Open doors (for almost all): visa policies and ethnic selectivity in Ecuador (Working Paper #188)
Luisa Feline Freier, London School of Economics (LSE)
Abstract: There is broad consensus that immigration policies moved from prevalent negative ethnic selectivity towards widespread ethnic neutrality after World War II. This assessment is biased because it neglects visa policy-making. Travel visas are important immigration management tools, and overt selection by national origin persists in this policy field. The paper analyses the extreme case of recent Ecuadorian visa policy-making, from the annulment of all visa requirements in 2008 to the partial reintroduction of visas for ten African and Asian countries in 2010. The Ecuadorian government justifies the restrictive response to the increase in south-south flows as security policy. Qualitative research reveals that alleged security concerns are closely intertwined with ethnic prejudice of both domestic and international political actors.