Antigua & Barbuda
1. “Sudan Added to CIP Ban List”, Antigua Observer, February 6, 2017
- Sudan has been added to the list of states whose nationals are not allowed to apply for citizenship under Antigua & Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
- According to the weekly Cabinet notes, circulated by the government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst, recent reports show that Sudan has become a more dangerous place since the civil war with South Sudan.
2. Theresa Gordon, “Fernandez: Citizens Will Not Have to Pay Additional Costs for E-Passport”, Antigua Observer, February 6, 2017
- Immigration Minister Charles “Max’ Fernandez said government has made a decision to absorb the total cost of the passports, which is fitted with a computer chip and other updated security features. However, people applying for the document through the Citizenship by Investment Programme will have to pay an unspecified cost.
- The new passport is expected to include a number of security features in keeping with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards. It will contain a security chip with specific information pertaining to the holder.
3. “Repatriation of Selection Activities of the Québec Immigration Office in Hong Kong”, Government of Québec, February 7, 2017
- Please be advised that effective April 1, 2017, all selection activities at the Québec Immigration Office in Hong Kong will be repatriated to Montréal, and the Office there closed.
- Selection interviews and the processing of files of applicants in the investor, entrepreneur and self-employed worker categories will take place in Montréal.
- Effective March 20, 2017, all correspondence should be sent exclusively to the [Québec Immigration Office in Montréal – see link for address].
4. Laura Meader, “Employers Learn Details of Program Aimed at Bringing Skilled Immigrants to Atlantic Canada”, CBC, February 7, 2017
- The [Atlantic immigration pilot program] is part of a federal and provincial government initiative announced last summer. The program hopes to make it easier to attract and keep skilled immigrants, by offering permanent residency.
- To obtain the temporary work permit, a job offer is required, as well as a letter from the province and a commitment from the individual that they will apply for permanent residence. Individualized settlement plans for the individual and their families are also required.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will begin accepting applications in early March. Employers who have an immediate vacancy can get temporary work permits so an immigrant and his or her family can come to Canada right away. A total of 2,000 applicants are expected for the program in Atlantic Canada in the first year.
5. Bruce Campion-Smith, “Immigration Fuels Canada’s Population Growth of 1.7 Million in Five Years: Latest Census”, The Toronto Star, February 8, 2017
- Statistics Canada counted 35,151,728 people in its May 2016 census, a 5 per cent increase over the 2011 national count, and 14 million private dwellings, up 5.6 per cent.
- The new numbers reveal that Canada’s population grew by 1.7 million people since the last census in 2011. Immigrants accounted for two-thirds of the increase and the so-called natural increase — the difference between births and deaths — accounted for the rest.
- “Fifty years from now, basically all population growth in Canada will be related to another factor which will be immigration. We know already that natural increase will no longer be a key contributor,” [Laurent Martel, director of the demography division at Statistics Canada] said in an interview.
6. Abby Schultz, “U.S. Investment Visa May Jump to $1.35 Million”, Barron’s, February 7, 2017
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to hike the minimum investment amount required to apply for the popular, if controversial, EB-5 investment visa to $1.35 million from $500,000.
- “Changing the minimum threshold in such manner will totally change the profile of EB-5 future investors,” says Bastien Trelcat, managing partner, Harvey Law Group.
- The proposal also would put DHS in charge of deciding which tracts of land are worthy of low-cost investment dollars, a move designed to ensure EB-5 funds help disadvantaged communities as intended.
7. “Iran 2nd Largest Contributor to Armenia Tourism”, Iran Financial Tribune, February 8, 2017
- Iranians helped Armenia register a 5.7% growth in inbound tourism in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to official figures released by Armenia's State Tourism Committee. The number of Iranian tourists visiting Armenia has been steadily growing for years, such that in 2016 it registered the largest growth of any country with 30%.
- The two countries have stated interest in expanding tourism cooperation. A visa waiver agreement went into effect in August last year, which most certainly contributed to Armenia's tourism growth. "The transportation of passengers has significantly increased following the abolition of visa regime," Armenia’s Meghry Customs Checkpoint in the province of Syunik reported last year.
8. Zhang Peng, “39 Thousand Foreign Travelers Enjoy 144-Hour Visa-Free Entry in Shanghai”, China Radio International, February 5, 2017
- Among those who enjoyed the new free-entry policy, over 36 thousand passengers entered Shanghai though Shanghai Pudong airport, up more than 80 percent compared with the number of passengers who enjoyed the 72-hour visa-free policy previously. According to the information released from Shanghai Customs, thanks to the policy, nearly 3,000 foreign tourists entered Shanghai without a visa every month.
- On Jan.30, 2016, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang started to offer 144-hour visa-free entry for international transit passengers, in a renewed effort to boost business and tourism. The policy covers travelers from 51 countries and regions, including the United States, Russia, Britain, Australia, France and Japan.
9. Cao Siqi, “China Issues 1,576 ‘Green Cards’ to Foreigners”, Global Times, February 6, 2017
- A total of 1,576 foreigners were granted Chinese permanent residence in 2016, which is widely regarded as the world's hardest-to-get "green card," an increase of 163 percent from the previous year.
