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Economic recession has hit a number of countries in the world and this has led to an increase in immigration from the less privileged countries to the comparatively better off. For those seeking to escape this recession one of the driving forces seems to be the age-old misconception that the grass is always greener on the other side.

Take the example of Mexico and many South American countries whose residents are dying to cross the border and disappear in the good old USA. How many of these dreams crystalize into reality and how many end up as nightmares is anyone’s guess. According to many Hollywood movies, these illegal immigrants are happy hunting grounds for drug cartels.

This phenomenon is not limited to the USA and as the world with each passing day becomes a planet which becomes more challenging and decidedly more dangerous, given the rapid climate change the shifting of large numbers of people from one corner of the world to the other becomes one of the most challenging traits of modern day living.

There are also the legal immigrants who have patiently fulfilled all requirements of their intended country of settlement. This is a painstaking task that requires patience and years of planning to satisfy the different requirements of paper-work and educational levels of different countries. Having a close relative already in possession of legal citizenship of their intended country of immigration boosts their chances many folds.

For countries like the USA, Canada, Australia this is the norm. A young boy from the family manages to get admission in an educational institution abroad and before passing out manages to acquire legal status in the host country. It is not difficult to find a match for such a well-placed young man and once he is well settled those of his close relatives can follow.

A number of companies have sprung up in Canada, the USA and other favorite immigration destinations to help these intending pilgrims and many of these are either run by or have as advisors well trained and knowledgeable immigration lawyers.

So what is the immigration scene in Pakistan? According to reports this year nearly a million people including a large number of professionals migrated from Pakistan and most of them ended up in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has always been a favorite destination of migrants from Pakistan. Apart from the much higher earnings there is the added attraction of performing religious responsibilities and even extend that facility to near relatives specially parents.

While Saudi Arabia might be the favorite destination for migrants of Pakistani origin it is not the trend worldwide. Other countries that are equally attractive for migrants from other parts of the world include the USA and Germany. Also Pakistan is not among the top countries of the world that are a source of illegal immigration.

A Department of Homeland Security report in 2021 estimated that the top six countries of origin for undocumented immigrants were Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Honduras and China.

Do you have any idea how many people migrate around the world? The current global estimate is that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population.

All the immigration around the world is however not illegal or as a consequence of dangerous death defying boat rides. A more popular though restricted method of safe and smooth immigration is through investment. Many countries of the world have safe and secure investment plans for granting immigration. Popular residency by investment countries are Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus. The easiest countries to obtain citizenship through these methods include Argentina, Canada, Italy, Poland, and Peru.

There has been a phenomenal increase in illegal immigration as a results of conflicts that erupted in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring. Many countries got involved in these armed conflicts and as established governments were overthrown and new players armed with latest weaponry emerged on the scene giving birth to the now well-established business of boat people.

Thousands have perished since then in attempts to flee their homeland embroiled in conflict and plagued with insecurity.

For Pakistan the flow of immigrants threatens a brain drain that the country can ill afford. Pakistani graduates from the finest universities opt out of the country after completing their education and thus the investment in their education does not benefit the country.

It is hoped that this will change and our investment in the education and training of these young men and women will return the favor to help Pakistan achieve its goals in the years to come.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi

The writer is a well-known columnist

Comments

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Shamsudduha Zuberi Vice President EPWA Sep 18, 2023 10:19am
In present inflationary time, this is the burning issue for not only the under develop countries but some developing countries are also effected with high inflation rate. We can see that UK economy is sheltered and inflation is on high side in U.K. we should adopt simplicity to reduce our expenses on non essential items. Our day to day life style should be reversed to simplicity.
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KU Sep 18, 2023 12:22pm
The increase in immigration is also a message to the US and EU on how not to encourage corrupt democracy in a country like ours, and not to fall head-over-heels on only trade interests because the policy of the same old political world order is coming around to bite them. The powerful foe in climate change has the potential to destroy the basic notion of civilized societies and their survival, which is why the world powers need to revisit their world focus on developing countries and ensure that the corrupt do not lead their countries into oblivion.
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