By Promod Rizal
Continuing the tradition as initiated by the English Puritans through Mayflower in 1620 AD, a good deal of people from around the world have chosen the United States as their final home. Bhutanese are among those who are the youngest to migrate to the States in the present context. Upon arriving in the land so different with its new culture, heterogeneous social composition, unprecedented economic boom and downturns , educational complication and competency and the language of different accent, Bhutanese are faced with new sets of challenges in the US labor market. Their skills and education are hard-to-be-considered tools for the education and skills they have attained overseas in their homestead and in Nepal are feeble to meet the US standard. However, people from Bhutan are still lucky as they have some amount of English requirements unlike some for whom English has been a totally new language and still a far cry.
Let us have a general look at how our people have so far been employed in the recession-hit labor markets across the USA. This is important to note that these people did not migrate in search of the companies that offer them with a high-priced paychecks. Rather, for sure, they chose to be resettled for a secure home away from war, persecution, conflict and every-day threat to their lives thereof. However, this turned inevitable for they have to incur the high expenses every months for their accommodation, adjustments and other miscellaneous bills carried into their mail box before the end of each month. The Service sectors that require little English/skills have enrolled a maximum number of resettled Bhutanese in America.
Known as a centennial state in the US, Colorado has already hosted some 15oo Bhutanese refugees. For most of the families, their suburban relocation has made it easier for both job hunting and housing contrasted with beyond-the-ability cost of living in the metropolitan locality. But they still have to worry about managing their daily lives. They have access to food markets with state-funded food stamp benefits. There are other things people need on the daily basis like Giffen’s goods for which they need the cash. Though cheaper than other things, transportation is another important thing that needs at least $70 every months or two dollars each time they board the state-run local transit. Having their own car is still a dream unfulfilled for most of the families. However, some have managed themselves to have the car of their own.
After eight months of assistance from the resettlement agencies at the most, refugees meet with hard challenges to find job in the competitive labor markets. This has been no exception for Bhutanese as well. For those who have been employed to generate little amount of income, life has been little easy but those who do not have any means to mobilize their dire financial requirements know where the shoe pinches exactly. There are people here who do not have even a little English as demanded by employment sectors across Colorado. Their sons and/or daughters who otherwise would have helped them working part times or full times are still under the minimum age level for legal employment as per the state law and have incumbency to attend public schools.
On the eastern plain off the Rocky Mountain Range, Bhutanese have more of hardships and a little ease to meet with. Hardships, because job placement is of tough question in a state with one of the largest populations in the nation. Ease, in a sense, that they have at least of the basic requirements to lead life unlike the dismal living back in the camps in Nepal. Demography is as yet diverse as the topography and as dynamic as the weather of this place. To find employment amidst these complexity has been another challenge for people who have come here to discover their lost destiny. With assistance from resettlement agencies for their job placement, Bhutanese are among the resettled to get employed faster and in greater number though. House keeping companies, hotels and restaurants, cleaning companies, customer services, cashiers are some of the many fields Bhutanese can be seen working at. In Colorado, Denver, Aurora and Colorado Spring are the three places where Bhutanese have been resettled with the population concentrations in Denver. Majority of these working people are at Denver International Airport (DIA). Hyatt and Casinos at Rocky rank next to DIA. Another small number of these populace are employed in meat processing plants located in Greeley in northern Colorado, hotels around Denver, Old care Centers and shopping complex around their habitations. These work fields require employees to work for flexible shifts, mandatory overtimes and weekends. They are expected to dedicate longer hours in return for minimal wages which is the parameter for the job skills of entry-level workers in America.
Following the American Dream, the United States was founded on the belief that all individual can take control of their destiny and create their favorable environment. But it cannot be predicted now as to how long Bhutanese in America have to wait before a real turn of ace on their deck- the achievement of that American Dream. The US is a nation that still believes opportunities should be taken and hard work rewarded. So why not take opportunities and work hard to get rewarded.
(Mr. Rizal is the member of the editorial circle, Bhutanusa.com)
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