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Climate humanitarian visa: international migration opportunities as post-disaster humanitarian intervention

Denise Margaret S. Matias ()
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Denise Margaret S. Matias: University of Bonn

Climatic Change, 2020, vol. 160, issue 1, No 9, 143-156

Abstract: Abstract With global action being outpaced by climate change impacts, communities in climate-vulnerable countries are at increased risk of incurring climate-induced losses and damages. In the last few years, disasters from extreme weather events such as typhoons have increased and have breached records, with typhoon Haiyan being the strongest ever typhoon to make landfall. Such an event solicited global compassion and altruism where Canada and the USA, apart from doling out traditional humanitarian aid, also offered immigration relief opportunities to typhoon Haiyan victims who have familial connections to their residents. Drawing from these immigration relief interventions, this paper uses a sociopolitical approach in proposing a climate humanitarian visa that would be offered to climate change victims on the basis of transnational family networks and skilled labor. Noting that several countries such as in Europe have demographic deficits and labor shortages, such a scheme would benefit both climate change victims and receiving countries. To counter the risk of selective compassion against economically trapped populations, potential receiving countries could provide skills upgrading geared toward addressing their labor shortages through their existing development programs. While migration is only one strategy in a spectrum of responses to climate change impacts, a climate humanitarian visa could provide climate change victims a legal choice for mobility while invoking altruism, hospitality, and compassion from potential receiving countries, whether or not they historically cause climate change.

Keywords: Climate change; Extreme weather events; Emigration; Displacement; UNFCCC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02691-9

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