- Lu Miao, executive secretary-general of the Beijing-based think tank Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times that "The rapid increase in the number of green cards shows China is pushing to attract more international talent and make it easier for them to become permanent residents. It will also help in attracting more overseas students."
10. “China to Collect Fingerprints of Foreign Tourists”, The Standard, February 10, 2017
- The Ministry of Public Security yesterday said it will begin taking visitors' fingerprints today as they enter and exit the country. The requirement will apply to most people between the ages of 14 and 70. Those with diplomatic passports or beneficiaries of reciprocal agreements will not be required to provide fingerprints.
- The policy will go into effect starting at Shenzhen international airport, and will be gradually rolled out at other entry points. The ministry said the new requirement is "an important measure to strengthen entry and exit management" that matches policies in other countries.
11. Adie Suri Zulkefli, “Qatar to Waive RM100 Visa Fee for Malaysians: DPM”, New Straits Times, February 7, 2017
- In announcing this, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the RM100 visa fee waiver is a significant step following Qatar’s earlier granting of visa on arrival for Malaysians.
- He had earlier said Malaysia aims to lure more Qataris and the 500,000 Indian professionals and skilled manpower who are working in Qatar to Malaysia.
12. “Visa Incentives Extended to Woo Tourists”, Bangkok Post, February 7, 2017
- The cabinet on Tuesday extended by six months to August free visas at Thai consulates and embassies and discounts on visas on arrival for visitors from 21 countries. Under the measure, visa fees are waived at Thai consulates and embassies and the visa-on-arrival fee is halved to 1,000 baht.
- The visa scheme has increased foreign tourist arrivals since December. Last year, there were 32.6 million arrivals in Thailand. During Jan 1-20, Thailand welcomed 1.8 million international tourists, up 6% year-on-year.
13. “Belarus-Israel Tourist Flow Doubles Following Visa-Free Travel Agreement”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, February 8, 2017
- The agreement on visa-free trips between Belarus and Israel has lead to a considerable increase in tourist numbers, with the two countries showing interest in further cooperation, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Israel Vladimir Skvortsov told BelTA after the talks of the Belarusian delegation led by Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi in Tel Aviv.
- Mikhail Portnoi met with Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin. The parties stressed that the introduction of visa-free travel regulations between Belarus and Israel has resulted in a significant growth of mutual tourist numbers. The officials discussed the main areas for the development of ties between the two ministries and agreed on the need to resume the work of the joint Belarusian-Israeli Tourism Committee.
1. “Russia and Iran to Sign Agreement on Visa-Free Travel for Tourist Groups”, TASS, February 8, 2017
- Russia and Iran will sign an agreement on visa-free travel for tourist groups, Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan said in an interview with TASS. The agreement will be signed during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Moscow in March, he said.
- According to Dzhagaryan, the agreement provides for visa-free trips for citizens of the two countries as part of tour groups (from 5 to 50 people).
15. Philip Oltermann, “Switzerland Votes to Ease Citizenship Process”, The Guardian, February 12 2017
- Switzerland has voted to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to become citizens, rejecting rightwing politicians’ complaints that the proposed measures would pose a security risk.
- The outcome of the referendum on Sunday will open up this easier route to the children of secondos (second-generation immigrants), who number about 24,000 in the country of 8 million inhabitants. Nearly 60% of this group are Italian, followed by people from the Balkans and Turkey.
- The constitutional amendment does not make naturalisation an automatic process, and applicants will still be required to prove they are aged 25 or under, were born in Switzerland and visited a school there for at least five years, share Swiss cultural values, speak a national language and do not depend on state aid.
16. “EU to Lift Visa Restrictions With Ukraine Before Summer – EU Commission”, Sputnik News, February 10, 2017
- The European Union will lift its visa regime with Ukraine before summer, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday.
- The European Commission confirmed that Ukraine met all necessary conditions in December 2015. According to diplomatic sources, Ukraine could be granted visa-free regime in early spring of 2017.
17. Jessica Elgot, “MPs Reject Brexit Bill Amendment to Protect EU Citizens in UK”, The Guardian, February 8, 2017
- Attempts to force the government to give all EU citizens in the UK permanent residency after Britain leaves the bloc have been defeated. The government successfully blocked the bid to add the protections in amendments to the Brexit bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday by 332 votes to 290.
- Brexit minister David Jones said the government had been as clear as it could about the status of EU citizens. “The government fully recognises that the issue of EU nationals resident in the UK is an extremely important one and one we will be addressing as a priority just as we wish to address the issue of the rights of EU nationals resident in the EU,” he said. “This has to be a matter that is decided after the negotiations commence.”
18. John Milford, “Innovation Schemes Show NZ Still Prepared to Benefit from Immigration”, Stuff NZ, February 10, 2017
- The Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) is a programme that each year gives 100 entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams a platform to incubate global impact ventures from New Zealand and contribute to our innovation scene. It's run in conjunction with Immigration NZ's new Global Impact Visa. EHF will deliver the attraction, selection and integration programme, and Immigration NZ will handle the visas, which allow innovators to work here for three years and eligibility for residency.
- The innovators will be joined each year by 20 Kiwi entrepreneurs and investors, who will participate in workshops, skill-sharing sessions, and other learning opportunities. The initiative is looking not just for those who want to invest money, but also those with industry experience who want to work alongside innovators, investing their time as well.
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