HLG – Weekly Newsletter – 28.01.2019
- “Algeria and Russia to build robust Economic Ties”, News Ghana, January 26, 2019
- Algeria and Russia on Thursday vowed to boost bilateral cooperation, particularly in the economic sector, during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the North African nation.
- The two nations signed an intergovernmental agreement on the cancellation of visas for holders of diplomatic and service passports.
- The two nations are also set to discuss ways of easing the visa regime.
- Nicholas Keung, “Immigration minister unveils program to attract newcomers to rural areas”, The Toronto Star, January 24, 2019
- Ottawa has launched a pilot program to fill labour shortages and fuel economic growth in small rural communities by matching them with prospective immigrants interested in settling outside of Canada’s urban hubs.
- The five-year Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot requires remote communities to submit a thorough plan identifying available middle-class job opportunities and developing social support infrastructure to help the newcomers settle.
- The initiative builds on the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program that was launched in 2017 to help drive economic growth in Atlantic Canada by attracting newcomers to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Since its inception, 1,562 newcomers, including 734 principal applicants, were approved for permanent residence in the four provinces.
- “USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions”, US Citizenship & Immigration Services, January 25, 2019
- USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”).
- H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations.
- When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time.
- “USCIS Announces Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs”, US Citizenship & Immigration Services, January 24, 2019
- USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), have announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2019.
- The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs.
- The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2019.
- “Visa-free travel between Ukraine and Uruguay takes effect from Feb 15”, Unian, January 24, 2019
- An intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Uruguay on the mutual abolition of visa requirements is taking effect from February 15, 2019, paving the way for visa-free travel between the two countries.
- “The duration of stay for citizens of Ukraine without a visa on the territory of Uruguay will be 90 days, which can be extended for another period of 90 days,” Ukraine’s Embassy in Argentina said on Twitter.
- “China to provide more efficient immigration services”, China.org.cn, January 24, 2019
- China aims to provide more efficient and convenient immigration services, especially after a record number of foreigners entered and exited the country in 2018, immigration authorities said.
- Foreigners entered and exited the country more than 95 million times in 2018, up 11.6 percent year-on-year, according to the National Immigration Administration. China has become a popular destination, particularly for visitors from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia, the administration said.
- To provide more convenient immigration services for foreigners, Beijing opened two new centers on Wednesday, offering visa, residence permit and permanent residency services.
- The center in Shijingshan district will better accommodate the needs of foreign talent recruited for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing as its organizing committee is based in the district, while the center in Tongzhou district will aid with the development of the area where much of the municipal government has been relocated, according to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau’s Exit-Entry Administration Department.
- Xing Yi, “Shanghai streamlines visa process”, China Daily, January 24, 2019
- Expatriates in Shanghai are finding it easier to renew their visas and apply for permanent residence permits after a set of new policies came into effect earlier this month, the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau said on Wednesday.
- The new policies require fewer documents from foreigners.
- Specifically, the measures bring convenience for applicants seeking the following visas: short-term family visits (Q2 visa), short-term private matters (S2 visa), short-term studies (X2 visa), business trips (M or F visa) and talent visas (R visa).
- “Armenia MFA discussing introducing visa-free regime with China”, News.am, January 24, 2019
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Armenia is discussing the matter of establishing a visa-free mutual travel regime with China, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said at Thursday’s Cabinet session of the government.
- “The Chinese side has submitted to us a draft international agreement, the matter of whose signing is being considered comprehensively, and the migration flows, risk handling, and the context of other international treaties are being taken into account,” he said. “We are also studying the [respective] practice of other states.”
- Mnatsakanyan noted that once all the processes are completed, a corresponding proposal shall be submitted to the Prime Minister and the Government of Armenia.
- “Hong Kong Immigration to increase fees”, Asia Times, January 21, 2019
- The Hong Kong government’s Immigration Department will revise its fees for services including the issuing of visas and new travel documents starting from March 25 this year.
