European immigration policies

Life in Europe is often not what migrants think it will be. For example, many migrants believe that once they reach Europe they can decide for themselves where they want to live and will be able to easily find a job. However, this is usually not case.

Applying for asylum
According to EU law, you must apply for asylum in the first country you reach. This means that if the first European country you enter is Italy or Greece, you must apply for asylum in these countries. You cannot decide which European country you would like to live in.

While applying for asylum, you will usually be housed in a migrant reception centre and cannot decide yourself where you want to stay. While such reception centres usually provide food and a small amount of money each month for basic needs, this amount will not enable you to save anything.

You will not be allowed to work in most European countries while your asylum application is being processed. Only once you have been granted asylum, which can take a long time, are you able to freely look for a job. Even then, finding a job can be difficult if you do not have the qualifications, experience, education and language skills required.

While jobs in Europe pay more than in Eritrea or Ethiopia, the cost of living is much higher. Food, housing, transport and basic utilities are all much more expensive and migrants often underestimate the cost of living in Europe.

Many migrants complain of isolation and loneliness on arrival in Europe and say they miss their friends and families back home. Often migrants experience language and cultural barriers, which can make it hard to get used to life in Europe and to integrate into the local community.

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