Global Mobility of Affluent Individuals and Refugees – Two different sides of the spectrum

According to the Article 1 and Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN;

all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and no distinction shall be made on basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs. Yet, in our everyday life, we see such distinction being made more often than not.

Globalization is taking place at a fast pace; and the pace at which geo-political circumstances are changing is also tremendous. The results of elections and referendums are having a major impact not only on the daily lives of electorate, but also on the value of their nationality.

 

Migration

 

Why Do People Migrate?

 

1- When the internal quality of life in a certain country gets massively affected – either because of incompetency of the government or because of factors like wars – people would like to emigrate from such countries. This internal factor could lead to a desire of migration in all sorts of people of the respective countries – whether they are rich or poor; skilled or unskilled; educated or unschooled. Rich have resources, and opt for the (Investor) Migration Programs of developed countries, the UK for example (1). Skilled and educated explore the possibility of (Skilled) Migration to developed countries, Canada (2), Australia, New Zealand, for example. The poor and unschooled, in most case, can’t show the skills on the parameters set by most countries offering migration to skilled individuals and are, hence, left at the mercy of the society in their own countries where the governments don’t, or cannot, take care of their indigenous population. These poor and/or unschooled people – sometimes after getting tired of the internal situation of the country, or sometimes after getting provoked by certain agents – may try to opt for (illegal) migration.

 

2- The other factor that leads to Migration is the desire of getting a better nationality, a better citizenship, and a better passport. This is because citizens of certain developed countries – regardless of their own talent – enjoy visa-free access to a great number of countries; while the citizens of certain less developed, or diplomatically-fraught countries have to face the hassles of obtaining visas most of the time before they can commence their international journey (3). The people that opt for such type of (virtual) migration are usually high net worth individuals who need a better passport for their international travelling – with such travelling being an essential part of their business(es) or jobs. This desire of people had led certain countries, with well- respected passports, to create and design investor citizenship programs, also referred to as citizenship-by-investment. St. Kitts and Nevis was the first country to have structured an official citizenship-by-investment program back in 1984, just one year after its independence from the UK. These people, or the countries which offer such programs, often face criticism. The criticism may come from the indigenous population or from certain inter-governmental organizations. The critics say that citizenship, or passport effectively, should not be for sale (4). The proponents rebut this by saying that: these individuals are bringing talent to the host country in the form if their investment, and such investment could, and is being, used for the benefit of the indigenous population. They further validate their argument by saying that: if certain European countries can apply ‘selective’ migration policies to attract skilled doctors, or engineers; why can’t some smaller countries, in Europe, Caribbean, or the Pacific, design programs to attract funds to their countries which can be used for the betterment of current account deficit, or to improve the country’s debt to GDP ratio, or to employ extra doctors, or engineers, which couldn’t be afforded otherwise (5)?
Regardless of how much globalization the world continues to achieve; we have yet not achieved a global harmony. The concept of global citizenship – where no distinction shall be made on basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs – is far from being practical. This will continue to give rise to all sort of migrations: investor, skilled, and illegal.

The question is how can these be regulated?

a) Investor Migration: It is being regulated through due-diligence protocols opted by the countries operating such programs, and regulation could be made better by enhanced sharing of information between countries and the law enforcement agencies. All the countries that operate investor citizenship programs opt for such background checks, and these could further be improved.

b) Skilled Migration: It is usually operated in a way that the countries offering such programs announce their own list of skilled occupations against which the individuals apply. Some countries are also now attracting tech-entrepreneurs, or start-ups to their shores, although this category of migrants lies on the border-line of skilled and investor.

c) Illegal Migration: The number of illegal migrants wishing to enter the shores of developed countries, in hopes of a better life, are on the rise at the moment. Some are war/genocide victims, while others are just getting tired of the prevalent situation in their countries with little or no access to jobs, health and educational facilities. This was an important topic of discussion at
the European Council’s Meeting on June 28, 2018. The Council agreed on a number of proposals which could lead to combating human smuggling at the North Africa-Europe border. Among other points, one important element of this Council’s meeting was the recognition of need to improve the quality of life in Africa, and to increase private investments in Africa (6).

The root cause of (illegal) migration is the desire for a better life. If other developed countries, institutions, equity firms, and private philanthropists could recognize this need; a global fund could be created to improve the quality of life in certain African, Asian and South American countries through sustainable development. Such funds could focus on job creation, improving healthcare and educational facilities and to provide career counselling to the youth. If youth in these countries are empowered – we may not see a boat stranded in the Mediterranean (7); or the tragic deaths of young stowaways trying to fly in hopes of a better life from Accra to Heathrow (8), or from Havana to Madrid (9); or separation of minors from their children at the US-Mexico border (10).

 

About the Author: The article is written by Dr. Hussain Farooq who is the President of HF Corporation. In addition to advising private clients, the firm advises the governments in building strategies that could help in attracting foreign direct investment, into their respective countries, through development and re-structuring of investor programs. The career counselling department of firm voluntarily counsels youth so that they can become valuable assets of their nations.

 

 

References:

1- UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa:
https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-investor
2- Express Entry System, Government of Canada:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-
manuals/express-entry-system-immigrants.html

3- Citizenship-by-Investment – Ius Pecuniae Index and Travel Convenience Index:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UyvRbPTJuG8cDPZWrasV1sR9YovvB_yW/view
4- EU Parliament: EU Citizenship Should not be for Sale:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20140110IPR32392/eu-citizenship-
should-not-be-for-sale-at-any-price-says-european-parliament

5- Antiguan PM Slams CIP-detractors:
https://www.htsstlucia.org/antiguan-pm-slams-cip-detractors/
6- European Council’s Meeting on Migration:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/06/29/20180628-euco-
conclusions-final/

7- Rescue Boat Carrying 600 pax stranded in the Mediterranean:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italy-refugee-migrants-boat-stranded-
docks-matteo-salvini-mediterranean-sea-a8392946.htmlFrozen

8- Frozen Stowaways; Lax security blamed after 2 boys died in jet undercarriage:
https://www.thefreelibrary.com/FROZEN+STOWAWAYS%3B+Lax+security+blamed+aft
er+2+boys+die+in+jet…-a094967415
9- FAA; Survival at high altitudes: Wheel-Well passengers:
https://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/oamtechreports/1990s/me
dia/AM96-25.pdf
10- Federal judge in California orders a halt to most family separations at the US border:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/26/politics/federal-court-order-family-
separations/index.html