- The Immigration Department said the fees for issuing visas/entry permits and travel documents, genetic tests and the delivery of travel documents to places outside Hong Kong will rise by between 9% and 21%.
- The relevant amendments to regulations will be tabled at the Legislative Council on January 23 and the fee revision will take effect after completion of the necessary legislative procedures.
- Rizwan Mohammad, “Indian E-Visa Scheme Liberalized: New Visa To Be Valid For One Year”, The Indian Weekender, January 23, 2019
- Tourists, and businesspeople can now travel to India and stay up to one-year on E-visa, the Indian High Commission in New Zealand announced today.
- This is a marked departure from the current requirement where a traveller can get a visa for a maximum of 60 days, with visa expiring soon after that time-period.
- Now E-Tourist visa holders can stay in India to a maximum of 90 days in each visit, and E-Business visa holders’ stay not exceeding 180 days without the requirement of registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO). The E-visa scheme will allow for up to one-year stay in India for travellers with multiple entries.
- “Lebanon plans visa free with Algeria”, The Middle East Monitor, January 21, 2019
- Mohamed Choucair, head of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, discussed Monday the possibility of a visa-free policy between Lebanon and Algeria to boost tourism.
- Caretaker Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian said that Lebanon succeeded in attracting tourists in the past couple of years, thanks to the cooperation with private tourism companies.
- “Oman relaxes residency rules in effort to woo investors”, Times of Oman, January 21, 2019
- As the country looks to woo more foreign investors to spur economic growth, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) confirmed that the adult children of overseas investors who live in Oman can stay with them. This move comes following requests from foreign investors.
- A senior police official explained to the Times of Oman why the rules regarding the residency of new investors have changed. “Expat children can stay in Oman along with their families if they are investors. Earlier, children who were below 21 years of age could not stay in the country. In an aim to bring more investment into the country and encourage and set up attractive opportunities for investors, ROP has decided to relax the rules for foreign investors.”
- “Pakistan to ease restrictions on visas to promote tourism”, The Washington Post, January 25, 2019
- Pakistan has announced plans to ease visa restrictions for tourists from 90 countries, including the U.S. and Europe, in a bid to revive its tourism sector.
- Citizens of 175 countries will be able to obtain visas electronically, over the internet.
- Visitors from 50 countries, including America, will be able to get their visas on arrival rather than through Pakistani embassies abroad.
- “International VIP Law Firm Harvey Law Group (HLG) Helps Filipinos Obtain Global Citizenship”, Business Wire, January 24, 2019
- Harvey Law Group (HLG), an international investment law firm, offers to help Filipinos widen their travel options around the world by acquiring a second citizenship and passport that comes with global mobility and greater ease of travel through citizenship-by-investment programs (CIPs).
- “Who’s eligible for citizenship-by-investment? If you spend time traveling overseas for business or leisure, pursuing a residency or citizenship program can set you up with property in strategic locations, which you can develop into a home away from home. If you’re a parent, some of these programs allow security and education opportunities overseas for your children. If you’re an entrepreneur, here are more opportunities to widen your network and expand benefits from the program. […]”, commented Mr. Jean-Francois Harvey, Global Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group.
- Habib Toumi, “Saudi e-Visa to be available soon: Officials”, Gulf News, January 20, 2019
- Although plans to issue online visas for Saudi Arabia have been discussed for years, they’ve been blocked or delayed by political debate and processes. Now, officials are now expressing optimism that they would be available soon.
- According to officials, the Saudi Arabia eVisa application will only take a few minutes to complete online and there will be no need to go to an embassy or consulate.
- Laura Pitel, “Turkey passport demand soars as rules relaxed”, Financial Times, January 27, 2019
- More than 200 people applied for Turkish passports in the first five weeks after the introduction of the country’s new rules, according to the government. It has not published more recent figures, but agents who act as intermediaries say take-up has been strong.
