The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Australia puts migrants to culture test

Migrants hoping to become Australian citizens will soon have to take a test examining their knowledge of the country's history and institutions, and endorse national values including "mateship".

While Australia prides itself on its multicultural heritage, the government wants newcomers to "integrate" more fully. From later this year, prospective citizens will have to demonstrate an understanding of the English language. They will also be obliged to answer 20 questions, from a potential bank of 200. Anyone who gives fewer than 12 correct responses will not receive a passport.

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Culture still a major factor in expat failure

The Cartus Emerging Trends in Global Mobility: Policies & Practices Survey shows that an accelerated shift from long-term to short-term international relocation assignments is expected by the end of 2009. China's popularity as a destination is growing the fastest when compared with the U.S., Great Britain and India.

Cartus, a global mobility management and workforce development consultant, conducted the survey with 184 respondents from companies in 25 major industry segments. The organizations surveyed represent more than 83,000 assignees and have headquarters in 19 different nations.

Cartus also identified why these international assignments fail, regardless of being on a short-term basis. The top three reasons were family adjustment, at 71%; assignee personal style, at 48%; and cultural differences, at 40%.

This is easily remedied with intercultural and language training, which more companies are offering. The survey shows that intercultural training was offered by 55% of companies in 2007, versus the 28% offered in 2004. Meanwhile, 58% of companies offered language services for families, an increase from 30% in 2004.

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Language and Cultural background holding foreign-born workers back

“When you're looking at skills and technical professions there's a good body there of commonality,” said Tom Ryan, who's in charge of Communitech's recruitment strategy. “What we also find is culture shock. We find culture shock and language as a two-part killer.”

Not always, according to Herbert Hess, president of Hess Associates, which provides a placement service for people looking for work in the IT sector. Hess said that while language and culture shock can be a problem for some immigrants looking for work, people from countries such as India are used to working 10 to 14 hours a day - the kind of work ethic employers are looking for. “They've got language skills, communication skills and are very well educated. They don't seem to have a problem in terms of fitting in.”

Hess said he's seeing more Middle Eastern people looking for work nowadays compared to previous years, when Russian and Asian workers dominated the field.

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Very un-Canadian Canadians!

Very un-Canadian Canadians!


Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.

"Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions," the firm said in a statement.

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Union publishes Safety Guide for Migrant Workers

The TUC has published an employers’ guide to help ensure the safety of migrant workers.

The document, Safety and Migrant Workers, warns employers that many migrant staff are more vulnerable than UK employees to illness, injuries or death at work due to a lack of safety training, non-existent or inadequate safety clothing and equipment, and poor English skills.

Problems with language and a poor understanding of the culture in British workplaces means that some ‘rogue employers’ are likely to be cutting corners and risking the health of their migrant workforce.

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Monster Launches "Top Companies for Diversity"

Monster®, the leading global online careers and recruitment resource and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc.  today announced the Monster Top Companies for Diversity TM a comprehensive, employee-focused quantitative assessment methodology for evaluating a companys diversity and inclusion performance against a national standard. Monsters Top Companies for Diversity measures the perceptions of a companys employees regarding the employers performance on specific diversity factors across three broad categories: organizational commitment to diversity, fairness in compensation and culture of inclusion; results are then compared against an established national benchmark for analysis.

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Language & Culture Barriers leading to Health Issues

Language barriers, a lack of health insurance and cultural differences all are likely causes behind low mammogram rates among Hispanic women in Texas, state health experts say, the Austin American-Statesmen reports.

Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women in Texas did not receive a routine mammogram last year, compared with 21% of blacks and 27% of whites, according to CDC data. Cultural factors are one way to explain the low mammogram rates. Patricia Chalela, a health care researcher in San Antonio who has examined the low rate of mammograms among Hispanic women, said, "Hispanics don't see a doctor if they don't feel sick." She added that many Hispanic women "always think in terms of family first" and that women "are the ones that take care of the family. So any needs that they have are put last." She added that many clinics providing mammograms do not offer services in Spanish.

Read more: Statesman 
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Language & Culture Barriers leading to Health Issues

Language barriers, a lack of health insurance and cultural differences all are likely causes behind low mammogram rates among Hispanic women in Texas, state health experts say, the Austin American-Statesmen reports.

Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women in Texas did not receive a routine mammogram last year, compared with 21% of blacks and 27% of whites, according to CDC data. Cultural factors are one way to explain the low mammogram rates. Patricia Chalela, a health care researcher in San Antonio who has examined the low rate of mammograms among Hispanic women, said, "Hispanics don't see a doctor if they don't feel sick." She added that many Hispanic women "always think in terms of family first" and that women "are the ones that take care of the family. So any needs that they have are put last." She added that many clinics providing mammograms do not offer services in Spanish.

Read more: Statesman 
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