There’s an interesting article in Russia Beyond the Headlines on 31 May 2015 describing the experience of Russian migrants in New Zealand: Russians chase the New Zealand Dream. It will resonate with many of our readers, not just the Russians but those who are migrants from Western Countries.
According to Russian immigrants, New Zealand is a great place to sell dumplings and booze but has a lack of good jobs for skilled migrants. Sound familiar? Perhaps you’re an Indian engineer or a Iranian doctor reading this article while you wait to pick up a fare at Auckland airport.
Russians say New Zealand has a “child in a candy store” for a Prime Minister and a rubbish education system.
One migrant family, the Barbins, find they have little leisure time, which they say was ironic because New Zealand’s attraction for them was its “laid back lifestyle (Yes. Its a myth, we know. But, it takes time for migrants to discover this for themselves and not everyone comes across E2NZ.org before they emigrate). They’re also unhappy with their childrens’ education, saying it is behind Russia’s. (Many European and US migrants tell us New Zealand is two years behind their home country).
Another family says New Zealand is difficult for high achievers (which is what “laid back lifestyle” translates to in most languages other than NZ English) and find the absence of a culturally enriching life is a big disappointment. The Tikhonovs give New Zealand a big thumbs down and say its disappointing. Natalya (above) is a doctor and Denis is an electromechanical engineer. But in New Zealand they have been reduced to running a bottle store in the North Shore, Auckland.They also are concerned about the dumbing down of their children in their decile 10 North Shore school .
Natalya, who runs the store most days, can’t believe that she was good enough to be a doctor in an advanced country like Russia, but is not considered good enough to practise medicine in New Zealand, which is a dairy industry based economy…
While Denis has found work in his own area it isn’t anything close to what he was doing back in Russia. “He is desperate to return to Russia,” says Tatyana. “We think of Russia a lot.” Like the Barbins, they too worry a lot about the education of their two children. “Though the kids go to a top decile school, the school hardly teaches,” says Natalya. “Russian students in our children’s age group are much ahead.” The Tikhonovs, therefore, supplement their children’s schooling with maths and science text books sourced from Russia.
But what really upsets Natalya and Denis is the lack of cultural avenues in New Zealand. “From ballet to dramatics, from sports to leisure, there are an amazing number of activities for everyone in Russia,” says Natalya. “We used to live a culturally enriching life, and that’s something that’s just not available here.”
The Encyclopedia of New Zealand agrees: “Like earlier immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, some late 20th century immigrants from Russia found New Zealand still a disconcertingly ‘new’ country and missed the museums, galleries, theatres and sense of history they had left behind.”
The article concludes with the statement below.
But first, dear reader, you should know that it’s quite normal for skilled migrants to be found driving taxis in New Zealand. They have the skills and qualifications to pass through the difficult and expensive visa validation process, but being on the skills shortages lists somehow doesn’t translate in to jobs when they arrive in the country. New Zealand basically still has an agrarian economy and isn’t as developed as the countries from which it sources it’s migrants.
In New Zealand, because of the dairy and agriculture-based economy, Russian immigrants with expertise in high technology and science remain under-utilised. (In 2006, there was the well-known case of an Aeroflot pilot driving a taxi in Auckland.) While this has reduced the number of Russian immigrants to a slow trickle, those who have braved it to the Southern Hemisphere are determined to make it big.
Our advice to Russian migrants is to give New Zealand a miss. It simply isn’t worth your time, effort or expense.
The world is your oyster, in New Zealand you take the risk that you’ll be grit that never makes it to being a pearl.
You may also be interested in
Kids maths problems blamed on underfunding – 3News.co.nz
It appears the lack of a social life, and an almost negligible sense of community, is affecting people’s wellbeing in the most remote country on earth, something to consider if you’re from Europe and leaving friends and family to emigrate to New Zealand. Having a support network and somewhere positive to raise your kids is far more important than you’d realise… read on
Our very popular Migrant Tales series – LINK