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OECS Members States Lead Passport Rankings

Caribbean News Now 12/7/2019

GENEVA, Switzerland – In the latest ranking of passport power and global mobility, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia are featured in the top five spots, among the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), member States.

St Kitts and Nevis held onto the top spot on the Index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 152, and 26 worldwide in terms of its passport’s strength.  The island gain visa-free access to Serbia, while losing visa-on-arrival access to Djibouti and Benin due to the adoption of an e-visa policy in these territories.
Moving into the third quarter of 2019, Antigua and Barbuda captured the second spot in the OECS, on the Index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 147. The twin-island ranks 29 globally while losing visa-on-arrival access to Djibouti and Benin due to the adoption of an e-visa policy in these territories.

Visa-openness and progressive reform linked to ranking
Political science researchers U─čur Altundal and Ömer Zarpli, of Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh respectively, have found that there is a link between visa-openness and progressive reform, and that a country’s ranking on the index reveals far more than simply the number of destinations its holders are able to access. 

Altundal and Zarpli’s unique research shows that even short-term travel mobility, which represents 85 percent of all cross-border movements, can positively influence political liberalization and democratization. Altundal and Zarpli observe that “the prospect of visa-waiver agreements with the EU has encouraged neighboring countries to adopt important reforms in areas such as civil and political rights, rule of law, and security,” and note that freedom of movement appears to be a vital pre-condition not only for economic growth, but also for social integration and progressive political change. 
With nationalism on the rise, and global powerhouses like the UK and the US embracing policies that limit freedom of movement, this new research indicates that associated impacts on political rights, rule of law, security and democracy could be profound.

 

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