Immigrating to the United States isn’t easy, and unfortunately, some challenges continue even after obtaining permanent resident status. Immigrants often face difficulties due to discrimination, lack of resources, and misinformation about immigrants’ rights.
Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you overcome these top challenges facing Connecticut immigrants today.
Challenge #1: Accessing Healthcare
Immigrants tend to have a hard time accessing affordable healthcare. As a new U.S. resident gets acclimated to the country, they may initially have access primarily to jobs that do not offer employer-sponsored health insurance. Policy changes have also limited the ability of immigrants to seek health insurance.
Without health insurance, healthcare services are too costly for many. Immigrants also often fear discrimination in a healthcare setting.
If you’re putting off seeking healthcare, consider calling a medical practice to ask whether they offer any discounts or services for immigrants. Many healthcare practices also have translators on site who can help you or your family members communicate.
Challenge #2: Building Your Credit
The United States financial system relies heavily on consumer credit scores. But when you come to the United States, you will likely start as “credit invisible,” showing lenders you have no credit history.
Qualifying for a credit card, loan, mortgage, or rental property can be challenging enough for natural-born citizens.
You can slowly build your credit by becoming an authorized user on another person’s account, paying all bills and rent on time, and applying for a secured credit card. Be sure to check whether the bank you used in your previous country has a presence in the U.S., as you may have an easier time seeking financial services from this institution.
Challenge #3: Language Barriers
Language barriers are a huge roadblock for Connecticut immigrants. Not being fluent in English can pose many challenges for immigrants, ranging from finding employment and seeking healthcare to building a social community. Communicating effectively with others is a necessary aspect of living a healthy, fulfilled life.
While many Connecticut cities offer free ESL classes for immigrants, many immigrants cannot find the time to attend these classes regularly, as they must work long hours to support their families.
Challenge #4: Finding Employment
While it is against the law for employers to discriminate against potential employees based on their nationalities, many employers still intentionally (or unintentionally) treat these candidates unfairly. You may be even more qualified for a position than a native candidate yet lose out because of your immigration status.
Aside from discrimination, many documented and undocumented immigrants have a hard time finding employment because they are unfamiliar with the U.S. job market, don’t speak English — a requirement for many jobs — or don’t have valid academic credentials within the U.S.
The Connecticut Department of Labor offers resources for job seekers. You can also consult an immigration attorney or resettlement agency for assistance navigating the job market.
Challenge #5: Accessing Transportation
Transportation issues are challenges Connecticut immigrants face that other residents may overlook. When immigrants first come to the United States, they often do not have the funds to pay for a reliable vehicle. They may also have trouble qualifying for a driver’s license.
Instead, many immigrants must rely on public transportation, which is not readily available in every city and may not take them everywhere they need to go. Lacking access to transportation can impact the ability to seek and maintain employment.
Connecticut immigrants face numerous daily challenges, but many find guidance and support through legal services. If you need help overcoming challenges as an immigrant, contact the Law Offices of James A. Welcome today at 203-753-7300.