MEDIA

Harvey Law Group Weekly Newsletter

Nov 21,2016
AMERICA
Antigua & Barbuda

"Decrease in applications for Citizenship by Investment Programme in Antigua", Jamaica Observer, November 14th, 2016

According to Lennox Weston, the minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, this can be attributed to a decrease in demand for the programme but he remains optimistic that this could change in the future.

He noted that the projections do not spell disaster for the economy since there are international factors that could result in growth adding that marketing of the desirability of the Antiguan and Barbudan passport should be revised given that the world’s CIP market is large enough.

Canada

Patrick Cain, "New immigration rules make it easier for Americans to work and stay in Canada", Global News, November 18th, 2016

Would-be immigrants (who aren’t refugees or family members) have to qualify for a given number of points to get into a pool of potential immigrants. The points system, which grades potential immigrants, looks at a number of factors: work experience, age, education and official language fluency. The best-qualified applicants in the pool are invited to apply for permanent residence, which comes with the right to work in Canada and can lead to citizenship.

Applicants can now earn points by working in Canada, which is easier for Americans to do because of NAFTA Americans (and Mexicans) who are in this list of occupations have an automatic right to work in Canada. Working in Canada on a NAFTA work permit didn’t move someone closer to citizenship before, but now it does.

In principle, people of any nationality can be invited to apply for permanent residency. But the points that help applicants get into the pool, and rise to the top, are within easier reach for Americans.

Jennifer Campbell, "Canadians to travel to Kazakhstan visa-free", Ottawa Citizen, November 19th, 2016

Kazakh Ambassador Konstantin Zhigalov said his government decided to lift visa requirements for all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states, which includes Canada, starting Jan. 1. Beginning that day, Canadians will be able to travel to Kazakhstan visa-free for up to 30 days.

From a business point of view, Kazakhstan is an important trading partner, with more than $7 billion in bilateral trade between 2012 and 2014, a volume that’s lessened in recent years because of lower commodity prices and overall market volatility. Yet even today, Kazakhstan is on Canada’s global market action plan.

Kathleen Harris, "John McCallum says Mexican visa could be ‘reimposed’ if refugee claims spike", CBC News, November 15th, 2016

Canada is prepared to reinstate a visa requirement for Mexican travellers if the number of refugee claims jumps too high, says Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum.

The visa lift is set to kick in Dec. 1. McCallum said the federal government was aware of a possible spike in asylum-seekers long before Donald Trump was elected president in the U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the plan to lift the visa requirement during a visit by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on June 28. During that meeting, Mexico announced it would fully reopen its market to Canadian beef in October.

Rachel Revesz, "Canada will lift visa restrictions for Mexicans in December", The Independent, November 16th, 2016

As of 1 December, Mexicans will no longer need a visa to visit Canada and are only required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization, which can be applied for online and costs CAD $7.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement to lift the need for a visa in June as he stood beside Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto.

Michelle Zilio, "Ottawa to ease path to permanent residency for skilled workers, students", The Globe and Mail, November 14th, 2016

The changes to the Express Entry system, which scores and ranks applicants based on factors such as age, language ability, education and work experience and then matches them with Canadian employers, will take effect on Nov. 19. The changes announced in a news release on Monday will make it easier for some highly skilled workers already in the country and international students who completed their postsecondary education in Canada to get an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

The upcoming changes to Express Entry reduce the importance of obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for high-skilled workers. Some workers already in Canada on a temporary LMIA-exempt work permit and who want to stay permanently will no longer need a LMIA to get job-offer points in the Express Entry system. This includes people working in Canada under the terms of the North American Free-Trade Agreement and workers in Canada temporarily under an intra-company transfer.

Mexico

Kirk Semple, "‘Stay Calm’, Mexican Officials Tell Fearful Immigrants in U.S.", The New York Times, November 16th, 2016

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, apparently responding to promises by President-elect Donald J. Trump to step up deportations, announced a plan on Wednesday to provide more protection and support for Mexican immigrants in the United States and urged the Mexican population to “stay calm.”

In a statement and an accompanying video, both titled “We Are With You,” the ministry laid out an 11-point plan intended to help Mexicans in the United States get accurate information about possible changes in immigration policy and avoid falling victim to “abuse and fraud.”

The ministry’s strategy promised an expansion of services offered by Mexico’s Embassy in Washington and its 50 consulates around the United States, including a 24-hour toll-free consular hotline to address migration concerns and report possible fraud; an increase in outreach efforts in neighborhoods with large Mexican populations; and more help for Mexican immigrants to secure identification documents for them and for their American-born children.

Peru

"Peru announces visa waiver, welcoming Chinese tourism", CCTV America, November 16th, 2016

Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wants to make tourism a pillar of the country’s economy and has waived visas for Chinese tourists and business travelers, in a move to incentivize more tourism and trade.

