‘For me and my family, we integrated very well as we were open minded’
2015-11-15 15:35:07 -
Immigration
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Jasmin Prnjavorac from Bosnia found a new life for his family - and a new career - after moving to Ireland in the wake of the Bosnian War. He is pictured above.

 

The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin

 

It is often asked what the economic benefits of immigration are, and who actually enjoys them. For some immigrants, it is a struggle for human dignity; for others, a search for greener pastures.

 

But for enthusiasts of immigration like Jasmin Prnjavorac from Bosnia, there are large potential gains. The 44-year-old audio and video producer and editor came to Ireland in September 1996 and since then he’s embraced Ireland as his second home.

 

“Ireland is the country that gives me and my family existence and it’s a modern country with loads of opportunities for education, work and social activities,” he says.

 

Life in Ireland for Jasmin and his family hasn’t been without its struggles. Discrimination in the form of racist acts reared its ugly head on occasion. But the economic mobility and social inclusion enjoyed by the Prnjavoraces have overshadowed any such concerns, and especially as Ireland has opened its doors to a broader diversity of immigrants.

 

Integrating into the system has also been beneficial for Jasmin because, he says, of his cordial relationship with the native Irish. “For me and my family, we integrated very well as we were open minded,” he explains, “I made a good few friends among the Irish people, some of which are very close friends to me and my family.”

 

Jasmin attributes this to his choice of who he wants to spend his time with: “You’ll always find people that suit you and your personality the best.”

 

Some immigrants, he says, just love to experience other cultures and learn new ways to help them build a more effective society back home. Meanwhile, others who migrate in times of war wants to experience peace and keep their families safe until they are able to return home to resume their normal lives. In extreme cases, some never wish to go back ‘home’ because the atmosphere is not conducive.

 

“We wanted to blend into Irish society and learn about Irish culture and tradition and be part of it,” says Jasmin, and now since he and his family have fully integrated, there is “a little wish deep inside” him to remain.

 

 

The economic crisis that bit into the Irish economy some years ago certainly worsened discrimination against migrants, but it also increased the employment gap between them and the majority population.

 

Jasmin was not immune to the effects of the credit crunch and the dwindling economy, but he took the opportunity to change his profession to something he really likes to do, which is his current job as in video production.

 

The Bosnian is convinced that inequality exists where immigrants are poorly represented. “Even though Ireland is aiming to be a country of equal opportunities for all, which in many ways it is, there is still a long way to go to implement that in people’s mentality.”

 

He stresses that there are a number of areas in need of improvement because “some people are abusing the system [both Irish and foreigners] which is a big burden on the Government and subsequently on taxpayers.”

 

Jasmin also believes that “implementing more and more taxes, penalties, rules and regulations has a negative effect on people and is unfair, especially on genuine people who work hard.

 

“If you squeeze somebody harder and harder from day to day, there is a natural resistance that is born in people, and therefore this might lead to dissatisfaction generally within the population in Ireland.”

 

However, he is convinced that integration in Ireland is much easier than in many other countries. And for now, life for his family is much better in Ireland.

 

“Maybe eventually I will go back home, but quality of life back in my country Bosnia is still far away from the one we have in Ireland,” he says, “so that move is not going to happen at least in the near future.”

 

 

- If you’re an immigrant anywhere in the world and have a story to share, whether on our own behalf or on behalf of someone else, please email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com.

 

 

Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist and author with over 25 years’ experience in various roles, including as an executive PA to company directors, as a public relations executive, reporter, editor and publisher, research consultant and workshop facilitator.

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