The Path to Global Passport
How remote work will catalyse the existence of global passports
Passport is one of the most significant privileges in your life. Depending on the passport you hold, your life can become easy or hard. This affects both work and life.
But “Global passports” can be a reality in the near future. Remote work will be a catalyst in making this a reality.
A Brief History of Passports
If you trace down the history of a passport, you can read about many shady stories. Passport in today’s form was standardised after the first world war to curb the movement of immigrants.
Cooked up by a Western-centric organisation trying to get a handle on a post-war world, the passport was almost destined to be an object of freedom for the advantaged and a burden for others.
The U.S. passed the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and, later, the Immigration Act of 1924, limiting the inflow of immigrants. The emergency? Too many newcomers from countries deemed a threat to “the ideal of American hegemony.” How to identify an immigrant’s country of origin? By a newly minted passport, of course.
All this, while many first-world countries were busy colonising and looting the resources from the so-called “immigrant countries”.
The Path to Global Passports
Many trends are happening around the world that might lead us to the idea of global passports.
With covid, and the acceleration of remote work, the companies that provide infrastructure for global employment is also on the rise. I co-founded Carrom in 2018, intending to create borderless workplaces. It was probably a bit ahead of its time. Carrom is now part of Oyster, which is doing a fantastic job making this dream come true.
Global employment companies will pave the way to Global passports. Imagine a company with legal entities in all the countries in the world. They’ll be able to employ anyone, anywhere in the world and even sponsor their work visas.
Global Employment, Global Compensation
One of the caveats of many employment visas is the minimum salary requirements. For example, a person working in an average job in India won’t be eligible for this visa because their salary will be much lower than this minimum requirement.
But with global employment comes global compensation. Talent across the world have access to opportunities that will pay the global salaries, making them eligible for most employment visas.
Law Will Catch Up
Laws have always been a decade behind reality. It’ll catch up with the trends making things easier.
Progressive countries have already released nomad work visas - more countries will follow suit.
A combination of global employment and nomad visas will accelerate the path to global passports.
Country Unions and Joint Visas
It is even possible for countries to form unions and provide joint visas. This is nothing new. Schengen Area with 26 countries is the world’s largest of such unions. The East African Visa gets you access to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
It’s a matter of time before more countries start doing this.
Subscription to Countries: The Future
One of the biggest issues people who live in multiple countries face are taxation. There are confusing laws about tax residency and the conditions for paying taxes.
“Countries as subscriptions” could be the solution (there’s a bit of wishful thinking involved here). Imagine being able to volunteer and pay monthly taxes in a country in exchange for a period of stay.
Like how I would pay for a SaaS, I pay 500$ per month to the government to stay in their country. That would incredibly simplify the otherwise complex visa requirements for weak passport holders. There could even be more nuances like a maximum period of stay.
Travellers could have a set of globally accepted documents that can be used in all countries to verify their identity, income etc. (Blockchain 👀).
Borderless banking is already a thing. Companies that can make borderless taxation a reality will exist in the future.
Travel has become easier over the years. It’s a matter of time; something equivalent to the notion of Global Passports exists. Global employment and remote work will be critical catalysts to this.
Cheers to the future 🍻
Here are a couple of companies I recently came across that makes travel documentation easier.
Does all this sound too futuristic? Fifteen years ago, if you told someone about today’s remote work world, they too would have felt the same. We are not far from this future. It is coming at us faster than we think. If you loved reading, spread the word.
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