An In-Between Space: Grażyna's Life in Italy
Image 3.1 It is estimated that 75% of migrants in Italy were working without proper authorization during this time (Reyneri, 2003, p. 117).
We have arrived. Now what?
The couple arrived in Rome and abandoned their car. This was a common practice by Polish refugees migrating to Italy as a precaution against their movement being tracked by Polish officials. Grażyna recalls seeing rows and rows of cars, even buses, abandoned by the many Poles who had also made the journey to Italy. Grażyna and Ryszard were now faced with learning a new language, finding employment, and learning to live in an unfamiliar place. They moved an hour east to Tivoli and found employment in the booming secondary job market. Compared to other Southern European countries which had an underground economy fueled by Eastern European migrants, Italy offered most work opportunities and highest wages (Reyneri, 2003, p. 5).
Image 3.2 Polish cars were abandoned once in Italy. Courtesy of Photobeppus © 2007
Grażyna and Ryszard wanted to obtain citizenship in Italy but found it difficult to secure. They applied for landed immigrant status to Canada, Australia and America, keeping their options open. The couple hoped to be accepted by Canada because they had heard from other Polish people that it was the best place to live and work. Grażyna and Ryszard were able to be strategic in their movements to both Italy and Canada. They knew that Italy provided opportunities for work, while Canada would be the next step in their goal to gain citizenship in a new place where they felt they could start a family.
Learning Language Through Work
In Italy, Grażyna and Ryszard made many friends, both Polish and Italian. As the couple travelled throughout the country, they learned conversational Italian through work and socializing. Grażyna always felt that work was the best way to learn a new language.
“Actually we were able to stay in Italy, but it was hard to get citizenship so we had three choices: Canada, Australia and the United States. But because everybody was saying Canada was the best place to live, to start a new life, we decided to come to Canada.”
How could granting migrants the opportunity to work legally positively impact the Italian economy?
“Canadian Landed Immigrant status requires a person to live in Canada a certain number of days and obtain a Canadian Permanent Resident Card (“PR”)” (Tadayoshi Tsuji, n.d.). A newcomer must first have obtained Canadian Landed Immigrant status before they can apply for Canadian Citizenship (Tadayoshi Tsuji, n.d.).