Chinese tourism is on the rise in Peru and here in Cuzco, a city that lives from tourism; operators are even starting to learn Mandarin in an effort to encourage more visitors from this huge potential market.

United States

Cathaleen Chan, "EB-5 will thrive under Trump, expert say", The Real Deal, November 18th, 2016

EB-5 will likely to continue to thrive under President-elect Donald Trump, EB-5 experts said at a panel hosted by The Real Deal in Shanghai Friday, despite his adversarial rhetoric toward immigrants.

Charles Gargano, the executive director of the U.S. Immigration Fund and a former U.S. ambassador, is also optimistic. “Under President-elect Trump, a developer himself, he will magnify the need for a program like this,” he said.

Trump certainly isn’t a stranger to the program. His son-in-law Jared Kushner’s Trump-branded rental tower in Jersey City took in $50 million in EB-5 funds. U.S. Immigration Fund, in fact, was tapped for the 50-story, 447-unit project.

ASIA
APEC

Ryan Dube, "China’s President Says Government Will Continue Working on Trade Pacts", The Wall Street Journal, November 19th, 2016

In a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which accounts for about half of global trade, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government would support a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and was pushing forward with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a trade pact that includes 16 countries.

China, the world’s second biggest economy, could take on a greater role in global trade if Mr. Trump’s administration pulls out of U.S.-led accords, analysts say. Some countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, say they are now open to joining the Chinese-led RCEP, which includes India and Australia, as an alternative pact following uncertainty in the U.S. The TPP includes 12 countries, including Japan, Mexico, Chile and Peru. It doesn’t include China.

Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, which is also a member of TPP, said countries would need to decide if they move forward without the U.S. if Mr. Trump follows through on his campaign promise to exit from the deal or sit down and renegotiate a new accord.

"World Leaders at APEC Summit Take Aim at Trump Over Trade", The New York Times, November 19th, 2016

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said NAFTA benefits workers and companies on both sides of the border. Still, he expressed concern that the U.S. could be turning its back on a bilateral trade relationship responsible for moving $1 million worth of goods every minute.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered perhaps the most-forceful defense of free trade, given the size of his economy. In his kickoff speech from Peru he said the best response to rising protectionism would be for APEC's 21 members to negotiate a free trade area encompassing the entire Pacific Rim. Xi's remarks came as Chinese state media blasted Trump for "trade-bashing" rhetoric that threatens global economic stability.

Indonesia

"How to get a visa waiver to Japan with an Indonesian e-passport", The Jakarta Post, November 16th, 2016

Japan has implemented a visa-free policy for Indonesian tourists visiting the country for less than 15 days using an e-passport.

Obtaining the visa waiver is a simple one-day process that can be done by visiting the Japanese Embassy, Consulate General or consular offices in Indonesia either in person or through registered travel agents.

Iran

Gunay Hasanova, "Iranian President supports idea of visa-free regime with Russia", AzerNews, November 15th, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has supported the idea of a gradual transition to a visa-free regime with Russia, said the speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko on November 14, following a meeting with Rouhani, RIA Novosti reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Rouhani signed a deal that eased bilateral visa rules during Putin’s latest visit to Tehran in 2015. This document aims to ease the two countries' citizens' travel and eases the conditions for exchange of trade and technological delegations between the two countries.

"Iran in no visa waiver talks with Europe, other countries: Qassemi", Press TV, November 20th 2016

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has dismissed as “fake and invalid” media reports claiming that the Islamic Republic is in talks with over 70 countries, including Europeans, to lift visa requirements.

He added that any agreement with other countries on the facilitation of consular affairs would be announced only through “official channels.”

The reports also quoted the source as saying that talks are underway with France, Germany and Italy to remove visa requirements for Iranians.

Philippines

Katrina Domingo, "DOT eyes visa-free policy for Chinese tourists", ABS-CBN News, November 19th, 2016

The Philippine government is looking at the possibility of granting visa-free travel to Chinese tourists in a bid to increase tourist arrivals in the country, a tourism official said Saturday.

"China is considered as our low-hanging fruit. This is where the (tourist) volume in Asia will be coming from. In fact, (they had) 120 million outbound tourists last year and we only got around 491,000. Napakaliit," Department of Tourism (DOT) Route Development Head Erwin Balane told ABS-CBN News.

The surge of tourists from Mainland China came as the Chinese government lifted the travel warning it had issued against the Philippines. The development came shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte's four-day state visit to China last month.

Taiwan

James Kon, "Taiwan adds Brunei permanent residents to visa waiver programme", Borneo Bulletin, November 18th, 2016

Permanent residents of Brunei with a Certificate of Identity (CI) document can visit Taiwan for up to 30 days without having to apply for a visa starting December 1. The new initiative was announced by Jason CH Wan, the official representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Brunei Darussalam during a press conference yesterday.

