East African Community
1. Marc Mkwame, “East Africa: EAC Passport for Release Next Year”, All Africa, April 10, 2017
- The EAC six partner states, it was revealed at the just ended 35th EAC Council of Ministers' meeting here, have been directed to start issuing the new East African machine readable Electronic- Passports by January 31, 2018 after preparedness of each partner state was considered.
- The e-Passport is expected to boost free movement of people across the East African region and facilitate implementation of the Common Market protocol, which guarantees the right to move between countries in East Africa.
Antigua & Barbuda
2. “IMF Commends A&B for 2016 Economic Growth”, Antigua Observer, April 11, 2017
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive who has direct responsibility for Antigua & Barbuda has commended the government’s effort to stabilise the country’s economy, which grew by 3.6 per cent last year.
- [IMF Executive Dr Arnold McIntyre] acknowledged that the twin island state is an extremely competitive international market for foreign investment and therefore the government is making its best effort in this regard.
3. “Changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program Announced”, Canadian HR Reporter, April 11, 2017
- The federal government is looking to improve the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by bringing in new requirements for employers seeking to hire foreign workers.
- Employers will be required to do more to recruit Canadians, particularly those who are typically under-represented in the workforce, such as youth, newcomers, women, Indigenous people and people with disabilities.
- To fulfill its commitment to better protect vulnerable foreign workers, the government will also increase on-site inspections of workplaces that employ foreign workers. It will also work with community organizations devoted to the protecting vulnerable foreign workers to ensure they are informed of their rights and protections when they arrive in Canada.
4. Douglas Todd, “Law Would Allow Children to be Canadian Citizens Separately From Parents”, Calgary Herald, April 13, 2017
- Ontario Senator Victor Oh proposed legislation on Thursday that asks Canada to follow the lead of Norway and make it possible for minors to apply for citizenship separately from their parents.
- The proposal would apply to a cross-section of youths in Canada — including asylum seekers, children estranged from their parents, young people with criminal convictions, and minors who don’t want to follow their parents back to nations such as India and China that don’t allow dual passports.
- Canadian law currently requires permanent residents who want to apply for citizenship to be at least 18 years of age or to be included in a parent or guardian’s immigration application. Currently, the only way that a Canadian resident under 18 can apply for citizenship on their own is on “compassionate” grounds.
5. Maureen Coulter, “Chinese Newcomer Hopes to Help Immigrants Invest in PEI Economy”, The Guardian PEI, April 15, 2017
- Zhenggang Chang shared his personal experience as a local entrepreneur and the challenges that came with it during the opening ceremony of the P.E.I. Immigration Entrepreneurship Foundation earlier this month. The P.E.I. Immigration Entrepreneurship Foundation is new non-governmental organization that will help Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs find the right channel to develop or invest in the P.E.I. economy.
- Ricky Liu, chairman, said his organization will help new immigrants by providing consultation, showing them where local markets reside from real estate to agriculture and what sort of laws or regulations exist so they can invest in the P.E.I. economy.
6. Octavio Blanco, “1,500 Economists to Trump: Immigrants Are Good for the U.S. Economy”, CNN, April 12, 2017
- In a letter to President Trump and top Congressional leaders Wednesday, nearly 1,500 economists extolled the economic benefits immigrants bring to the U.S. and urged Congress to "modernize" the country's immigration system.
- Earlier this year, Trump said he wanted to move away from a family-based immigration system toward a merit-based one, like Canada's or Australia's, which gives preference to immigrants with education and skills. However, merit-based systems also typically allow for some family reunification and refugees.
7. Kentaro Iwamoto, “ASEAN and Japan Aim to Foster Startups in Southeast Asia”, Nikkei Asian Review, April 13, 2017
- Venture capital investment is booming in Southeast Asia, boding well for the region's startups. And there is greater scope for collaboration between businesses in the region and in Japan to make innovation happen.
