States have the prerogative (along with the attitude) to be as silent as to visa requirements and reasonable (or unreasonable) as to the satisfaction of these requirements. There must be explanations for this: anti-immigration policies, prevention of foreign trafficking, profiling (especially Filipinas), etc. It is also possible that this is some form of overt discrimination against foreign applicants. They can’t do it directly, so they make it difficult in terms of paperwork. What is really the core explanation which we should openly discuss?

It may also be that some Filipinos, knowing or not knowing the consequences of their actions, have made it difficult for other Filipinos who have legitimate reasons  (at least in the eyes of the state of entry) for travel to actually get visas. For instance, if you are looking for work, why go on a tourist visa? Why is this happening? There are also anecdotes about Filipinos working in foreign embassies being more draconian and more disrespectful than the foreign nationals working in those same foreign embassies. This is the so-called “nang-iipit” syndrome. What could explain this?

It may also be that we need their visa approval; therefore, we are subject to their rules and ways of doing things. For instance, I applied for a visa in a French embassy in Germany. The requirements were a bit vague and I needed to clarify with my contact in the embassy. My contact can’t seem to answer the most basic of questions. (What kind of photos would you want? Biometric or regular?)  I brought everything which I think would be required along with the bare minimums and I made tons of copies (just to be safe). When I got there, it took only half an hour and I got the visa right there. The contact was quick and courteous, but the email correspondence was frustrating.

The influx of immigrants is always thought to be a bad thing by some, especially when an immigrant can be paid cheaper. This stirs up a lot of emotions about lost jobs in politicians’ rhetoric, further fueling the usually neutral sentiments of the state’s citizens. When living in a welfare state, children of immigrant families or children of mixed-race families get coverage as with children of “real” citizens. This latter statement is very unfortunate despite people willing to tolerate, wanting to embrace or learning more about other cultures. But you will hear this or something analogous when it comes to letting foreigners into a country. It is highly doubtful that reciprocity can solve this. In fact, reciprocity will arise once the core problem of anti-immigration sentiment has been solved.

Incidentally, a little economics, a little faith in market forces and a little seeing what is unseen could help in shedding light on these immigration-related problems. Hopefully, we could discuss this in another post.

Thank you M. Romero for your contribution!

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