Calm Before the Storm by https://adrianolczyk.deviantart.com/

Calm before the storm by Adrian Olczyk / Deviant Art / CC BY 3.0

France has long been one of the brightest stars in the constellation of Western culture.  Paris in the 1920s and 30s played host an absurd number of momentous artistic and literary figures.

T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Edith Piaf, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky—

The list goes on.

So, surely, France would be an ideal place to immigrate, oui?

No.

At least not come 1940.

Forecasting geopolitical storms isn’t like predicting the weather.  You can’t always predict when a nation is headed for trouble—many times, your predictions could turn out to be totally wrong. (OK, so maybe it is a little like predicting the weather.)  That being said, there are some countries that it’s relatively safe to assume will be anything but safe. 

You don’t want to be caught in a socio-political storm once it begins to thunder across a country or region, so take heed of this list, the top 10 most ominous immigration destinations, where the storm clouds are already gathering and immigration is already a risky business.

 

Russia

"Moscow, City May 2010 03" by Photo: NVO - Own photo.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow,_City_May_2010_03.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Moscow,_City_May_2010_03.JPG

Moscow by NVO / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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Do we really need to go into too much detail here?

The cost of the controversial Sochi games is going to impact the country for many years to come.

The economy is currently being hammered by sanction after sanction for Russia’s continued intrusion into Ukraine’s national sovereignty.

Russia’s anti-gay laws and jailing of members of the LGBT community has drawn international condemnation, and could pose problems for you if you’re either gay or choose to speak out against the nation’s policies.

Russia is a bastion of culture, and has produced some of the greatest artists, writers, and composers in world history.  Moscow, St. Petersburg, and much of Western Russia have contributed greatly to the history of art and music, while Eastern Russia is home to some of the greatest landscapes and animal populations in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s a shame, therefore, that the nation’s such a social and economic danger for potential immigrants.

 

Moldova and Estonia

"Moldova rand 1" by Maris Juuse - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moldova_rand_1.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Moldova_rand_1.JPG

Moldova by Maris Juuse / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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After the recent events in the Crimean Peninsula, Reuters and several other outlets have reported that both Moldova and Estonia are potential targets for further Russian annexation or general civil unrest.  As with Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia have taken steps towards further strengthening ties to the European Union, which is a quick way to anger the Kremlin and thereby lead to the sort of civil war which is currently tearing across Eastern Ukraine.  What’s more, Russia has restricted trade with both nations—a prominent example being a ban placed on the sale of Moldovan wine, as reported by Reuters—and that’s further hurting the economy and global market’s attitude towards the two nations, thereby weakening the economy and making both nations that much more undesirable for immigration purposes.

Both nations enjoy scenic, sloping ridges and crisp landscapes which are characteristic of Eastern Europe.

That being said, the growing danger of a Crimea-style conflict make both Moldova and Estonia risky immigration destinations.

 

Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt

"Mescidi nebevi" by Noumenon - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mescidi_nebevi.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Mescidi_nebevi.JPG

Prophet's Mosque by Noumenon / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rich—very rich.  You don’t sit on that amount of oil without having a degree of wealth roll in.  The same holds true for Yemen, and Egypt, of course, is home to the Suez Canal, and has historically stood as one of the great leaders of the Arab world.

"After burning the Muslim brotherhood stage in front of the mosque" by Elagamytarek - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:After_burning_the_Muslim_brotherhood_stage_in_front_of_the_mosque.jpg#mediaviewer/File:After_burning_the_Muslim_brotherhood_stage_in_front_of_the_mosque.jpg

Cairo by Elagamytarek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

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That being said, all three suffer from social problems at the moment.  We’ve all seen Egypt’s political upheaval, first in the Arab Spring in 2011 and again last year, when the Muslim Brotherhood-led government was ousted.  What’s more, it’s important to remember that while Egypt has historically been a leader in the Middle East, the 2011 revolution occurred, in part, because of severe economic difficulties.