- The Turkish security service runs checks on those buying citizenship, and applicants must be “respectable people”, the deputy finance minster Nureddin Nebati has said.
- Agents say that the scheme has proved most popular with wealthy individuals from Arab countries, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Abdullah al-Hammad, of the agency Imtilak Real Estate, said that his Middle Eastern clients preferred Turkey over Europe due to the cultural similarities to home.
United Arab Emirates
- Shayan Shakeel, “UAE to accept long term visa applications from February 3”, Arabian Business, January 21, 2019
- The UAE will officially begin accepting applications toward 10-year residency visas for expats, investors and businesspeople from February 3.
- Approved by the UAE cabinet through a resolution in November 2018, the long term visa system is an effort to attract and retain high skilled talent to the country’s shores.
- “Cleartrip launches online UAE visa application service”, Trade Arabia, January 22, 2019
- Cleartrip, a leading mobile and online travel company in the Middle East, has launched a new online UAE visa application service on its website.
- As part of the launch, travellers can apply for tourist visas to the UAE together with a ‘money back guarantee’ in the event of the rejection of an application, a first-of-its-kind offer in the country.
- To encourage travellers to take advantage of the new service, Cleartrip will offer discounts on air tickets with every visa application. Travellers who apply for 30-day or 90-day visas will receive a discount on their airfare of up to 100 per cent of their visa costs.
- Mary Morris, “Citizens of 45 More Countries to Get Visa-Free Access to Uzbekistan”, Lives Advice, January 23, 2019
- The grand opening continues in Uzbekistan with the granting of visa-free access, for up to 30 days, as of February 1 for travelers from 45 countries.
- The visa-free expansion was announced on January 5 by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and follows other moves to open the country to tourists and investors alike.
- The next expected step is the introduction of a so-called Silk Road visa by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The program, announced to by Acting First Deputy Chairman of the Uzbek State Committee for Tourism Ulugbek Qosimhojaev on December 20, 2018 and mentioned by the Erzhan Kazykhanov in Washington, DC the same day, would enable travelers with a visa from either country to travel to both.
- “VN signs visa waiver agreement with Lithuania”, Viet Nam News, January 24, 2019
- Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh and Minister of the Interior of Lithuania Eimutis Misiunas on Wednesday signed a visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders between the two countries.
- This is the 85th diplomatic passport visa exemption agreement that Vietnam has signed with countries aiming to create favourable conditions for the bilateral exchange of delegations.
- “Armenia, Hong Kong to introduce visa-free regime”, Public Radio of Armenia, January 24, 2019
- The Armenian Government will lift visa requirement for residents of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.
- According to initial agreement, the visa-free regime will come into force on March 3, 2019, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan told a cabinet meeting today.
- He said Armenia will allow Hong Kong citizens to stay in the country for 180 days.
- “Bulgaria Justice Ministry proposes scrapping granting citizenship in return for investment”, The Sofia Globe, January 22, 2019
- Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry is proposing amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act which would scrap the possibility of obtaining citizenship through investing in the country, among other steps to refine the requirements for applicants for citizenship. Under current law, citizenship of Bulgaria may be obtained by an individual who invests a minimum 500 000 euro in a year, doubling this in the second year.
- Officials recently said that there have been very few application for Bulgarian citizenship on this basis. An analysis of the records has shown that the objective of increasing real foreign investments and economic development has not been achieved. As a result, job creation and economic development have not followed from the citizenship-for-investment provision in the law.
- Gordon Watson, “EC to create watchdog to monitor ‘Golden Visa’ and passport sales schemes”, Newsbook, January 23, 2019
- The European Commission says it will set up a ‘group of experts from Member States’ to monitor Golden Visas and Passports Schemes.
- They state that the special group will be tasked with improving, ‘transparency, governance and security’ surrounding the citizenship and residence investor schemes.
- At the same time, the EC will work towards monitoring ‘wider issues of compliance of EU law’ which arise from member states using the schemes.
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