MEDIA

HLG Weekly Newsletter

Apr 10,2017
AFRICA
Egypt

1. Al-Masry Al-Youm, “Sudan Imposes Visa Procedures on Egyptian Travelers”, Egypt Independent, April 8, 2017

  • The Sudanese government has started implementing a decision issued several days ago to impose a visa on Egyptians coming to Sudan from the age of 18 to 49 years, and informed all airlines working in Egypt International Airport of this decision.
  • The decision, however, allows visa-free entry to Egyptian passport holders aged 50 and above, in addition to allowing women and children to enter without a visa. The new rules include as well collecting a fee of 530 Sudanese pounds from departing Egyptians.
  • Sudanese sources at Cairo Airport said that the Sudanese decision was based on the principle of reciprocity, because the Egyptian government imposes the same procedures on Sudnese travelers.
AMERICA
Antigua

2. Makeida Antonio, “Antigua Abandons Plan to Include Fingerprints on New E-Passport for CIP Applicants”, St. Lucia News, April 7, 2017

  • The government has abandoned its plan to add the fingerprints of new applicants to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in the e-passports that are about to be introduced.
  • [Minister of Information and Telecommunications Melford Nicholas] added the reason for the plan being discontinued was because the company assisting with the rollout of the e-passport, the Canadian Bank Note (CBN), felt that doing so could present security issues. He revealed, however, that a database of fingerprints for CIP passport holders will be created.
Barbados

3. Azad Ali, “Barbados, China Sign Visa Waiver Agreement”, Caribbean Life News, April 8, 2017

  • Barbados and China have signed a visa waiver agreement, which would see citizens of Barbados and China now entering each other’s territory with an ordinary passport. The agreement was signed last week between China’s Ambassador Wang Ke and Barbados Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Maxine McClean.
Canada

4. “50 Atlantic Employers Now Designated for Skilled Immigrant Pilot Program”, The Guardian PEI, April 3, 2017

  • More than 50 employers in Atlantic Canada have now been formally designated for a federal government pilot program to attract and retain more skilled immigrants in the region.
  • Eligible skilled immigrants and international graduate students with a job offer from a designated employer in one of the provinces, and an endorsement from that province, can now apply for permanent residence.
  • Up to 2,000 applications will be processed in 2017 for principal applicants and accompanying family members.
  • Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada is now accepting permanent residence applications for three programs under the pilot: the Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program, the Atlantic High-Skilled Program and the Atlantic International Graduate Program, which is aimed at international students.

5. “Budget 2017 Helps Newcomers Get Their Credentials Recognized and Find Jobs More Quickly”, Government of Canada, April 6, 2017

  • The Government will introduce a new Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers. The Strategy will help internationally trained newcomers to our country find jobs that match their skills and experience.
  • Newcomers will benefit from three new measures: improved pre-arrival supports to help them start the foreign credential recognition process before arriving in Canada; a loan program that will help them with the costs of having their foreign credentials recognized, such as licensing exams, training, travel and skills upgrading; and a new pilot project to test innovative approaches to help newcomers get Canadian work experience.

6. Portia Crowe, “Trump’s Immigration Policies Are Opening a Door to the Silicon Valley of the North”, Business Insider, April 7, 2017

  • After a decision to delay the H-1B visas used by American businesses to hire skilled workers, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in March an expedited work-permit process for the same kind of foreign talent.
  • One draw for US investors right now is the cheap exchange rate, which takes investment dollars further and makes investments more attractive. Another is the softer competition for deals in the Canadian market, meaning that startup valuations are more reasonable than in places like Silicon Valley.
  • Canadian venture-capital investments hit a 15-year high in 2016 with $3.7 billion invested, according to Thomson Reuters data. Four hundred and fifty-nine Canadian companies closed 571 rounds of financing, a 36% increase over the previous year and something not seen since 2000.
United States

7. Joseph J. Kolb, “Trump Will Allow Immigrants to Obtain Citizenship Through Military Service”, Fox News, April 3, 2017

  • “Today's service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 executive order and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline citizenship processing for service members,” Lt. Col. Myles Caggins said last week in an email to Fox News. Caggins said there are no plans to discontinue or modify the initiative.
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service established the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative in August 2009 with the Army to give noncitizen enlistees the opportunity to naturalize when they graduate from basic training. By 2013, the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps had followed suit.

