Policy experts are calling on governments to catch up to world trends and adapt concepts of citizenship to the new “global village” in which business is increasingly being conducted.
“Citizenship law is struggling to catch up with the new realities of global work,” says National University of Ireland Professor Mark Boyle. “It is still based on the notion of a sedentary population, rather than the nomadic population that many of us have become.”
Boyle and other experts in migration have noted that many individuals no longer situate themselves in one place, nor align themselves with one geographical country. Many immigrants keep at least two separate residences and travel back and forth. If they are unable to physically travel, new technologies are helping them to do so virtually.
These changes are directly tied to issues of labour migration patterns and the concept of permanent immigration. No longer do immigrants re-locate to a new country and lose ties with their homelands. India is one country that has seen a particular strong connection building among its expats, which is fuelling growth at home.
“India is increasingly looking to its Diaspora as an asset,” argues Boyle. “Many people argue that India’s technology development would not have happened without the overseas population, particularly in Silicon Valley. So the government has had to rethink its attitudes to its citizens. India has set up a whole government ministry solely to look after the expat Indians.”
Experts see the trend continuing in the future, and some are even predicting a day when physical location will no longer determine citizenship. Governments will have to adjust to these shifting paradigms in the coming years, or risk falling behind the rest of the global village.
Source: Globe and Mail