Transparent, apprehensible and sustainable – this is the epitome of a good policy. Our world has witnessed a steep rise in refugees over the last few decades, especially due to geopolitical and economic instability and conflict; thus arises the need to create legal pathways to welcome, integrate and safeguard them. A good immigration policy must answer who should come, from where, for how long and how many. The solutions to these questions are based on the factors that influence the formation of the policies.
The most important factor, in my opinion, are the values the country stands for. These values can be translated into humanitarianism, egalitarianism and acceptance of multiculturalism. Integrating refugees without deteriorating their identity must be the critical element of these policies. With respect to integration, another factor that must be given importance to is the availability of resources of the host country. It is always better to let in the right number of refugees who can be better accommodated with regards to health care, education, job and language training and housing as opposed to providing abysmal to no opportunities to a large number. If in case there is a mass influx, beyond what the host country can manage and afford, the factor that must be prioritized is cross-country mobility and in time, provisions for dual-nationality to refugees, apart from constructing anticipatory capacity. Countries that welcome immigrants must be given preferences such as subsidies for a period of time to foster acceptance and hospitality. Affordability does play a crucial role to prevent child refugees, in particular, from being separated from their family and detained, thus is the need for subsidies and other grants that better equip host countries to welcome those fleeing from crisis. Policies that inculcate representation of refugees who have been detained or in need of legal aid must be enforced immediately, parallel to the priority given to citizens of the host country, for, refugees are no less of a human than a citizen.
A factor that the host country can tremendously benefit from is the demand for immigrants and supply to fill the niches of the economy, resolve the issue of ageing population and address current needs. What comes to play in this scenario is perpetuity, employment and social security. If mishandled, this could result in violation of human rights, discrimination and trafficking, which again are factors that must be addressed while forming immigration policies. Reunification of families and prevention of child detention centers must be accentuated as children are most vulnerable to exploitation. In the recent times, we have witnessed an increase in women who flee from countries in seek of asylum, however, most countries register applications in the name of the male head of the family, thus, catering to the needs of women asylum seekers in particular must be an important component for framing schemes. With the right policies in place, an increase in migration will not just benefit immigrants, but also the host countries.
Countries must advocate to their population that migrants are not a threat and that a majority of them are politically dispossessed; racist, supremacist attitudes that rank self-interest must be met with resistance. In the current times, with COVID-19 still provoking anxiety and fear around the world, it is vital to factor in the acceptance of the citizens and make them aware of the ongoing humanitarian crisis coupled with the pandemic. Policies must probe people to think that asylum-seekers do not seek asylum from lavish circumstances, they are driven to flee, to avail the basic right to life. How can we be kind to ourselves when we can’t show compassion to those who need it the most?