Youth, Citizenship and MigrationDecember 23rd, 2010
A Commonwealth citizen is generally described as a person, who is a national of any country within the Commonwealth of Nations. Under this organization, these nations agree to support the values and principles of the Commonwealth which addresses key matters such as democracy, equality, as well as access to health and education. This simple description indicates that these countries certainly share commonalities and ties however, various customs and immigration bureaucracies can attest to the independence of each nation.
Despite the fact that these immigration laws provide a protective barrier for these countries, they seem to create a greater divide instead of unity and harmony which is intended among the commonwealth. While it is easy for some young people to travel, work or even reside within the Commonwealth, others appear to experience much difficulty in accessing such opportunities. In Trinidad and Tobago, citizens from countries such as Australia, Canada, and United States of America do not require a visa to visit. In addition, if a Grenada national wishes to travel to Canada or United States a visa is required for entry. The option to travel and work unlocks opportunities for knowledge exchange, professional networking, cross fertilization of ideas and skills, cultural exchange as well as international work experience.
The youths of third world commonwealth nations tend to be at a disadvantage in relation to these opportunities since prospects for migration to another Commonwealth country can be exceptionally minimal and in some instances restricted. This is evident in the Working Holiday programs which are offered by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Previously, some of these programs were extended to more underdeveloped countries but they have rescinded such proposals. Mainly citizens of developed or first world nations can now gain from most of these arrangements.
Technology has broken the barriers to access education and individuals in underdeveloped countries can now study online or via distance learning. Although the theoretical components are taught and the human resource capacity of these countries benefit from this improvement, the practical component is lacking. This deficiency occurs even in instances where tertiary level institutions offer internship programs as an added asset to attaining a degree. In most cases, internship opportunities in specific Commonwealth countries cannot be accessed by the youth population of developing nations due to strict immigration regulations imposed.
As a youth within the Commonwealth, the opportunity to cross Commonwealth borders for the purposes of living and working should not vary because of the status quo of a specific nation. Movement within the Commonwealth should be promoted especially for young professionals of underdeveloped countries since the benefits will enable them to contribute to the Commonwealth market and by extension the global market through sustainable development. Developing Commonwealth countries require greater exposure in technology as well as legal skills particularly in the spheres of cybercrime, data protection, e-commerce and e-security. As a result, laws and policies will be fortified to further promote institutional strengthening and contribute to the progress of the human prospect. Although immigration regulations are critical to manage migration, mechanisms must be established to control such whilst the quest to achieve equity and improvement are not compromised.
– article by Sharleen Joefield