8. Catherine Trautwein, “H-1B Visa Applications Just Hit Their Limit for the Year in Less Than a Week”, TIME, April 7, 2017

  • In a statement on its website, the USCIS said it arrived at the congressionally mandated figure of 65,000 H-1B visa applications for fiscal year 2018, less than a week after the agency announced applications opened on April 3. It also said it had reached the "master's cap," or the 20,000 limit on requests for visas for those with advanced degrees from American institutions.
  • USCIS spokesperson Sharon Scheidhauer said that the agency would announce how many petitions it received in a week or two.
ASIA
India

9. Disha Roy Choudhury, “Now You Just Need One Visa to Travel Across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia”, India Today, April 3, 2017

  • In a bid to promote in-bound tourism from India, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, has announced the launch of multiple-entry e-visa for Indian tourists. The multiple-entry visa will be valid for 15 days and can be used by Indian travellers to fly to Malaysia, visit South Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia on their way back.
  • As of now, Malaysia will serve as the gateway to ASEAN for Indians, a good response to which might lead to the extension of the visa to other nationalities as mentioned by the Tourism and Culture minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
Iran

10. “Tehran, Moscow Agree on Visa-Free Travel for Tourist Groups”, Tehran Times, April 3, 2017

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed the agreement in Moscow on March 28. They also ordered relevant authorities to work to ease the visa regime for all Iranian and Russian nationals willing to visit the two countries.
  • “Based on the agreement tour groups of 5 to 50 people heading to Russia from Iran or vice versa will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days,” Sputnik reported.

11. “Iranian Tourist Visits to Russia Up By 72% in 2016”, Tehran Times, April 8, 2017

  • Roughly 67,000 Iranians visited Russia in 2016, a solid growth of 72 percent compared to a year earlier, Russia Beyond the Headlines reported on April 5. The number of foreign tourists in Russia increased in 2016 by 7 percent, with the largest growth in arrivals by Iranians, said Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky earlier in March.
  • On March 28, Iran and Russia inked a visa-free agreement for tourist groups, as the two countries are taking steps towards broadening bilateral tourism ties. Based on the agreement tour groups of 5 to 50 people heading to Russia from Iran or vice versa will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days.
Malaysia

12. Paul Gabriel, “Najib: No Visa Hike for Malaysians Visiting India”, The Star Online, April 3, 2017

  • Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says there is no visa fee increase for Malaysians to visit India. "The existing six-month visa fee for Malaysians is retained. There is no truth that the visa fee has been increased," he said at a reception for Malaysian and Indian businessmen held here Monday night.
  • Indian visitors to Malaysia get visa-free arrival if they are staying in the country for 15 days.
Pakistan

13. “Interior Ministry Suspends ‘Visa-on-Arrival’ Facility”, The Nation, April 4, 2017

 

  • Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a meeting decided to suspend the facility of “visa on arrival” under the guise of landing permits, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said. A senior officer of the ministry explained that suspension of the “visa on arrival” facility would not affect Pakistan’s bilateral visa-waiver agreements on diplomatic and official passports with different countries.
  • The interior ministry is in the process of establishing a central database of visas issued to foreigners by making the visa system online after claims of former Pakistani ambassador to the US that he had issued visas to the US officials to haunt and kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Taiwan

14. Ku Chuan & Lilian Wu, “Antigua Grants E-Visa Treatment to Taiwanese Citizens”, Focus Taiwan, April 5, 2017

 

  • Taiwan said Wednesday that it welcomed a decision by the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda to include Republic of China (Taiwan) passport holders in its e-visa program.
  • Taiwanese citizens holding a passport valid for more than six month can now apply on the website of Antigua's immigration bureau for 30-day visitors' visas, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The application fee for a single-entry tourist visa is US$100, the ministry said.