- Speakers [at the ASEAN-Japan Open Innovation Forum in Tokyo] said Southeast Asian startups are attracting funds because emerging economies have different business opportunities than those of developed nations. Global companies, including Chinese tech giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, are the big startup buyers in the region.
- The ASEAN Business Club, a group of leading companies in Southeast Asia, signed a memorandum of cooperation with nine Japanese business associations to form the ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network. The alliance is a response to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call last September at a meeting in Laos for stronger economic links between ASEAN and Japan.
8. “Foreigners in Shanghai FTZ Have Easier Access to China ‘Green Cards’”, English China News Service, April 14, 2017
- The latest benefit of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) is to its non-Chinese residents, who can apply for permanent residence in China simply with a letter of recommendation from the FTZ authorities. According to the social security bureau of Shanghai Pudong New Area, the new policy will take effect in mid-April, and apply to both the applicants and their spouses and minor children.
- The move was made following 10 rules related to China's entry and exit policy announced by the Ministry of Public Security, which authorize Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone and Shanghai FTZ to recommend high-level foreign staff for permanent residence permits, Chinese "green cards". The reform is to support Shanghai's ambition of becoming a world sci-tech innovation hub.
9. Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, “Indonesia to Remove Countries With Fewest Visits From Visa-Free List”, Jakarta Post, April 12, 2017
- The government's ongoing evaluation of its policy granting free tourist visas to citizens from 169 nations might affect those countries that sent the fewest number of visitors to Indonesia in recent years. “The number of tourists is just one of the indicators [used to review the free-visa policy],” a spokesman of the ministry's Directorate General of Immigration, Agung Sampurno, told the Post on Tuesday. Other indicators used are national security issues and public perception, he added.
- According to data the immigration authority shared with The Jakarta Post, 35 states sent few visitors to Indonesia. For example, in 2016 Afghanistan only sent nine and North Korea 23. According to the data, several countries, such as the Aland Islands, Aruba, Congo and Liberia, only sent one each last year.
10. Wendy Lee, “Taiwan Offers Visa-Free Entry for Filipino Citizens”, Taiwan News, April 12, 2017
- Starting on June 1, Philippine citizens will be granted visa-free access to Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Wednesday. The measure will allow Philippine nationals visa-exempt stays of up to 30 days, which will be implemented on a trial basis for a period of one year, from June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, the ministry said.
- The move is to encourage more tourists from countries in South and Southeast Asia to visit Taiwan, as part of the government’s “New Southbound Policy,” which aims to forge closer trade and economic ties with South and Southeast Asian nations.
11. Jonathan M. Hicap, “Envoy: Korea to Give E-Visa, Visa-Free Entry Privileges to Pinoys”, Manila Bulletin, April 13, 2017
- Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul Hernandez said that the Philippines is included in the plan of the Korean government to issue electronic visas and allow visa-free stay in mainland Korea for five days to Southeast Asian nationals who are visiting Jeju Island via Incheon or Gimhae airports in order to boost its tourism industry.
- In an email to Manila Bulletin, Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said it “is still in discussion with relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Justice on this matter, but hopes to implement the detailed plan within May of this year.” “It is true that at the moment, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia among the Southeast Asian countries are being considered to be included in the electronic visa program,” it added.
12. “Saudi Green Card is ‘For Investors and Scientifically Skilled’”, Arab News, April 15, 2017
- Fahad bin Juma, vice chairman of the Shoura Council Financial Committee, said eligibility for the Saudi green card will be determined by a number of entities topped by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment
- He said in order to meet the eligibility criteria, applicants must possess scientific skills or professional qualities that are not abundantly available in the Kingdom, or they should be company owners who can invest in the country.
- He said the availability of the card would be limited due to such criteria, and also because foreigners are able to obtain a Saudi investment license.
13. Ariel Hsieh, “Tourism Bureau Launches Second Visa-Free Measure”, PTS News, April 13, 2017
- The deadlock in cross-Strait relations has greatly impacted Taiwan's tourism industry, as the number of Chinese tourists continue to decrease. To save the tourism industry, the Tourism Bureau decided to launch a second visa-free measure to attract more visitors from Southeast Asia.
