Wave of Nationalism

David Cameron held a referendum asking British citizens on whether or not UK should remain in European Union (EU). While Cameron supported to remain in EU, the opposition labor party supported exit from EU. Exit won by thin margin.  Cameron resigned saying he could not lead exit after supporting remain and Theresa May succeeded Cameron. Those favored Exit wanted to exit mainly to stop immigrants flocking UK.

Donald J Trump ran for presidency starting roughly mid-2016 and won a contentious primary of Republican Party. Thereafter, in an eventful and often controversial election campaign by both parties’ candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off each other. November 8th 2016 election handed over  presidency to Trump with majority of electoral college votes although Clinton got roughly 2% more popular votes. Trump assumed office of presidency on January 20th 2017. Trump’s Agenda was “America First” and Trump made it a point to go for immigration reform in his first 100 days.

A 457 Visa (similar to US H-1B) allows Australian business to hire skilled worker for up to four years if firms justify that they couldn’t find a suitable Australian worker to fill the job.  Latest visa reforms, intended to please nationalists, scrapped the A 457 and made it difficult to hire foreign skilled workers by Australian businesses.

There were roughly 10 candidates in the first round of French presidential elections and the first round results were indecisive. Nationalist Le Pen and center left Macron fought in the second round. Macron won but not after handing over a gain in vote share for the nationalist movement led by Le Pen. Nationalist movement argued for exit from European Union and more immigration restrictions.

Angela Merkel’s ruling party has so far maintained a healthy lead over her opposition so far. Elections are scheduled on September 24, 2017 and the world is watching. Merkel stood for immigration and absorbed more Syrian asylum seekers than any other EU countries thereby attracting hostility from among nationalists within her country.

One common thread links all the five events across the globe. UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany represent industrialized nations and tagged as developed world where standard of living is significantly higher than the rest of the world and characterized by peaceful life. However, there has been stagnation or marginal deterioration in living standards over the past decade. Some sections of the population in these countries are left behind and they are blaming immigrants for the same.

Economics aside, there has been a cultural push back. Some immigrant countries are not doing enough to assimilate foreign population and some immigrants are too rigid and want home far away from home. In [particular, smaller towns are pushing back on foreigners citing threat to their way of life.

A combination of economics and cultural reasons has given birth to strong a nationalist feeling which is being reflected in elections and referendums. The voice is clear – Nation first and humanity values second.

Those seeking education and career outside India should take a note from this trend. Opportunities for foreigners in these parts of the world are going to be there for those who are (a) economically useful to the host country and; (b) those who adopt to local way of living. Here are the evidence to this direction; Master’s degree from US university have a special quota and more recently USA is looking at exempting foreign- born persons with an American Ph.D. in STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) from the limits on the number of employment-based green cards and H-1B visas awarded annually. This means you should have studied in USA & additionally you should be talented.