"San'a03 flickr" by ai@ce - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:San%27a03_flickr.jpg#mediaviewer/File:San%27a03_flickr.jpg

Sana'a by [email protected] / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

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As for Yemen and Saudi Arabia, these nations have controversial laws restricting the rights of women within their boundaries.  While it’s important to have a degree of respectfulness when considering other cultures and laws, these laws, prohibiting female action and agency in a variety of ways, may come across as being far too prohibitive for Western tourists or would-be immigrants.  Add to that the fact that the whole Middle East has been on edge this year—more so than usual—and you may want to reconsider immigrating to these nations.

 

Venezuela

"Caracas Venezuela Temple" by Guillermo Ramos Flamerich - Own work (Personal Work). Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caracas_Venezuela_Temple.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Caracas_Venezuela_Temple.jpg

Caracas by Guillermo Ramos Flamerich / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

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Venezuela has had a rocky couple of years.  Political persecution was commonplace when dictator Hugo Chavez was running the show, and now the state’s sitting on a huge ethanol business without much political direction.  In short, Venezuela’s a potential future powder keg.

 

Brazil

"Boa viagem". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boa_viagem.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Boa_viagem.jpg

Boa Viagem [Public Domain]

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Having just held the World Cup and being set to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil might at first glance appear to be a great place to immigrate now.  With so much happening in the nation right now, why not get in just before the peak of the party?

The answer, simply put, is that the cost of that party is prohibitively expensive, the Brazilian people are footing the bill—and quite a few of them are none too happy about it.  Reports of riots and anti-government demonstrations permeated the World Cup media circus. 

Think about that for a second, take the full significance of that in—

Brazil, the nation which is (7-1 World Cup embarrassments aside) to international futbol what Britain is to literature, Canada is to hockey, America is to free enterprise, and France is to haughty derision towards all the above (or just in general) saw massive protests because they were hosting the sport and event most dearly associated with their national identity.

Or more precisely, because the cost of doing so was steep, and was taken up instead of funding public works projects for a Brazilian middle class that finds itself in a tenuous situation, even as the national economy is largely seen as being on the verge of becoming the breakaway South American “superpower.”

If you don’t want to foot the bill of Brazil’s upcoming international parties, and don’t want to get swept up in possible concurrent protests, you may want to think twice about immigrating here.

 

Latvia

"Town Hall and House of Black Heads, Riga, Latvia" by Paul.berzinn. - Own work of user Paul.berzinn.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Town_Hall_and_House_of_Black_Heads,_Riga,_Latvia.jpeg#mediaviewer/File:Town_Hall_and_House_of_Black_Heads,_Riga,_Latvia.jpeg

Riga [Public Domain]

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This one’s down to sheer difficulty.  As reported by British immigration sites, only 800 visas or so will be issued and, as a result, the price of those visas is going to skyrocket.  Add to that the fact that Latvia’s already a beautiful but expensive country, and situated precariously-close to the difficulties currently raging across Eastern Europe, and you may want to think twice before trying to immigrate to Latvia.

 

Scotland

"Welcome to Scotland sign A1 road" by Amanda Slater from Coventry, England - September 14th "Welcome to Scotland"Uploaded by oxyman. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg

Welcome to Scotland by Amanda Slater / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

Does Canada care about Scottish independence?

This is an extremely recent development, as the fate of Scotland, England, and potentially the whole of the United Kingdom rests in the balance, to be determined on September 18.  That’s the day voters will decide whether or not they wish to declare their independence from the United Kingdom and establish a wholly-independent Scotland.  The implications here could be broad and far-reaching.  For one thing, the pound is strong at the moment, and will almost certainly be stronger than any start-up currency an independent Scotland might cook up, and the UK has already stated that it would be unwilling to allow an independent Scotland to continue to use the pound.  The UK is one of the world’s top economies; if Scotland secedes—and takes its oil rigs and naval yards with it—that rating could slip, but a start-up Scotland could suffer difficulties in the short-term as well.  Add to that potential for unrest, and an uncertain political future, and an independent Scotland, while a dream for idealists, could turn into an economic nightmare for some, in the short-term at least.

Even in the event Scotland votes no and stays part of the UK, you may want to take a wait and see attitude when it comes to immigrating to the bonny shores of Scotland. 


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