However, Bruneians who intend to stay over 30 days for employment, studies, attending courses or reside with their family, will need to apply for the appropriate visa at TECO in Gadong.

In August this year, Taiwan has already granted visa waiver status to Brunei citizen passport holders to travel to Taiwan for tourism, business or attend conferences as well as trade fairs and others.

Turkey

Said Abdul Razzak, "Turkey Plans Granting Citizenship for Foreign Investors", Asharq Al-Awsat, November 15th, 2016

The Turkish government has put the finishing touches to a proposal to widen eligibility for Turkish citizenship in a bid to attract foreign investors, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday after the meeting of Turkey’s Cabinet of Ministers.

Investors eligible for citizenship will include those who have made fixed investments, those who have bought real estate at a certain value and retain it for at least three years, those who provide employment opportunities and those people who invest a certain amount of money in state investment tools on the condition that they do not withdraw it within three years, Kurtulmus stated.

For his part, Development Minister Lutfi Elvan said in September that the Interior Ministry is working on a two-phase transition plan for granting citizenship to foreign investors. Citizenship will be granted to foreign investors who make a certain investment amount in Turkey. The minimum investment amount to allow a foreign investor to gain Turkish citizenship will be determined by Cabinet decision.

EUROPE
European Union

"EU plans online screening for visa-free travellers", Reuters, November 16th, 2016

Millions of tourists and business people visiting Europe will have to complete a 5 euro ($5.35) online security check before arrival if an EU plan to tighten controls on foreigners who do not need visas wins approval. The system, put forward by the executive European Commission on Wednesday, would check identity documents and residence details against a variety of EU security and crime databases.

Named ETIAS, it would also address European concerns over plans to expand visa-free travel to two big neighbors, Turkey and Ukraine, and would apply immediately to people from non-EU states in the Balkans such as Albania and Serbia.

Similar to the U.S. ESTA system, it would affect citizens of around 60 countries who can visit Europe's Schengen area for short trips without first applying for a visa, including Americans, Japanese and - depending on what arrangements London negotiates for leaving the EU - potentially Britons too.

Russia

"Crimea to keep visa-free status for Chinese tourists visiting peninsula", TASS, November 15th, 2016

Crimea will preserve visa-free mechanisms for Chinese tourists in 2017 under a Russian-Chinese agreement allowing Russian and Chinese tourists to cross borders without visas, the Crimean Ministry of Resorts and Tourism reported on Tuesday.

Chinese tourists will now have a chance to fly to the Russian Black Sea town of Sochi. The first direct flights from China’s Chengdu to the Russian Black Sea town of Sochi will be launched in spring 2017, the press office for Sochi international airport’s owner, Basel Aero.

"Russia to grant visa-free entry to non-citizens of Latvia and Estonia" Pravda, November 15th, 2016

Russia's Foreign Ministry has prepared a draft decree that will give visa-free entry to Russia for non-citizens of Latvia and Estonia, born after February 6, 1992 (the day when the institute of Soviet citizenship ceased to exist).

The document, which has been posted on the federal website of draft legal acts, says that individuals from Latvia would be allowed to enter Russia by presenting their passports of non-citizens. Residents of Estonia would have to present their foreign passports. In both cases, it goes about the passports issued by the authorities of the above-mentioned countries.

Ukraine

"EU member states back visa-free travel for Ukrainians", Deutsche Welle, November 17th, 2016

The 28 EU member states agreed in principle on visa-free travel for EU and Ukrainian citizens for stays of not more than 90 days in any 180-day period. The new visa arrangement with Ukraine will, however, only kick in once the European Union improves its so-called suspension mechanism, designed to lift any visa waivers in case of an emergency, like the 2015 refugee crisis.

The announcement on the lifting of visas came, however, as somewhat of a consolation prize after the Netherlands held a non-binding public referendum earlier in 2016 on the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine, which more than 60 percent of voters said they were against. Still, the decision on visa liberalization is likely to get noticed in other countries as well; Turkey, Kosovo and Georgia have also been waiting to have EU visa requirements lifted.

"Ukraine, Albania adopt visa-free policy to boost economic ties, tourism", Famagusta Gazette, November 16th, 2016, November 17th, 2016

The agreement on lifting the visa requirements was signed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati in Tirana.

The visa waiver deal allows for multiple visits, permitting a visa-free stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

According to the Ukrainian government, the new visa policy is aimed at promoting the development of the Ukrainian-Albanian partnership, boosting economic ties and intensifying people-to-people contacts and tourism. Kiev hopes that the agreement would help Ukraine obtain a visa-free regime with the European Union.

Disclaimer

The material contained in this Publication is solely intended to inform readers of general legal information and/or developments. It is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as a legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Harvey Law Group (“HLG”) is not liable and in any way responsible for any harm or damages resulting from the use of the information contained on this Publication for legal or any other purposes. All rights reserved.