As I said in my last post, there were a few more issues of immigration that I feel the need to touch upon. You’ll notice that in my last discussion of the subject, I focused solely on individuals who planned on permanently relocating. However, as anyone with a modicum of education about the subject can tell you, this is not the only type of immigration one might run across. Temporary migration for economic or other reasons is also a common occurrence.
Would I allow this type of immigration under my policy? Of course. As I said, it makes sense to benefit from the labor of the industrious and the intelligent if you can manage it. I would not be hostile to wandering nomads, political refuges, or white-collar professionals on temporary business assignment (to name some examples) who wish to immigrate, provided I can find a way to make it worthwhile for whatever state I happen to be representing.
I would seek to be very careful in regards to letting non-citizens with no loyalty to my state to be allowed too much access to my country though. How to remedy this position with a willingness to let in qualified and capable people, though?
I favor special economic zones for this purpose. Temporary migrants would be granted permission to live and work in these economic zones which would probably be organized and set up in a fashion akin to Hong Kong or Dubai (visas to live and work in the country proper would be given out only on rare occasions). These zones would serve as buffer zones, semi-autonomous territories meant solely to contain the foreigners and provide revenue for the state.
Those who wish to migrate for temporary reasons would be allowed to apply for short-term visas (1-5 years). They would give few privileges beyond being able to earn revenue and find housing. These temporary immigrants would be granted essentially the same legal status as first-generation immigrants: no right to vote and no access to public benefits system (if such things were part of the country’s political framework). Beyond these restrictions though, these temporary migrants would be under the jurisdiction of the administrator of whatever special economic zone they ended up in.
Now, people have a way of not knowing how the future will turn out. The gift of foresight is bestowed upon few. Some immigrants who originally intended to visit temporarily may decide they wish to stay permanently. It would be a massive oversight indeed to not allow legal mechanisms for temporary migrants to put themselves on the path to permanent residency. In fact, I would suggest that temporary migrants should perhaps be given more weight in the consideration process for deciding who gets permanent residency (based on good conduct and productivity, of course, as well as all the other factors I laid out in Part Two).
One thing I would not do, however, is allow for the constant renewal of temporary visas. That sort of thing opens itself up to abuses. I would allow for one renewal of temporary visa status, and after that one must either apply for permanent residency or leave the country. This may seem harsh, but it would allow for up to 10 years of residency before being forced to make a decision. I believe that’s plenty of time for wandering nomads and globetrotters to enjoy themselves, as well as sufficient time for those on business assignment to complete their requisite tasks.
Given the nature of this system, it would obviously be prudent to ask for a few extra years on your visa if you expect that your plans might change. While punishment would be strict for overstaying ones visa, there would obviously be no recourse if one happened to leave with some time left on their visa.
As I have mentioned previously, much of this immigration policy framework that I have put forth has been influenced by my thoughts on what modern, western democracies ought to do. I obviously realize that different countries will need slightly different policies tailored to their particular needs and interests, but I think that this framework offers suitable principles that are could be made applicable to most situations.
Speaking of democracies, I do believe that democracies might face some immigration-related issues that countries operating under other systems of government might not necessarily have to deal with this. I touched on this in Part One, but I think some further analysis is necessary. I’ll also try to assess where the West went wrong, and offer up some suggestion as to how we clean things up a bit before the consequences become truly disastrous.