To leave (for overseas destinations) or live (here)?
Filipinos and their counterparts in other nations leave the country; apply for visas when required mostly because they want to, not necessarily because they have to.
Visitor visas, also called temporary residents in Canada, nonimmigrants in the United States are the most wanted.
“Have-to-have” visas are sought after by individuals who seek to work, study or invest in a country where their talent, skill, ability and entrepreneurial drive would be recognized, respected and rewarded mainly because of a hospitable, level playing field in the country of intended migration.
Those are the internal factors pushing intending immigrants.
‘Have To’ Scenario
The next stage for a college student graduating in the next two months, for example, is to find employment. If licensure is required to practice the profession such as engineers, nurses, teachers, accountants, architects, then preparation to take the board follows.
Assuming the grad gets licensed, he or she needs to find employment. Last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that 22.6 percent of college graduates were unemployed. There was no verifiable data as to whether those employed find jobs directly related to their degree or course.
If employed, there is the issue of decent pay. Assuming the newly licensed nurse gets a job that pays P18,000 a month or P234,000 yearly.
Meanwhile, a schoolmate who opts to pursue further studies abroad e.g., New Zealand (after assessing her career pathway in the Philippines) decides she “Has To” particularly because international students could work 20 hours a week part time while in school (8 months) and work full time during off-school season (4 months).
The price of NZ studies (tuition for further education in the healthcare sector) would be P630,704. The prize would be part time work in NZ averaging $300 a week or $1,200 a month. In a year the working student’s income would be the equivalent of P902,400.00.
After a year, the international student could look to full-time employment and permanent residency with a job offer. She would no longer be paying tuition but earning an entry salary of P1.3 million as staff RN, a qualification directly obtained through studies.
The schoolmate who found an P18,000 a month job might get P25,000 the year after or P300,000 a year – still way below what the student, now working full time, would be getting. Knowing this option, the graduate-licensed RN left behind mostly would “Want To.”
Auckland, New Zealand, has been rated the third best city in the world in a 2015-16 survey measuring quality of life by Mercer recruitment consultancy. The ranking was based on the country’s internal factors, such as culture and environment, political stability, safety, infrastructure and ease of doing business.
The external factors, on the other hand, are the economic and political conditions in the country of choice to settle permanently.
The sectarian and ethnic conflict in Syria, the ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, abuses in Eritrea, poverty in Kosovo have driven more than a million migrants and refugees into Europe in 2015.
The tidal wave of refugees from these areas of conflict has prompted European Council President Donald Tusk to bluntly tell would-be migrants “to stop coming to Europe.”
To help stem the flow, Balkan countries and Austria have started to restrict, if not close, their borders, endangering the sanctity of the Schengen agreement.
If the European economy is thriving, the migrants would be seen as a boon, providing a steady pool of skilled, unskilled labor force. But recovery had been slow despite the drop in oil prices and the “European Central Banks’ quantitative easing, creating money to buy financial assets,” the Economist reported.
With growth uncertain given the slowdown in the economies of China and other emergent Asian markets, Europe regards migrants as mouths to feed instead of hands that can work.
On the other side of the Atlantic pond, the UK Guardian reported that the United States added “242,000 jobs last month, spurred by growth in restaurants, retail and healthcare. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%, …half of what it was at the height of the recession.”
And so they came – and continue to come by the millions to the United States, increasing by the hundreds of thousands every year.
Majority of the visa holders come because they want to. Not because they have to.
Nonimmigrant numbers (temporary visitors in various categories) increase by almost a million every year from 2010 to 2014.
Those that “have-to-have visas,” specifically refugees, come from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, with only 4,000 from Europe.
Note: (1) The totals on this table do not include replaced immigrant visas. Special Immigrant totals include returning residents, Iraqi and Afghan translators, certain Iraqis or Afghans employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government, and certain family members of Nonimmigrants.
(2) Combination B1/B2 visitor visa/Border Crossing Cards are issued to Mexican nationals. B1/B2/Border Crossing Card issuances are included in the “Visas Issued” line. ISIS and Conflict-driven. The total number of visas issued to applicants in the Near or Middle East had been increasing from 2005 to 2014.
Near/Middle East, the current areas of conflict, ISIS-affected include Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.
Filipino visa applicants reflect the global migration pattern. Most of those who leave the country “want to,” followed by those who “have to.”
The push factors in the Philippines are top-billed by lack of employment opportunities, feeling of hopelessness that the government is able or willing to genuinely serve the people, peace and order situation and, in general, the search for a better quality of life.
The “Have-Tos” are mainly overseas Filipino workers leaving at an average of 5,000 a day, ending up and adding to the millions already in the Middle East, Africa and other parts of Asia.
On the other end of the spectrum, the billionaires, the well-off and well-connected can leave or live anytime they want to.
They “Can, too” if they need to leave in a hurry (stack crates upon crates with plundered money, jewelry, assets) — such as when there is a change of government or an impending social revolution, or maybe a threat of plunder charges when no longer in public office would endanger their life’s routine.
Then they “have to.”