of another country that is now ruled by a despot or madman.

The only exception to this policy is New Zealand. Kiwis can come here with pretty much no restrictions. They do need to get some sort of visa, but my understanding is that it’s pretty much a rubber stamp situation. Once here they can work, attend school, university, get healthcare. They aren’t entitled to all forms of welfare unless they become citizens. If they commit crimes, we deport them. These regulations are currently causing consternation with our neighbor who feels were treating their citizens unjustly.

I would personally expect those who come here to be of good character. I don’t care if you have a few parking tickets, but any serious crime should stop you being allowed to emigrate here.

BellaB's avatar

Since it’s easier to get into the US than Canada or Australia (don’t know about the other countries), it’s a bit of duffer’s game but… I’d want a character test vs an examination of skills.

canidmajor's avatar

@BellaB: Interesting! What sort of character test?
and, sorry, I don’t remember, where are you?

BellaB's avatar

I am in Canada.

When I think of the immigrants/refugees who seem to have done very well here over the past 50 years or so , I think I’d want some kind of test that identified people with pacifist leanings, an orientation to helping/caring for others, that type of thing. Draft dodgers , doctors and nurses seem to settle in best (this is anecdotal, I suspect someone’s studied it). The recent batch of Syrian refugees seems to contain quite a large group of helper-type people and they are already starting to start up small charitable activities.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@canidmajor Oh, that? Well, as I said before, we are generally friendly and accepting. If you don’t interact with people much, you don’t have to worry about your behavior for the most part. But if you want to involve more in our life, there are some…rules, although they aren’t that obvious. Aside from the “don’t be too friendly” and “don’t be too direct” rules, you really don’t want to be too different. People are afraid of being judged, and therefore they like to judge other people. That’s partly their own ignorance but you can’t win a lone battle. When you are among a group of people, you may want to restrain from showing your real personality and follow what they do, unless they are causing trouble. We prefer people who can blend in, not people who can stand out.

You also need to be more open about your relationship. People put a lot of emphasis on marriage, and there is a specific age limit for you to stay single. Don’t cringe when someone ask you things like “when will you get married?” Mostly they are just concerned for your “well-being”.

We are also overly emotional. I know you Americans value privacy a lot, but privacy isn’t a thing here. You want to leave your friends some time and space, but your friends may see it as you being insensitive and distant. Respect that need and spend more time with your friends, don’t mind their “pity” phone calls, and try to offer help as much as possible.

In short, we want immigrants to respect and follow our culture and be as friendly as us.

cazzie's avatar

New Zealand has a short list for immigrants and a point system.

I can recommend New Zealand as a place to live. I lived there, as an ex-American for 15 years.

canidmajor's avatar

What about Norway, @cazzie? What would you, as a resident of Norway (I don’t know what your status is) want Americans to bring to the table if they moved there?

cazzie's avatar

@canidmajor Americans need not apply here. Unless they come here already speaking the language, it isn’t going to go well. Not even high level of education helps that much. My BBE has a PhD and has applied for jobs but nothing, so far. Unless they want to clean toilets, then they can show up, pay a fortune for language classes and take a job no Norwegian wants, like cleaning or looking after the elderly.

canidmajor's avatar

@cazzie “BBE”?

I love the irony in that, as we have a long history here of farming out those jobs “that no American wants to do”! :-)

cazzie's avatar

@canidmajor BBE is my boyfriend of the past 3 years. He is a tenured physics professor of some regard in his field in a highly rated tech university. He is the director of his own lab and guest lectures around the world. Today, as a matter of fact, he is on his way back to Los Alamos to meet a lecturer who has been researching in his field of expertise, whom he has been eager to meet up with in person. He used to work in Los Alamos, but switched back to the University so he could continue his research and keep facilities at the Langmuir Lab, of which he is now director of.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’m Canadian. Mostly, what I want from Americans is for them not to move here.

Look, I have had many, many positive interactions with Americans, and some of my best friends are Americans. But the thing is, on average, you’re quite ridiculously conservative (yeah, even the liberals). I don’t want you to come here and start voting to change my country into a slightly less conservative version of your country.

So, please don’t. Stay there and vote for your country to be a slightly less conservative version of your country.

BellaB's avatar

@dappled_leaves – that made me laugh. On American-based websites, people think Setanta is some kind of wild socialist. Real-life Canadian friends ask me how I feel about being with someone so conservative.

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