We all know what has been going on at the US border for the past several weeks or so; from a migrant ‘caravan’ that started in Honduras to the struggles that they had to deal with along the way to the issues and reality they had to face upon reaching the US-Mexican border.
Yet well, the most common reasons why migrants leave their home countries are: 1) To escape persecution or violence, and 2) To have better opportunities. While many who are part of the caravan (or migrant crossers) are asylum seekers and therefore are looking to immigrate, it is actually the lowly contract workers who temporarily leaves their families for overseas work that faces a greater risk of being exploited or discriminated.
With that, let’s go through the basics on how to travel as a migrant.
- Make sure your employment agency is legally recognized. Thus, check out the government offices responsible for the listing of recognized employment agencies.
- Do not just pay fees, give away your documents or sign anything if you have not thoroughly verified the agency and the job offer. Make sure you understand ‘everything’ there is.
- Secure your passport and other travel documents only from the Department of Foreign Affairs, or government agencies and authorized offices that is responsible for such. Avoid fixers.
- Do not bring anything or agree to bring something that you do not really know of or is, otherwise, prohibited.
- Try to familiarize yourself with the language and culture of your destination beforehand. Likewise, be sure to know where your country’s consulate office is and make them know you’re there.
- Contact whoever you know who lives or works in your country of destination in advance if possible. More than having someone to keep you from being lonely, this would ease your transition to your new environment – from knowing where the market, hospital and everything is to digesting the cost of living.
- Live and work in peace. Follow the laws. Respect the culture. Be friendly and build good, healthy relationships.
- Make sure you brought all your proper identification papers and pertinent documents – and be sure to keep them safe and ready.
- Be responsible for the person(s) and things you brought with you, as well as the people you are with (remind them to be respectful).
- Do not vandalize, destroy properties, abuse the environment or leave trash on wherever you may transit.
- Do not just barge in or illegally enter your country of destination but follow their asylum process and laws.
- Be productive and do everything necessary to positively adapt to the place you are in. Be that model citizen.
We are all citizens of this world. Never exploit anyone or anything, but do what it takes to make travel and migration safe and orderly.