Wondering how social media is impacting the picture for immigrants moving to the UK? In this article, we explore the positives and negatives of social media for immigration…
Immigrating to a new country is never an easy task. Alongside the documentation and money this requires, there’s also plenty of social assimilation needed in order to build a life in a new country.
Today’s world offers a variety of technological advances to help immigrants do so, and social media is one of these. The question is, is social media a force for good for immigrants, or is it making things harder than ever?
For starters, social media provides immigrants with ease of access to immigration advice and resources. This makes it simpler than ever for people to assimilate to a new way of life. On the flip side, social media may be affecting the image of migrants in the eyes of the general public, creating a sense of animosity towards these new residents.
These are just some of the pros and cons of social media for immigrants, but we’ll explore some more in this article…
How Social Media is Helping Immigrants Moving to the UK
Let’s start with the positive ways in which social media is impacting immigrants who are moving to the UK…
Apps for Immigrants
One of the best things about social media for immigrants is the way it makes it much easier for them to assimilate to UK life. For starters, various apps and online tools make filling in visa documents quicker than ever before. This means immigrants can spend less time worrying about the legalities of it all, and more time finding a house and work to properly build a life here.
Not only this, but there are various apps and tools that allow you to become part of the area. These include language learning tools, maps, and resource apps that provide locations for the closest healthcare, career, and educational services. By making this accessible, immigrants are able to find exactly what they need without hassle.
Exposure to all Types of People
Prior to social media, immigrants moving to the UK may have felt alone, especially if their area was filled with native Brits. However, now people moving to the UK are exposed to people all across the UK and can, therefore, find other like-minded people who have been through similar experiences to connect with.
Charitable Forces for Refugees
Social media platforms, like Instagram, are becoming a hub for campaigning and fundraising for refugees coming to the UK. This is helping charities to raise awareness for the scope of the problem and allows people to easily donate to the cause.
According to Compas, “as the refugee sector is viewed by the public as informed, authoritative actors on refugee issues, their social media content has significant power over the public’s understanding of migration.”
By representing refugees in a positive light, social media platforms like this are creating visibility for this sector of humanity.
Using Social Media for Applications to Countries
Social media is actually being used as proof in immigrant applications, as these platforms demonstrate where people have lived and work, and for how long. This is helping to expedite the process of immigration for many.
How Social Media is Hindering Immigrants Moving to the UK
Now that we’ve seen the positive side of social media for immigrants, we need a balanced view. So, let’s take a look at the other side of how social media
Problems with Personal Identity
Social media has untold impacts on peoples’ self-esteem and self-worth, and this is no different – and perhaps even worse – for those who have immigrated to the UK. Many social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, display people of what may be deemed as a “desirable” image. This may extend to race, especially as all types of media in the UK predominantly show white faces.
If you’re an immigrant moving to the UK, you may find that your social media feeds are filled with these faces, unlike your own. This could cause especially young immigrants to feel out of place and disassociated with this new country.
Negative Image in the Public Eye
The news is full of political rhetoric about immigrants, which may be perhaps a little one-sided, especially in conservative papers. It’s said that these papers focus more on illegal immigrants than those coming here for work and family reasons, which can skew the picture for the general public.
Although social media certainly opens peoples’ eyes to the wider struggle of immigrants outside of this rhetoric, it may also be hindering it too. After all, platforms like Twitter create spaces for people of varying opinions to provide their views on any topic – positive or not.
Of course, it’s brilliant to be able to see these opinions, as it opens your mind to various schools of thought. But, at the same time, being exposed to these opinions, which may be somewhat extreme, could change your view for the worse.
With regards to immigration, there are plenty of extreme views, and having more people exposed to these could have detrimental effect to immigrants being accepted into UK society.
Provides Reasons for Deportation
Social media is such an instant tool, it means that peoples’ thoughts and feelings, if posted, become available for all to see. This is causing problems for immigrants whose position in their new country isn’t completely determined.
For example, there was a case of an American being deported from Indonesia due to an angry tweet they posted. Anything that poses a potential threat, no matter how trivial, may be used as reason to revoke somebody’s right to live and work in any country.
Do You Think Social Media is Positive or Negative for Immigrants?
As you can see from this article, there are a number of pros and cons to how social media is impacting immigrants moving to the UK. Perhaps there are more that we’ve missed, in which case be sure to leave them in the comments below.
After reading these positives and negatives, do you think social media is a driving force for good or bad?