HLG – Weekly Newsletter – 14.01.2019

AFRICA

 

Angola

 

  1. New juridical regime for foreigners to boost investment”, EIN NewsDesk, January 10, 2019
  • On January 8, 2019, the specialized commissions of the National Assembly approved a new juridical regime for regulating the entrance, exit and residence permit for foreigners in Angola
  • Under the new regime, foreigners looking to visit Angola may apply for entrance visas by accessing the Migration and Foreigners Service platform.
  • The new regime is expected to expedite the processing of foreigners’ visa applications, thereby boosting tourism and investment in Angola.

 

Rwanda

 

  1. Ike Dzokpo, “Rwanda Development Board registers over US$ 2 billion worth of investments in 2018”, News Ghana, January 9, 2019

 

  • The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) registered 173 investment projects in Rwanda in 2018, and the projects worth USD $2.006 billion collectively.
  • RDB Chief Investment Officer Guy Baron commented that the fact that registered investments in Rwanda jumped from US$ 398 million to over USD $2 billion over the last eight years suggests that Rwanda is increasingly being recognized by investors as a great place to do business.

 

AMERICA

 

Canada

 

  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “New and improved intake process for sponsorship of parents and grandparents to launch on January 28, 2019”, Government of Canada, January 11, 2019
  • Today, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, announced the Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program interest to sponsor form will be available to potential sponsors starting at noon EST on January 28, 2019.
  • The launch of the 2019 PGP Program will include a new and improved intake process. The Government of Canada has listened to and addressed concerns from clients and stakeholders about the previous intake process, and has taken steps to provide a first-in-first-served approach for 2019.
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept interest to sponsor submissions for a limited time and then invite potential sponsors to submit a complete application, in the order their submissions were received, until the 2019 cap of 20,000 complete applications is reached.

 

  1. Mallory Hughes, “Canada wants to welcome more than 1 million new immigrants in the next thee years”, CNN, January 12, 2018
  • The Canadian Parliament has announced plans to add more than one million new permanent residents in the next three years. That’s nearly one percent of the country’s population each year. Canada welcomed more than 286,000 permanent residents in 2017 and projects that number could reach 350,000 this year.
  • “Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC).

 

United States

 

  1. New USCIS Tool Calculates Fees, Helps Avoid Incorrect Payments”, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, January 8, 2019
  • On January 9, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they have launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist the public in calculating the correct fee amount to include when filing forms processed at the USCIS Lockbox facilities.
  • The Online Fee Calculation was meant to reduce the number of immigration applications rejected due to incorrect fee amounts.

 

ASIA

 

China

 

  1. Justine Lopez, “It’s Now Easier for Foreigners to Get (Some) Chinese Visas in Shanghai”, That’s Shanghai, January 9, 2019
  • Shanghai’s local police recently announced that they would soon introduce a more simplified visa application process for foreigners visiting Shanghai.
  • Under the new regime, foreigners who are attempting to get a M, Q2, or S2 visas for the second time will no longer need to provide documentation proving that they are related to the person inviting them.
  • The new rules are expected to come into effect at some point in 2019.

 

Japan

 

  1. Cathy Adams, “Japanese Passport Ranked as the Most Powerful Passport In the World”, The Independent, January 9, 2019
  • According to the 2019 Passport index, Japan has the most powerful passport in the world.
  • Japanese passport holders are able to enter 190 countries without a visa.

 

 

Kuwait

 

  1. New Visit Visa Rules”, Kuwait Times, January 9, 2019
  • The Interior Ministry’s residency affairs recently announced new regulations for visit visas.
  • Under the new regulations, expatriates in Kuwait can apply for visit visas for their parents only if their monthly salaries are not less than KD 500.
  • The concerned authorities may determine the duration of their stay based on purpose of the visit, and the sponsors’ profession and circumstances.

 

Oman

 

  1. Oman visas to be available on mobile app”, Arab News, January 7, 2019
  • The Royal Oman Police (ROP) recently announced that foreigners looking to visit Oman would soon be able to obtain their visas via a mobile application.
  • The mobile application reflects the ROP’s latest efforts to improve its online immigration services.

 

Thailand

 

  1. Thai cabinet extends visa-fee-waiver until after Songkran”, The Thaiger, January 9, 2019
  • To boost tourism, the Thai cabinet continue to grant visa-on-arrival fee waivers to tourists from over 21 countries.
  • Though the waiver originally was set to end on January 6, 2019, the Tourism and Sport Minister Veerasak Kowsurat confirmed on January 9, 2019 that the Thai government would continue to grant visa-on-arrival fee waivers to tourists from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China,  Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Taiwan.

