Passport Power ranks largest travel freedom gap ever

LONDON, October 5, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The latest results and research from the Henley Passport Index show how the proliferation of entry barriers over the past 18 months of the pandemic has resulted in the largest global mobility gap in its 16-year history, with senior passport holders Japan and Singapore able to travel visa-free to 166 more destinations than Afghan nationals, which sits at the bottom of the index with access to just 26 countries without the need for a visa in advance.

Based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the index, which ranks all passports in the world according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa, shows that countries in the north of the world with high ranking passports have enforced some of the strictest travel restrictions linked to incoming Covid-19, while many countries with lower ranking passports in the south of the world have relaxed their borders without seeing this reciprocal openness. This has created a growing gap in the freedom to travel, even for fully vaccinated travelers from countries at the bottom of the passport rankings and who remain excluded from most countries of the world.

Unique expert research and analysis commissioned by investment advisory firm Henley & Partners, a global leader in residency and citizenship, indicates that this gap is likely to widen, as restrictions linked to the pandemic are taking hold and widening the already wide gap in global mobility between advanced and developing economies. Japan, which shares first place in the index with Singapore due to their visa-free / visa-on-arrival score of 192, currently prohibits entry to almost all foreign nationals. Germany, which is next South Korea in common-2sd place with a visa-free / visa-on-arrival score of 190, currently limits entry to almost 100 countries.

At the bottom of the index, Egypt, ranked 97e, currently has no travel restrictions in place, but its citizens can only access 51 destinations around the world without acquiring a visa in advance. In the same way, Kenya, which ranks 77e, has no travel ban in place, but its passport holders can access only 72 visa-free destinations.

Covid an excuse to curb visitors from the south of the world?

Commenting in Henley & Partners Global Mobility Report 2021 Q4, Prof. Mehari Taddele Maru of the United Nations University Institute states that “the global north has been pursuing aggressive migration containment strategies for some time now through the rigid application of border controls, compromising the movement of people in various ways. Travel restrictions associated with Covid-19 are new additions to the toolbox of migration containment instruments used by the Global North to curb mobility from the Global South. ”

Recent adjustments to UK and US Covid ban policies, which share 7e place on the index with a visa-free score of 185, have done little to alter what experts perceive as growing inequalities in freedom of travel and access. Their refusal to recognize vaccines administered through Africa, South America, and South Asia. Although the United States has now opened its borders to all fully vaccinated travelers, the recent UK review of its “red list” still excludes fully vaccinated travelers from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, and South Africa.

Commenting on these latest developments, Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, president of Henley & Partners and inventor of the passport index concept, insists that “if you want to restart the global economy, it is essential that developed countries encourage inward migration flows, instead of persisting with their restrictions exceeded and their exclusive approach to the rest of the world. “

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SOURCE Henley & Partners

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