Expat or Immigrant?

In the whirlwind of media that surrounds the upcoming UK election, the ‘issue’ of immigration is sitting high up on the agenda. It is a firm fact that foreigners contribute more to the British economy than they take from it in benefits. Unfortunately this is not the view that many media outlets and politicians choose to put forward.

Bratislava Castle (c) TheDaily.SK

There is a sad political rhetoric surrounding foreigners who have relocated to the UK and many of the negative opinions come through misinformed garble that is the product of right-wing bigots. The general consensus is that immigration is a burden upon society, a problem to be solved. This view point creates a glass wall between those wishing to settle in the UK and those who were born in the UK. To be frank, the current political and media outlooks on immigration are creating racism. An ‘us versus them’ ideal, an ideal we should be smart enough to know can be exceedingly dangerous with just one glance back to the recent history of Europe.

It cannot be said that everyone in the UK shares this view. There is a lot of positive and peaceful integration all around the county. There are media outlets and politicians that project the viewpoint that immigration is a positive thing that brings diversity and strength to our society and economy. Many people who have relocated to the UK are positive and contributing members of society. They are well educated, hard working and bilingual. They have come to seek new experiences, meet new people and start a new life.

That’s what I have done too. I am from Scotland and have relocated to Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic. I came here to seek new opportunities, learn about a new culture and cross paths with new and exciting people. I barely speak Slovak and I have never, not once, been on the receiving end of one iota of bigotry or negativity. After being so warmly accepted by a new culture, after being treated with patience and respect by those who do not understand the language I am speaking and after being offered a hundred friendly hands over the past year; I am frankly embarrassed that people can move to my beloved homeland and experience negative attitudes towards them.

Britain needs to change its fundamental views on this issue. Why am I called an expat and someone who moves from Slovakia to Scotland called an immigrant? We are all the same and the use of positive verses negative language just shows how subtly the UK is trying to taint our views of people who are different.

Everyone deserves the chance to start a new life. Give them a helping hand.


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