Immigration Trends in 2024: What to Expect in Visa Policies Worldwide

Immigration policies are changing in countries across the globe as a consequence of immigration patterns in the past years, or an adaptation to current changes in the modern world. These policy changes vary across different countries and specifically target each country’s immigration needs or challenges. While some countries may target visa restrictions, others may pay more attention to climate migration and refugee resettlement. Overall, these immigration trends in 2024 hope to create a better experience for both foreigners and host countries. Before travelling to a new country, it is best to check out their official website for any change in visa policies. Nonetheless, we will discuss some of the recent changes in some common countries.

Visa-Free Policies

Some countries are set to implement visa-free policies for either a select group or anyone who is interested in visiting the country. The three governments that took this step to improve travel to their countries are the Rwandan, Kenyan and Chinese governments.


Citizens of all countries in Africa will be able to travel to Rwanda without a visa. The president of the country announced the visa waiver for Africans on November 2, 2023. Countries like Gambia, Benin, Kenya and Seychelles have implemented similar policies in the past. So, if you are in Africa looking for a visa-free country to travel to, Rwanda is open to receiving you.


While Rwanda is limiting its visa-free policies to Africans, Kenya wants to keep its doors open to all travellers. It announced this in December 2023, stating that instead of traditional visas, international travellers must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You can obtain the new travel document online by filling out the necessary information as prompted.

The semi-automated online system assesses your eligibility for entry into Kenya. Travellers must obtain an eTA at least three to four days from the day they intend to enter the country. Also, each eTA costs $34 per person, including children and infants and it is valid for only one entrance. Additionally, the authorization allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days. However, these Kenyan immigration trends in 2024 aren’t compulsory for everyone. There are people who are exempted from obtaining the electronic travel authorisation. They include:

  • Anyone with Kenya Permanent Residence, valid Work Permit and Pass.
  • Anyone who has a valid Kenyan Passport or one-way Emergency Certificate from the Kenya Missions abroad.
  • Members of the Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations Accredited to Kenya.
  • Anyone with a valid United Nations Conventional Travel Document from the Government of Kenya.
  • Passengers travelling through Kenya, arriving and leaving by the same aircraft or transferring to another aircraft, but who must not leave the precincts of the Airport.
  • Passengers arriving and leaving the country by the same ship, and who must not leave the ship.
  • Citizens of the East African Partner States can get 6 months exemption. The countries include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Owners of private aircraft stopping over for refuelling in Kenya and who do not leave the precincts of the airport.
  • Members of the crew of any ship, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier; whose name and particulars are included in the crew manifest of the ship, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier; and who is proceeding in such ship, aircraft, train, vehicle or carrier to a destination outside Kenya.


China entered into a bilateral agreement with Thailand to mutually waive visas for citizens of both countries. This is supposed to take effect in March 2024. So, if you are from China, and hoping to travel to Thailand and vice versa, you won’t need to worry about applying for a visa anymore.

Aside from its agreement with Thailand, China is also running a visa-free trial for visitors from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia. The trial will run from December 2023 to November 30, 2024. Within this period, anyone with a passport from the listed countries can travel to China without a visa. However, this is not a bilateral agreement. Hence, Citizens of China and those with Chinese passports do not have the same access to these countries. Visitors can visit China visa-free for a maximum of only 15 days for business, tourism, visits and transit.

Visa Restriction Policies

Part of the immigration trends in 2024 is that some governments have set up some policies that will make immigrating to their countries a bit more difficult for other nationals. Countries like the United Kingdom and Canada saw really high immigration rate in the recent past. So, in order to protect the integrity of the system and avoid overburdening their country’s resources, they have put some policies in place to check immigration.


The Canadian government rolled out two significant policies that will impact immigration into the country. First, it placed a two-year cap on the number of student permits that international students will receive. According to the government, only 360,000 international students will receive a permit in the next two years. This is a significant 35% decrease in the number of permits issued in 2023.

However, this rule does not apply to students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education. Also, those who already have a study permit before the implementation of the rule in January 2024 have nothing to worry about. Similarly, the rule does not affect those who need to renew their existing permits.

In the same vein, the Canadian government increased the financial requirement for international students applying for study permits. International students are to show a CAD20,635 proof of fund, a significant increase from the previous CAD10,000. This fund does not include the tuition fees and other administrative and travel costs that students will cover.

The proof of fund is an amount that will remain in the student’s account and will serve as proof that they can take care of themselves throughout the duration of their study. The government said that the change intends to reflect the true cost of living in Canada in recent times, given that the required proof of funds has not changed since the early 2000s, despite the increase in the cost of living during these times. It reckoned that the CAD10,000 was not in line with the reality of the cost of living in Canada today, and this left many international students in unpleasant financial situations.

United Kingdom

The UK has equally made quite a number of visa policy changes to regulate immigration and curb illegal immigration. The significant changes and immigration trends in 2024 on the UK visa include:

  • Social care workers can no longer bring dependents (partners and children) on their visas as they used to in the past.
  • The minimum salary allowed for visa sponsorship for skilled worker immigration has increased from £26,200 to £38,700. However, this does not include health and care worker visas like social care, nor does it include education workers on national pay scales.
  • Modifications to the shortage occupation list will decrease the number of jobs for which an employee can be sponsored for a skilled worker visa at a salary below the standard minimum.
  • The minimum annual income one would typically need to sponsor someone for a spouse or partner visa will gradually increase from £18,600 to £29,000 and eventually around £38,700.
  • A review of the graduate visa that offers a two-year unsponsored work permit (although this is yet to be implemented).

Flexible Visa Rules

Not all countries are putting restrictions on their visa rules. In fact, some are trying to make visa renewal processes more flexible for foreigners. The United States for example launched a pilot program for domestic visa renewals for some qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants. Because it’s a pilot program, this is not a long-term policy. It is expected to run from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first.

This program will allow participants to renew their H-1B visa in the US as opposed to travelling abroad to do so. Although it is open to anyone willing to participate, the program is not compulsory and those who wish to undergo the usual US visa process can still travel to renew their visa. Moreover, the program is currently limited to the renewal of visas issued in India and Canada. Participants will follow the instructions in the portal to complete and submit an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (form DS-160). They will also have to pay a non-refundable, non-transferrable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) application processing fee of $205.00 via the portal.

Digital Nomad Visas Policy

Called the “Workation” visa, South Korea announced the introduction of a digital nomad visa was to take effect by January 1, 2024. This type of visa is for people who want to travel for a long time while continuing to work. It entitles holders to a maximum of one year of stay in the nation from the date of entry, renewable for an additional year. Those who have a connection with foreign companies are the only ones eligible to apply for this type of visa, and the holders cannot look for work with local companies or carry out profit-making activities while in South Korea.

Final Words

Many developed countries that have experienced a massive inflow of people in the recent past have made new policies to help control immigration and avoid system abuse. On the other hand, developing countries that are open to investors and foreign talents have made policies to reflect this. Hence, the immigration trends in 2024 are simply a reflection of the needs of each country. The governments hope to achieve what is best for its people while maintaining healthy international relationships.


Sophie is a creative content writer. She loves knitting words together, you can call it writing. She is also a certified Anatomist who is passionate about health and healthy living. She's on this project to share lifestyle tips with our readers.

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