August 2, 2022
Digital health credentialing is one of the main tools to safely return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility and plan for the next public health crisis. Digital innovations—including automatic verification of health and vaccination results—are reopening economies and global mobility while setting the standard for new ways of managing mobility and health that will outlast the pandemic, especially in regions that had lower levels of digital use and more limited health and border management systems. Notably, India’s DIVOC system and the African Union Trusted Traveler system are examples of how the pandemic fueled large-scale innovation in this regard. In this episode, we discuss these developments with Dr. Pramod Varma, chief architect of India's digital identity program, Aadhar, and of its COVID pass system, DIVOC; Dr. Edem Adzogenu, co-chair and founder of the Afro Champions Initiative, which supports regional integration and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; and Lawrence Huang, a Migration Policy institute (MPI) associate policy analyst working on its Task Force on Borders and Mobility During and After COVID-19.
December 9, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the corporate sector, disrupting operations, ushering in changed thinking about the office environment, and chilling business travel. How has the business world responded? And in what way are COVID-19 protocols, new innovations, and trends in working practices affecting the decisions that companies make about the mobility of their workforce? In this episode, we speak with two former government officials who are now in the private sector—Ian Robinson of the immigration law firm Fragomen and Brendan Ryan, CEO of Nomadic, which provides digital solutions for corporate travel—about the trends and policy environment shaping business mobility decisions, whether the rise of the Omicron variant might scupper plans to restart travel, and whether the rise of digital nomad visas represent a fad or permanent shift.
October 11, 2021
No one expected the travel restrictions imposed early in the COVID-19 pandemic to last so long or remain such a messy patchwork, in part because of the arrival of more contagious variants such as the delta variant – with significant effects on family reunification and humanitarian protection, travel for business and pleasure, and international migration. More than 18 months on, debates continue over the effectiveness of these measures in meeting public-health goals. Experts are working, though, to learn from the COVID-19 response to improve decision-making for handling future cross-border pandemics. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Kelley Lee, head of the Pandemics and Borders initiative at Simon Fraser University in Canada, about what the future holds, and whether decisionmakers truly learn to adapt or instead pull out the playbook from the last crisis.
December 17, 2020
Pre-COVID-19, we lived in a hyper-global world. There were 1.5 billion international tourism trips annually, nearly 40 million flights, and 272 million international migrants. This raises a provocative question: Does international mobility contribute to the spread of pandemics? In this episode, we speak with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn of the Center for Global Development. Drawing on their research of global pandemics dating as far back as 1889, they make the case that limits on cross-border mobility delay the arrival of pathogens by a matter of days at best. Instead, they argue that the greater success is achieved with domestic measures, not permanent limits on international mobility.
December 9, 2020
With news that viable COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon, what might 2021 hold in store for the global movement of people, whether for tourism, business travel, or more enduring forms of migration? Alan Gamlen, associate professor of human geography at Monash University in Australia, tackles some of the big questions in this episode, including whether cities will be reshaped by immobility and if countries will need less labor migration. He paints a picture of a world with lower levels of mobility for the next few years, punctuated by periodic spikes.
October 28, 2020
The pandemic has been a huge shock to the international mobility system, from the chaotic way that countries closed their borders in March 2020, leaving countless travelers and migrants stranded, to the freezes imposed on visa processing, which halted much international migration. As the world reopens, how does global governance need to be improved to restart human mobility safely and securely? In this episode, we speak to Elizabeth Collett, Special Advisor to the International Organization for Migration’s Director General to get a global overview of what is happening with migration and mobility and discuss the challenges and opportunities the pandemic poses for global governance.
October 21, 2020
As COVID-19 chilled global mobility, harmed economies, and sparked border closures and travel bans around the world, the pandemic has had an effect on the shadow migration world. In this episode, we speak with Matt Herbert, an expert in irregular migration and human smuggling, about how the public-health crisis has scrambled the decision-making calculus for would-be migrants, pushing many into more dangerous routes. We also examine the business models of smugglers who facilitate many irregular movements.
October 6, 2020
Austria’s Vienna airport was an early adopter for in-airport COVID-19 tests, with results turned around within a few hours, sparing those with medical certificates from a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Can this serve as a model for restarting business travel and tourism? We talk to Vienna airport official Peter Kleemann to learn more.
September 29, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Australia has worked to develop a “biosecure” border, using hard travel lockdowns, internal borders, and quarantine to stem spread of the virus. Is it working? We talk to Brendan Dowling of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.