15. Ku Chuan & Lilian Wu, “Taiwan to Offer Incentives to Attract Foreign Professionals”, Focus Taiwan, April 6, 2017

 

  • The government is mulling the provision of visa, residence, health insurance and tax incentives in an attempt to attract and retain foreign professionals, an Executive Yuan spokesman said.
  • Under the draft bill, restrictions on work permits and the period of time foreign professionals can stay in Taiwan will be relaxed, [Hsu Kuo-yung] said. They will also receive a "four-in-one card" -- work permit, residence visa, alien residency permit and re-entry permit.
  • In addition, under the provisions of the bill foreign professionals, their spouses and non-adult children will be granted immediate access to the national health insurance program without having to wait for six months as at present.
  • The draft bill will also provide tax incentives for foreign professionals who have an annual salary of more than NT$2 million (US$65,486) for a maximum of three years.
Thailand

16. Ben Moshinsky, “You Can Buy Elite Residency in Thailand for $60,000 – and the Government Will Even Provide, Business Insider, April 6, 2017”, Business Insider, April 6, 2017

 

  • The Thai government has started offering "elite" residency visas for wealthy foreign citizens, allowing them to live in the country for around $3,000 (£2,403) a year, aimed at capitalising on increased global uncertainty over borders and immigration.
  • It costs $60,000 for 20 years residency, along with a $600 a year membership fee. Included in the price is a state-sponsored concierge programme, entitling members to VIP access to government agencies dealing with immigration, driving licences, and work permits.
  • Pruet Boobphakam, president of the Thailand Elite program, told Business Insider that VIP residents would get extra help from the government: "We rise to the occasion for our members. We can apply for a work permit if they'd like to. We can apply for a driving licence if they'd like to. We are helping them to get those licences."
EUROPE
Belarus

17. “Belarusian MPs Confirm Visa-Free Deal With Argentina”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, April 3, 2017

 

  • The lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament ratified an intergovernmental agreement with Argentina on visa-free travel on 3 April.
  • The agreement provides for visa-free entry, exit, transit and temporary stay on the territory of the other state for a period of up to 90 days (from the date of the first entry) for citizens of the two states who have a valid travel document (passport).
Greece

18. Katherine Filippeos, “Travel to U.S. With No Visa for Greek Citizens Extended by 1 Year”, Greek Reporter, April 5, 2017

 

  • Greece’s inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program has been extended for one year as announced on Wednesday.
  • In a letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Nikos Tosca, it was announced that the period has been extended until March 31, 2018.
Ukraine

19. Gabriela Baczunska, “European Lawmakers Approve Visa-Free Travel for Ukrainians”, Reuters, April 6, 2017

 

  • European lawmakers voted 521 to 75 to grant Ukrainians holding biometric passports the right to visit for up to 90 days for tourism, business or visiting relatives and friends. The visa waiver, which does not give Ukrainians the right to work in the EU, is expected to take effect this summer.
  • The waiver covers all EU states except Ireland and Britain, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland - not in the EU but members of Europe's free-travel Schengen zone.
United Kingdom

20. “Increasing Number of Brits Want to Become French to Stay in EU”, RT News, April 7, 2017

 

  • A record number of British people are applying for French passports in order to retain their EU membership once Brexit comes into effect in 2019. The number of applications for French citizenship being processed in the first quarter of 2017 almost doubled compared to the whole of last year, according to the French consulate in the UK.
  • Last year the number of Britons in France seeking to acquire a burgundy passport, the kind used across all EU member states, also rose 40 percent on the previous year.
  • It is thought the hike in the number of applications for French citizenship is down to Brexit and people wanting to hold on to their EU membership.
OCEANIA
Australia

21. Ankit Misra, “Indian Migrants Fuel Australian Population Boom, Hinduism Fastest-Growing Religion”, India Today, April 3, 2017

 

  • India, the largest single source of migrants to Australia, is being cited as one of the reasons the population of this Indo-Pacific nation is booming -- and, expectedly, Hinduism is likely to remain the country's fastest-growing religion.
  • More than 40,000 Indians were part of those who arrived in Australia as a part of the 2015-16 migration programmes. Their number (40,145 or 21.2 percent) increased from 34,874 (18.4 per cent) for 2014-15.
  • Besides contributing significantly to the growth in the Australian population, it is expected that Indian migrants would also become major drivers of the economy. According to some news reports based on the Department of Immigration's figures, the Indian community is the most highly-educated in Australia.

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