 

  1. Teeranai Charuvastra, “Chinese Travellers Could Soon Get Visas via WeChat”, Khaosod English, January 9, 2019
  • On January 9, 2019, the Immigration Bureau commented that it is considering allowing Chinese travellers apply for Thai tourist visas using a popular mobile chat application, WeChat.
  • Chief of bureau police Lt. Gen. Surachate Hakparn believed that the proposed plan may help Chinese travellers avoid the need to fill in the TM6 arrival cards in English or Thai

 

Saudi Arabia

 

  1. Nada Al Rifai & Michael Fahy, “Saudi Arabia extends validity period for expat work visas- ministry”, Zawya, January 9, 2019
  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Development of Saudi Arabia recently announced that the validity of expatriates’ work visas would be extended from one year to two years without additional fees.
  • Private sector firms in Saudi Arabia may cancel the current one-year visas and apply for the new two-years work visas if the conditions for obtaining work visas are satisfied.

 

  1. Saudi Arabia plans on issuing tourist visa this year”, Khmer Times, January 11, 2019
  • The Saudi Arabia government plans to issue visas to foreign tourists this year to boost tourism
  • The new visa regime is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 project, which aims to modernize Saudi Arabia’s visa system and create world-class attraction sites for tourists.

 

Uzbekistan

 

  1. Catherin Putz, “Citizens of 45 More Countries to Get Visa-Free Access to Uzbekistan”, The Diplomat, January 9, 2019
  • Effective February 1, 2019, tourists from 45 additional countries may travel to Uzbekistan for 30 days without a visa.
  • The new scheme is expected to help grow Uzbekistan’s tourism industry.

 

EUROPE

 

Bulgaria

 

  1. Bulgaria to speed decisions on applications for visas by non-EU seasonal workers”, The Sofia Globe, January 9, 2019
  • The Bulgaria government recently announced that non-EU foreigners coming to Bulgaria as a seasonal worker may now have their visa applications processed with 15 calendar days, instead of the previous 35 working days.
  • The changes may help meet the needs of Bulgarian employers, especially those in the hospitality and tourism industry.

 

Montenegro

 

  1. Aljosa Drobnjak, “Montenegrin Economic Citizenship: Development Programme Launched”, Total Montenegro News, January 13, 2019
  • The development programme that provides the possibility for persons to acquire Montenegrin citizenship by investment in the following three years is launched, based on a maximum of 2,000 applications
  • The decision on criteria, method, and procedure for selection of persons who may acquire Montenegrin citizenship by admission for the implementation of a special investment programme of particular importance for the business and economic interest of Montenegro began to be applicable on January 1, 2019.
  • A grant shall refer to the amount intended for the development of under-developed local self-government units. The amount of the grant shall be 100,000 EUR per application of an applicant […]. On the other hand, the investment shall refer to the amount intended for investment in one of the development projects from the Development Projects List that shall be defined by the Government […].

 

Portugal

 

  1. Portuguese parliament approves extension of golden visa scheme”, Xinhua, January 12, 2019
  • Portuguese parliament approved on Friday the extension of gold visa scheme with “Green Visas”, for which investors are required to make investments on green projects.
  • Investors for Green Visas will be required to invest in non-intensive organic farming and projects that reinforce and actively contribute to the implementation of Portugal’s Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality.
  • They also need to make investments focusing on self-consumption with energy from renewable sources and projects that show high standards of energy efficiency. The investors should pay the amount that equals to or greater than 250,000 euros in a period of five years to get the Green Visas granted.
  • On the same day, the parliament rejected by voting the end of the Gold Visa scheme proposed by [the Left Bloc[, which defined it a tool of real estate speculation through which Portugal “sells rights of citizenship”.

 

Russia

 

  1. Russia Could Introduce E-Visas by 2021, Media Reports”, The Moscow Times, January 11, 2019
  • Russia plans to launch a new electronic visa project to boost tourism
  • The e-visa regime is expected to roll out nationwide in Russia by December 2021

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Ruqayyah Moynihan, “The UK just hiked visa prices for non-EU migrants as part of a clampdown on immigration ahead of Brexit”, Business Insider, January 9, 2019
  • Effective January 8, 2019, all non-EU migrants who make an application for a UK visas with a validity of over six months must pay increased visa fees.
  • The increased fees were imposed as a result of a decision by the British government to double the Immigration Health Surcharge, which grants students and temporary workers the rights to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way UK citizens do during their stay.

 

  1. James Booth, “New visa for architects as trade body calls for ‘drastic reform’ of UK immigration system post-Brexit”, City A.M., January 10, 2019
  • Starting January 10, 2019, architects looking to live and work in the United Kingdom may now apply for the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) visas
  • This is the first bespoke immigration category for architects in United Kingdom.

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