While Syriana’s claims about the ties between the CIA and Big Oil are questionable, there is a quick scene that relates to my research. The young Pakistani teen, after being fired from his oil company job in Saudi Arabia, is going to be deported unless he finds another visa. He is so desperate that he asks for work even if he doesn’t get paid. The response is that there is a long list of people looking for that kind of work as well. The employer then adds the relevant line: if you want work, you have to learn the language; you have to learn Arabic.
Migration choices should be affected by all sorts of costs: distance, culture, and language.