Global travel freedom gap widens amid pandemic
The tightening of restrictions brought on by the pandemic – not always for reasons related to COVID-19 – has made travel more difficult for people with HNW as well as everyone.
The gap between the power that some jurisdictions’ passports have over their holders has widened dramatically since the global pandemic erupted. Japan and Singapore remain at the top of the tree.
An index compiled by Henley & Partners, one of the leading companies advising HNW and others on so-called “golden visas” – citizenship / residency programs by investment – places Singapore and Japan in first place , while Afghan nationals sit at the bottom of its rankings. (In the case of the Afghans, the Taliban takeover following the controversial US military exit from Afghanistan is also a factor.)
The passports of Japan and Singapore, with a score of 192, allow visa-free travel to 166 destinations, more than is the case for Afghan nationals. This is the largest gap since the Henley Passport Index was produced 16 years ago.
Japan currently prohibits entry to almost all foreign nationals. Germany, which sits alongside South Korea in second place with a visa / visa-on-arrival exemption score of 190, restricts the entry of people from nearly 100 countries. At the bottom of the index, Egypt, ranked 97th, has no travel restrictions in place, but its citizens can only access 51 destinations around the world without acquiring a visa in advance. Likewise, Kenya, which ranks 77th, has no travel ban, but its passport holders can only access 72 visa-free destinations.
Henley & Partners said the restrictions initially introduced to contain COVID-19 are “practically enforced to contain mobility from the south of the world.”
“The Global North has been pursuing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the rigid application of border controls, compromising the movement of people in various ways,” said Prof. Mehari Taddele Maru, researcher at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration. Studies, says. “Travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 are new additions to the toolbox of migration containment instruments used by the global north to curb mobility from the global south. ”
Recent adjustments to restrictions by the UK and the US, which share 7th place in the index with a visa-free score of 185, have “done little” to change what experts perceive to be. growing inequalities in freedom of travel and access. , according to the report. Their refusal to recognize vaccines given in Africa, South America and South Asia made the problem worse, he said.
“If we are to restart the global economy, it is essential that developed countries encourage inbound migration flows, instead of persisting with outdated restrictions,” said Dr Christian H Kaelin, President of Henley & Partners. “Resourceful countries need to sustain their economies by attracting and welcoming the next generation. It is essential that advanced countries consider revising their current somewhat exclusive approach to the rest of the world and reform and adapt to overcome competition and not miss the opportunity to exploit potential.