For XML import aka system restore, there is no backward compatible, therefore you cannot restore an XML backup of JIRA to a version that is created earlier than the version you are using (other than on demand instances).
As for future versions, you can resolve and an upgrade process will take place to upgrade your currect entities to fit the future version.
Same goes to database dump as well, basically JIRA is not backward compatible.
For project import, it has to be identical :)
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