|'On your return, don't bother with a visa. You'll be grand.'|
Focusing on this country, perhaps the people’s negative migration dealings have made them somewhat sympathetic to the ‘plight’ of those visiting here, or more pertinently, those who want to stay on a longer-term basis. A case of, ‘if we continue to be welcoming, especially to peoples from the West, in time they will be more welcoming towards us.’ It’s a nice thought, if a little naïve.
Considering, broadly speaking, I am for a freer movement of people across borders with less restrictions and bureaucracy for those who want to settle in their non-birth country – especially if they are not a burden on their new state – the Colombian approach, in general, is quite refreshing.
However, for a state that is trying to be taken seriously among the global powers, having a modicum of sense to the system wouldn’t go astray. For judging by anecdotal evidence, the way Colombian immigration control currently operates encourages illegality.
For example, there are foreigners here who have knowingly overstayed their respective visas for a considerable amount of time, with some of these repeat offenders. When they do finally decide to ‘sort out’ their situation, what tends to happen is that they get a token fine and can get another visa with little difficulty, without a black mark to their name.
|The answer is Colombia; & it's easier without a visa. (Image from colombia.co.)|
Thus, there appears little incentive to do things by the book. Indeed it appears you’re more likely to spend less money and have less hassle if you just hang around illegally and deal with the problem at a time that suits you, paying little attention to what’s stamped in your passport.
Now to state again, in theory I like the idea of having light-touch regulation as regards immigration. Yet, what I don’t like are double standards. It could be argued that Colombian authorities are supporting lawbreakers over 'law-abiders'. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised about that.
Hats off, though, for doing their bit for a ‘freer world’. They could just try and make it a bit fairer.
*Check out Phantom freedom for more on that.