Global Reset: COVID-19 has unleashed a new wave of migration

The pandemic has been a significant disruptor on multiple levels, displacing millions and inspiring many more to reconsider dual citizenship.

Conflict and uncertainty – be it economic, political, environmental, or pandemics – have historically triggered mass migrations. In the years following World War II, the Cultural Revolution, the Vietnam War and the Partition of India, millions left home, some displaced by force and destruction, others by choice. And all hoped for a safer and more promising future.

Seismic in scope, COVID-19 is also influencing migratory patterns, having frozen economies and threatened the health and livelihoods of people across the globe. “Although it’s too early to outline trends, it is evident that many migrants have been stranded, lost their jobs, and suffered significant reductions in remittances due to COVID,” says Itayi Viriri, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration.

“Migrants are also finding it difficult to return to countries where they may have worked and lived for years. Some of this may be temporary, but some changes will likely be permanent, or at least long-term.”

In March 2020 alone, The World Bank recorded the largest migration in South Asia since partition, with foreign workers in places like Europe, the Gulf and North America returning home in what experts have dubbed the the “Great Reverse Migration.”

Citizens from wealthy countries who hold traditionally powerful passports have also experienced a “global reset,” says Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital. And in the face of unprecedented restrictions on travel and migration, mobility has become more valuable than ever.

“Those who have dual citizenships or multiple passports have thrived during the pandemic as they’ve had more options and greater mobility. I think as people become more aware of this, there will be even more interest in dual citizenship – it may even become the norm.”

When it comes to patterns, Arton says investors are choosing – and will continue to choose for the foreseeable future – countries that have “managed COVID well”, ensuring relatively low infection rates and fast, effective vaccine programmes. He points to success stories like New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Portugal and various islands in the Caribbean as destinations that will see more applications in the future.

He predicts CBI/RBI programs in countries such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda – whose passports rank among the 35 most powerful – will be increasingly sought-after in a post-pandemic world.

“Dual citizenships may become the norm in the future,” adds Arton. “In addition to general COVID management, vaccination rates and taxes will also play a role. As governments inject trillions into their economies, the super-wealthy in the US, Europe, Canada anticipate tax increases in the future and may choose to relocate.”

Have you read the 2021 Passport Index Q1 Report? 

2020 was the year of lost travel plans. Prompting many to think that 2021 would be the year that makes up for it. But after diligent analysis of data collected from Passport Index throughout the start of 2021— the reality of global mobility paints a different picture. The 2021 Passport Index Q1 Report reveals which countries remained at the top of the ranks and which slipped far below, as well as what to expect moving forward.

Find the full report, here.

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