by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist

The debate about migration, and especially about immigration to attractive countries, like Australia, is never far away. There was a time, after World War II, that the Australian government paid people to come here. For a fee of just Ten Pounds British people and others could get passage to Australia. The “Ten Pound Poms” came by the thousand and we are better off for it.

Now it is different and the debate is how to limit the inflow and what sort of immigration flow is appropriate. There are the Big Australia advocates, like former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. And there are the Small Australia advocates like Greens Senator Bob Brown. No-one can know how many this country can support, or how many is the “right” number. It is unknowable, subjective, and no “study” can determine the answer.

But what if a Price, a Value were to be placed on Australian Citizenship? What if Immigration Slots were put up for Tender, were Auctioned or sold on E-Bay?

Could the market determine the value of Australian Citizenship? Instead of rationing immigration places by category, by trade, by culture or race or bureaucratic and government decree could it be done by pricing?

It is the generations of tax-paying Australians who have contributed to the culture , the way of life, the infrastructure the society that is attractive to would-be immigrants. There is a queue of people wanting to come to Australia, and where there is a queue there is a business opportunity!

Immigrants who paid to come would surely value and appreciate the opportunity and make sure they became good citizens. And Australians who had paid taxes for years to build the country would welcome the opportunity to have their future taxes reduced by the amount the immigrants paid into general revenue. Immigration Fees could reduce other taxes, particularly income taxes, which are very high. It would not be an extra source of revenue for the government but a replacement for some taxes.

Immigrants also could sign a contract not to seek welfare from the government/tax-payers. This could start to reduce the welfare dependence and “churn”. The Immigration Fee could be non-refundable and could be forfeited if immigrants were convicted of serious crimes. Deportation (without a refund) could even apply to miscreants.

Most immigrants are good citizens and add to our well-being, our culture, our standard of living; we are a nation on immigrants and long may it continue; whatever rationing that is considered optimal should be done by that most rational and universal of mechanisms — the market.

But how do poor and impoverished immigrants, refugees for example, ever afford to buy their citizenship? I proposed a “no exceptions” rule to this Citizenship For Sale idea: families, religious groups, charities and cultural groups could subsidise their chosen immigrants. Banks could offer “Citizenship Loans” to immigrants, guaranteed perhaps by families and communities and businesses. Remote communities seeking more people could offer such guarantees to banks for the “Citizenship Loans” with whatever covenants and restrictions they chose to adopt. Companies needing staff could guarantee the loans.

People-smugglers would soon go out of business as would-be immigrants sought to buy their citizenship with savings, family loans, personal guarantees and employment contracts.

“But what about compassion for poor refugees?” many will scream. Well this would be a chance to show true voluntary compassion, with individuals, families, church groups, community and ethnic groups banding together, raising money to bring refugees , or anyone, to our country. Instead of “Coercive Charity”, where money is forcibly taken (compulsory taxes) and then dispensed according to some government decree, this would be true, voluntary, caring and material compassion with the contributors determining where their charity goes.

And then what about selling your citizenship? Could an Australian cash in his or her Aussie citizenship and buy another one? It could be that an Aussie Citizenship is worth say $50,000 while a Tongan or Zimbabwean one is worth a lot less? Now this would open an intriguing new market! If New Zealand Citizenship was worth $60,000 and Aussie was just $50,000 it would say something about the attraction of each country. The value of your Aussie Citizenship could become a point of pride, where we could even see it in the daily financial news along with the price of oil, the US Dollar and gold.

Most countries offer some sort of Citizenship For Sale schemes now, with Business Migration Plans that encourage people to come with their money, to invest and start businesses and employ people. I am saying, take it further and make the whole thing market-driven.

Is such an idea likely to be adopted, likely to appeal, have any chance of adoption? No not likely, most unlikely, almost impossible to imagine. It is too rational and sensible, and there would be too many bleeding-hearts, semi-socialists. A whole raft of immigration bureaucrats could be done away with and the withering away of the state could start. And this is highly unlikely!

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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