Jamaica & the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index

Mao showing visa requirements for Jamaicans around the world. Photo Credit - WikiMedia.org

Mao showing visa requirements for Jamaicans around the world. Photo Credit – WikiMedia.org

Nationals of Jamaica currently enjoy visa free travel to some 77 countries around the world. While this may seem like a large number, many of the countries in which Jamaica has free free access tends to me within central and South America, the Caribbean and parts of Africa. Indeed, the map pictured above is a telling portrait of the extraordinary visa restrictions placed on Jamaicans by other nations.

Singapore leads the way in terms of the ability to travel unrestricted to other parts of the world. Singaporeans are allowed visa free access to 167 of the 219 countries surveyed. This is followed by countries of Scandinavia, the United States and nations of West Europe, as well as New Zealand and Australia. The countries that allow each other free reign within each other’s borders are largely Western, highly industrialized wealthy economies. For example, nationals of the United States, Canada, many countries in Europe; some Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore; as well as Australia, New Zealand can all travel visa free anywhere in the world.For details, see the 2014 Visa Restrictions Index report here –> http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/which-passports-are-most-accepted-around-the-world-20140

The flag of the European Union. Photo Credit - Euroespirit.org

The flag of the European Union. Photo Credit – Euroespirit.org

It is worthy of note that European countries irrespective of status, for the most part, have less restrictions among themselves. It is really about ease of assimilation, taking many shared factors into consideration. European countries also have many multilateral agreements that necessitate ease of travel for their citizens. Powerful nations also create border restrictions on societies with high levels of crime, corruption. and severely underdeveloped economies. The UK institution of visa rules was also as part of a wider crackdown on crime such as drug trafficking. Indeed, it is to be noted that although Commonwealth countries allow each other visa free access, it is noted that the highly inidustrialised strong economies that are part of the Commonwealth – New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom DO NOT allow visa-free access to less developed nations such as those of the Caribbean and Africa.

usainbolt12These nations however install border controls (visa restrictions) largely on Third World economies to prevent them from migrating to these larger economies and becoming burden on their public purse. In other words, border control is essentially designed to keep out the peoples of underdeveloped societies whose citizens would be more inclined to migration and become a burden on the economies of wealthy nations. In 2000, the UK installed strict visa regulations on Jamaicans, legislating that ALL Jamaican nationals entering the UK must apply for a tourist visa to enter tghe country. This was to prevent Jamaicans overstaying their time on temporary visas.
Some Jamaican argue that Jamaica does not have significant relations with many of the countries where travel for them is ‘difficult’. Other lament hard it is to find a Jamaican consulate, embassy or other diplomatic representation in the Eastern hemisphere. Yet Jamaica does have diplomatic relations with many places in Europe; Asia not so much. The only challenge is that one Ambassador serves many places. Jamaica’s multilateral relationships also rarely includes visa discussions. When the Government of Jamaica improves the situation of crime, improve the economy which will make our people want to remain at home, we might see some of these visa restrictions lifted.

 

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*  Follow the Re:Imagine Jamaica project at #BrandJamaica_

 

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