Immigration rules, conditions will gradually change for the better

16Dec 2018
Dar es Salaam
Guardian On Sunday
Immigration rules, conditions will gradually change for the better

WHILE the United Nations system was still grappling with how to arrive at a global compact on migration, there are indications that the ground is shifting, that the worst of attitudes may have been eclipsed with recent events in Europe and the United States.

Britain is grappling with how to get out of the European Union, and immigration (control of own borders) was a key issue in the quest to leave the model continental organization existing in the world.

The US isn’t altogether happy with its own brand of extremism, with Congress making it plain that it will not finance an 8,000 kilometer wall with Mexico.

In France, former national team player Liliam Thuram, who comes from what used to be called ‘French West Indies’ has in a recent interview observed that attitudes among the French have changed with the recent World Cup glory in Moscow.

It means that the French public is getting to be more tolerant of the presence of black people in greater numbers, while debates in the House of Commons on leaving the UK underlined that net immigration is vital so that there is labour for vital economic activities.

A shrinking population in much of the developed world means that they will have to get used to immigration, simply.

One paragon of conservatism in relation to immigration, Japan, is now coming under the same strain, and early last month it announced that immigrants permitted to enter the country and find contractual work can now stay indefinitely and bring family.

Its media outlets said the country was ‘overhauling’ its rules on foreign workers, citing ageing population concerns as harming economic activities and welfare expectations.

And it isn’t just an issue of getting labour, but also constraining trade unions to modest wage levels and increases, as acute labor shortages unavoidably leads to poaching workers by higher pay.

There are still areas around the world where color and religion identify a person and at times decide whether he ought to live or can just be harmed, but they are diminishing, as bitter civil wars across the past century have taught more recent generations that warrior attitudes aren’t helpful.

At times such attitudes have their roots in ancient belief systems which actually arose out of a world where humanity was but a wide series of hunting packs fighting for territory.

Even belief in divinity is marred by this outlook as the very mention of divinity is tied to nation, making the reference to ancestors, not God.

Making the world safer for migration doesn’t mean that migration itself should be encouraged, as it ought to be related to clearly expressed opportunities, not using up life savings to pursue an unfathomed dream, and then meet with dreadful conditions on arrival.

Authorities at various levels, civic and governmental, have plenty of work to do to dissuade young men who believe they will make it abroad, that chances of making it are narrow. They ought to err in caution and not pursue the dream, not err in overconfidence.

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