When it comes to travel freely, not all are born equal. As the Henley Passport Index (HPI) shows in its 2019 Global Passport Ranking, presented Tuesday, the new global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens is headed by Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
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“Migration has become an ever more central issue in world affairs, both a cause and a consequence of other major themes on the global agenda, such as economic growth, political instability, and climate change. We live in a world where all major issues, including migration, have become by definition cross-border,” Founder and Managing Partner of FutureMap Parag Khanna said on Henley’s Mobility Report.
Since 2005 the site provides a ranking of 199 passports from around the globe according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free. The number of countries that a specific passport can access becomes its “score.” The official data is gathered in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The three Asian nations lead with 189 countries, and in the top 10 are joined by France, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden (187 countries), Luxembourg and Spain (186 countries), Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (185 countries), United States, Belgium, Canada, Greece and Ireland (184 countries), Czech Republic (183 countries), Malta (182 countries), Australia, Iceland and New Zealand (181 countries) and Hungry, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia (180 countries).
Each of the passports for which the score is to be determined is checked against every one of the 227 possible travel destinations for which travel restriction information exists in the IATA database. These cross-examinations continue throughout the year so scores will continuously change, towards the next year’s index results. According to the Index, Latin America, on average, has access to 50 percent visa-free.
On their 2019 Mobility Report, experts have identified the four main drives for migration as wealth, talent, forced and climate. “Estimates about the scale of climate displacement vary from 25 million to two billion people,” Professor of Climate and Environmental Law at the University of Sydney Rosemary Lyster warned.
As director at the Andan Foundation, Paola de Leo, added that “because of conflict, persecution, or generalized violence, 31 people are forced to leave their homes every single minute of every single day.” Thus the HPI permits policymakers to understand how mobility is affected by borders and barriers placed on a piece of paper.