Topic 2 Further tips on networking with others

In a context of increased controls at external borders as well as within the European space, migrants who cannot opt for regular channels of movement must rely more and more on social relations in order to enter, move and stay in Spain, be received and subsequently find work and regularise their situation.

Migrating outside the official channels involves using means whose access is not as simple as going to a travel agency and buying a ticket. It is necessary to know where to go, who to see, what to do, how and with whom. At each stage migrants rely on social relations because they are indispensable to their projects. Far from being limited to the family or community environment, the networks used by migrants are made up of very diverse social actors, and these support networks vary at different stages of the migration project.

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Networks are mainly defined by relationships of friendship, affection or the exchange of instrumental help. They often provide the necessary avenues for accessing various resources for employment, housing or help with domestic issues such as caring for dependent family members.

The kind of use of certain networks would be understood as a differentiating characteristic in the migrant population, as a means of adaptation to the new environment in which they live, as well as a resource aimed at reducing the risks associated with their situation of greater vulnerability in a new context.

Support networks come in different forms: formal and non-formal networks, institutional, for a specific need, more stable over time, etc.

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As we know, support and contact networks are fundamental in our daily lives. For many of us, these networks have been decisive in getting a job, finding out about support initiatives, finding out about administrative procedures, having someone to look after our children, etc.

Networking consists of seeking, creating, capitalising on, and maintaining networks of contacts, with the objective of reaching and achieving a common benefit. Successful networking will be the result of building a wide and effective network of contacts, with the purpose of establishing some kind of activity that can benefit both parties.

It is important to keep and expand our networks. So here are some tips on how to maintain and expand them:

Tips on networking

Go to these institutions to ask about the different programmes and projects they carry out. Take part in their activities and get to know the people involved in these activities.

Friends and acquaintances are not the only source of contacts, but they are certainly an important part of building your network. Meet more people, go to different activities or meetings organised by your friends and acquaintances. Invite your friends and acquaintances to different activities and invite them to bring more friends with them.

If you have a mobile phone or access to the internet, look for information about different programmes and projects that might interest you. Attend activities organised by public institutions or organisations.  They often organise free activities that are attended by many people. This is your chance to get to know them and build relationships.

Many public institutions offer programmes focused on migrant populations. Use different means to find out about these programmes: friends, acquaintances, internet, newspapers, etc.

Look for groups doing adult or family activities, sports, walks, readings, talks, etc. Go to the events that interest you most and get to know the people.

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