As many as 1.1 billion of us will leave our country to visit another country each year. That is over fifteen percent of the total population on earth. According to the World Bank, in 2017, approximately 1.57 billion departures took place all over the world, which is an increase of 60 percent since 2010.
There are approximately 3,603 high speed railway systems, 17,000 passenger planes, and 155,000 ships in the global tracking systems, as well as 1.2 billion cars in operation globally. We have created better, faster, more efficient and comfortable conduits for our domestic and international travels, and more are added each year. From the Mariana trench to the Moon, and soon, to Mars, we can figure out the mode to take us there. But the greater part of our travel will be on well-beaten paths, on planet earth, and primarily to the 220 countries and inhabited territories we call home.
What motivated our ancestors to migrate and populate the globe—war, thirst, hunger, family, survival, curiosity, pleasure, a sense of adventure—still motivates us now. According to Internations, which created the chart to the left, work and family account for over half of the reasons why people live abroad, with retirement and adventure as the secondary reason. By UN estimates, in 2017, approximately 258,000,000 people are living in a country other than the one in which they were born.
Why we travel is important for another reason. At each of the borders of the 194 countries and their inhabited territories, we have to seek permission based on the purpose of our travel. Some nations require us to get visas, or permission for entry, even if we are visiting temporarily as tourists or to attend a business function. Very few countries will allow nationals of other nations to live and work freely within their own borders without additional proof that such employment will benefit the local economy and protect local labors. Depending on the purpose of travel, how we seek permission also varies—online, at the point of entry, or in advance.
There are some exceptions to this permission request. The European Union (EU), and to some extent MERCUSOR and CARICOM, will allow other nationals in their membership to reside and work indefinitely under a common border policy. The EU consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK (until it fully withdraws). This means that nationals of one country can visit, live, and work in any member state. They do not need to prove that their employment will not affect the local labour market, and the employer does not need to apply for work authorization for an employee from another member state.
Other associations may have limits on residency and work visas from member states. For instance, MERCUSOR is an association of countries that have agreed to certain degrees of free trade and movement of labor. Consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, as full members, and Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname as associate members, MERCUSOR allows nationals of member states to live and work in another nation state for a period of two years. Venezuela was a member until December 2016, when it was suspended.
CARICOM, short for the Caribbean Community, is another association that provides for certain movement of labor and people. It consists of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The association gives certain individuals with the right skill and education the freedom of movement to live and work in other member states. There are many more agreements like these throughout Africa, North America, the Middle East, and Asia.
The Visa Adviser® App and Web App incorporates this type of information in its research for what is required of any nationality to visit any other nation and its territories for pleasure, business, transit, diplomacy, living, and working. The App attempts to incorporate the provisions of each of these agreements and their effect on the movement of labor among member states, and provides direct contacts with the offices that can confirm or clarify the information. Connect with Visa Adviser® App and our Web App for the latest updates!