- Visa-free entry for Thai and Bruneian visitors will be prolonged for another year to July 31, 2018. The Philippines will be added to the visa-free entry trial program for a year. Passport holders from India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam who hold a visa expired within 10 years from the date of expected arrival in Taiwan, will now be eligible to use the online application to receive multiple-entry visas. Visitors from Sri Lanka and Bhutan can now visit Taiwan once they receive a valid tourist visa.
- Those who have applied for ROC visas for the past ten years, around 1.35 million people, are eligible to a conditional visa-free entry.
14. Shelly Shan, “Tourism Bureau Offers Incentives”, Taipei Times, April 13, 2017
- The Tourism Bureau yesterday rolled out new incentives to attract tourists from nations targeted by the government’s “new southbound policy,” after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs further relaxed visa requirements for people from some Asia and Southeast Asia nations.
- International tourists who come with tour groups could receive between NT$20,000 and NT$150,000 in subsidies if they spend three days in Taiwan and visit artistic and historic sites. Each person could receive a subsidy of between NT$400 and NT$800 for tour groups that spend more than four days in Taiwan.
- Tourists of incentive tour groups from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Bhutan, Australia and New Zealand can each receive NT$400 on the first or second day of the four-day tour in Taiwan if the group has more than 50 people, the tour said.
15. “Thailand Popular Destination for Skilled Workers From Philippines”, Bangkok Post, April 16, 2017
- Thailand is a popular destination for skilled workers and technicians from Asean countries, with the Philippines taking the top spot, according to the Department of Employment (DE). According to the department, the top five were the Philippines (14,830), Malaysia (2,924), Singapore (2,034), Myanmar (1,948) and Indonesia (1,279). As of February, of the total 1,380,349 workers from Asean countries in Thailand, about 50,000 are skilled labour and technicians.
- [DE Director-General Mr Varanon Peetiwan] urged foreigners who wish to work in the country to follow procedures set by the DE. They must obtain a licence issued by the DE and are required to stay in the country or allowed to enter the country legally as workers, not tourists.
16. Peter J. Walker, “Number of Britons Seeking Irish Passports Increases by Two-Thirds”, The Guardian, April 15, 2017
- The number of Britons applying for Irish passports has increased by more than two-thirds, at least partly because of Brexit, Ireland’s foreign minister has said. Flanagan’s department issued 733,060 passports last year, up 9% on 2015. About 65,000 were given to Britons, a 42% rise on 2015.
- The department is hiring extra staff and has launched an online passport renewal service to handle the number of applications.
17. “Ukrainians From Occupied Territories Can Enjoy Visa-Free Travel – Foreign Ministry”, Ukrinform, April 14, 2017
- This has been reported by the Department of the Consular Service of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine on Facebook.
- "The citizens of Ukraine permanently residing on the territories of the temporarily occupied Crimea and ORDLO like other citizens of Ukraine will have the right to enjoy benefits of the visa-free regime with the EU under general conditions, having obtained a biometric passport of Ukraine and adhering to other relevant requirements for visa-free travel," the report says.
18. Ashley Cowburn, “Immigration ‘Particularly Important’ to Some Sectors of UK Economy, Says ONS Report”, The Independent, April 12, 2017
- Immigration is “particularly important” to the wholesale and retail, hospitality and health sectors, which employ around 1.5 million non-UK nationals, according to an official analysis. Highlighting the severity of imposing curbs to immigration after Brexit research from the independent Office for National Statistics also shows that EU migrants account for as many as one in 10 of employees in some sectors of the British economy.
- The organisation’s annual report shows that last year’s estimated 3.4m workers – or around 11 per cent of the UK labour market – were foreign nationals. The number was made up of around 2.2m EU nationals and 1.2m non-EU nationals.
- ONS migration analyst Anna Bodey said the research shows the significant impact international migration has on the UK’s labour market.
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