“Congratulations, you did it.”- someone on my Visa approval
Visa discrimination is the unequal treatment of individuals based on nationality in visa issuance. This also includes excessive restrictions, higher rejection rates or unnecessarily long waitlists. This article highlights how India, despite being a nation with strong diplomatic ties globally is being discriminated against.
If you ever discuss visa issuance with anyone in your surroundings, you’ll get to know the hurdles one has to face. These grow exponentially when it comes to the USA or European countries.
WHY IS IT SO?
The latest Global Passport Power Rank places India at 69th position as of 29th May 2023. With 23 countries being visa-free. 47 being visa on arrival & 128 being in the visa required category. Our neighbour, China stands at 57th rank. Even countries like Ukraine and Argentina are way ahead of India. Even though these economies are stuck in war and economic hardships respectively.
World’s passports are ranked by their total visa-free score. Countries that share equal visa-free scores are sorted by the number of visa-free countries portion of that score.
This plagues Indians with unwanted difficulties in getting visas. This includes intensive background checks, excessive documentation requirements and a whopping waiting time of more than a year for some countries.
HOW IT HAPPENED?
Now, the question arises- “India, even after having strong diplomatic ties with various nations, why is it so? ”
The answer lies in the narrative that has been set out in the world for ‘INDIANS’.
This has been set up in 2 ways:
- GLOBALLY– There are various studies, indices and reports published periodically which shape the general perception. India, sadly, doesn’t perform well in these. This compels nations to believe that they should keep an eye on every Indian entering their provinces. These are:
- Human Development Index Rank ’22 (INDIA: 132nd position)Global Happiness Index Rank ’23 (INIDA: 126th position)Global Peace Index Rank ’22 (INIDA: 135th position)
- And many more…
These reports frame Indians as those who should be double-checked. But there’s something to know.
Many other organisations believe that these reports are often biased or influenced by powerful players. The actual picture is far different from what is shown. For instance, an index which measures the degree of freedom of speech globally put Afghanistan ahead of India. A reputed organization gave clean chits to those American banks after the audit which crashed & created financial havoc.
The point here is that through this means, narrative can be easily shaped for or against a party.
- INDIVIDUALLY– Yes, Indians are also responsible for this too. Indians must understand that things they might consider normal in their lands might be taboo otherwise. Things like misbehaving, skipping fines, breaking rules, staying against visa’s permissible limit and others also add up to already worse conditions.
WHAT CAN BE DONE? (we and I)
The Ministry of external affairs should directly negotiate with other nations regarding the issue.
India is emerging as a ‘World Guru’, with the highest projected GDP growth rate for 2023. India is the safest country in the world in terms of damage caused by recession prevailing in the whole world.
India never fails to be the first in helping other nations, regardless of past bitter instances with them. Let it be the C-19 pandemic times, any natural calamities or wartime crucial supplies, India always supports the globe selflessly.
This is important for all economies and each one of them should work towards strengthening their passport. This may seem unnecessary but have a huge impact in contexts we can’t think of.