- Wilson Manishimwe, “Single Tourist Visa Working for Us, Says Kagame”, New Vision, September 3, 2017
- The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame has called for regional and continental cooperation saying its key in boosting tourism by increasing the numbers of visitors as well as facilitating trade and investment in different countries of East Africa and Africa at large.
- During the opening of the 41st World Tourism Conference in Kigali Rwanda, Kagame noted that there’s need to implement the existing agreements on open skies, and easing visa restrictions among other issues. “The single tourist visa and passportfree travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, is already a reality. So is visa on arrival in Rwanda for all African nationals,” read part of his speech.
- Amro Elserty, “Seychelles Campaigns to Attract More Middle East Travelers”, Forbes, September 2, 2017
- The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is working on launching a campaign that aims at attracting a larger number of Middle Eastbased tourists to the African island.
- At least 20,000 Middle East holidaymakers have visited Seychelles since the beginning of 2017, with the UAE providing the largest chunk of travelers with 18,574 visitors followed by Qatar with 2,369 and Saudi Arabia with 1,465.
- “In the case of UAE and the Middle East region, they are source markets with good air connectivity, ideal for both short and long weekend breaks, given that we are visafree,” [said Sherin Francis, chief executive of the STB].
- Government of Canada, “New ‘X’ Gender Designation Coming to IRCC Documents”, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, August 31, 2017
- As of August 31, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is providing interim measures for individuals requesting an “X” in the sex field in their Canadian citizenship and/or immigration document, passport, or other travel document. These interim measures will be available until the Department is able to print an “X” in these documents.
- Until the Department is able to print and issue these documents with an “X,” anyone with an existing designation other than female (“F”) or male (“M”) in their identity documents (such as a birth certificate, and/or passport or other travel document issued by another country), must choose either “F” or “M” when applying for an IRCC document.
- Mattha Busby, “Canada Introduces Gender-Neutral X Option on Passports”, The Guardian, August 31, 2017
- Canada becomes the first country in the Americas to allow its citizens to use an “X” category, joining those in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Pakistan. India, Ireland and Nepal are among the countries that provide various thirdoptions.
- “All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement announcing the changes last week.
- “Guyana to Soften Immigration Rules”, St. Lucia Times, September 2, 2017
- Guyana will soon put in place a more lenient immigration policy to avoid persons fleeing harsh economic and political conditions in their homeland from being deported for illegal entry, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge said.
- Guyana’s legal framework, he explained, requires persons to enter the country at authorised points unlike a number of neighbouring countries such as Brazil that allows persons to enter at any point and then register.
- “At the policy level, the government may want to see what can be done. We are looking, for example, at our legislation as it applies to refugees although in the case if Venezuela, these are not declared refugees- but let me say to see what can be done,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.
- Laura D. Francis, “Immigration Agency May Be Expanding Anti-Fraud Program”, Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, August 29, 2017
- The USCIS last announced an expansion of its site visit program in fiscal year 2014. The program involves unannounced visits to the work sites of immigrants on certain types of employment visas to ensure compliance with visa rules.
- Now it appears the agency is conducting at least some site visits of employers using L1B visas, which are for workers with “specialized knowledge,” said Goel, former chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Business Immigration Committee.
- The site visits were conducted by a USCIS officer, as opposed to the prior practice of using government contractors […]. And for the first time, the officer conducting the site visit asked for information about all other employees on work visas.
- Tal Kopan, “Trump Administration Adding Extra Hurdle for Green Cards”, CNN, August 29, 2017
- Far more green card applicants will now be required to go through an interview, the Trump administration announced Monday.
- The new directive stems from Trump's executive order known as the travel ban, which put restrictions on who could enter the US, titled "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," according to USCIS. It is also designed to combat fraud, the agency said.
- The new policy will go into effect on October 1. Under the directive, people applying for green cards based on their employment or for refugee and asylee relatives will be subject to an interview.
- Monday's order doesn't affect other broad categories of people generally exempt from interviews, including fiancés and parents of US citizens. But USCIS said in an updated release Monday afternoon that the agency plans to incrementally expand interviews in other categories.
- Leonie Kijewski, “Government Confirms Foreigners Will Need Work Permits for Long-Term Visas”, Phnom Penh Post, August 29, 2017
- An Immigration Department official yesterday confirmed that foreigners requesting a longterm extension of their business visas would need to produce a work permit, with implementation of the rule starting September 4.
- Ouk Sophal, deputy chief in charge of visa extensions, said foreigners would need work permits for business visa extensions of six months or one year, but that the rule would apply only from the second extension onwards.
- For those with work permits currently being processed, Sophal said a receipt proving the application would be enough to get an extension. He added that the department was considering allowing those without a permit to produce a letter apologising for the oversight and indicating their current employer’s address.
- “More Chinese Visit BRICS Countries”, Xinhua, August 31, 2017
- According to Lvmama.com, a Shanghaibased online travel agency, in the first seven months of this year, visitors who booked trips to Russia, Brazil, South Africa and India on their website increased 180 percent from last year. Among the bookings, about 70 percent went to Russia, while South Africa attracted the fastest growing number of visitors, almost four times more than last year.
- China, which holds the BRICS presidency this year, will host the ninth BRICS summit in September in Xiamen, Fujian Province. Travel agencies and institutes predict that more Chinese tourists will visit BRICS countries. According to the China National Tourism Administration, 62 million overseas trips were made by Chinese tourists in the first half of 2017, up 5.1 percent year on year.
- “Serbia Agrees to Cancel Visa Regime for Iranian Citizens”, Iran Front Page, August 30, 2017
- A Farsi report by IRNA has quoted Serbian government’s website as announcing that the European country has approved the cancellation of visa requirements for Iranian and Indian citizens during a meeting on August 4. As a result, tourists as well as investors from both countries of Iran and India can enter the territory of Serbia without any problems.
- The new Serbian ambassador to Tehran also submitted the official invitation of the president of his country to Rouhani in which he had asked the Iranian president to travel to Serbia. He also said that the Serbian parliament would look into the visa waiver for Iranian nationals in the near future.
- “Qatar Introduces Visa On Arrival Facility for Pakistani Travellers”, The Economic Times, August 31, 2017
- Qatar has introduced a visaon-arrival facility for Pakistani passport holders, the media reported on Thursday. According to flag carrier Qatar Airways, Pakistani nationals can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 30 days under the new rules, reports Dawn news. They can also apply to extend their stay by another 30 days.
- The conditions include possession of a passport valid for a minimum of six months from the date of arrival, and an air ticket showing that the traveller will be leaving the country, Qatar Airways said.
- Don Ross, “Singaporeans Enjoy Easy Travel”, TTR Weekly, September 1, 2017
- Singaporeans have the most powerful passports and enjoy the highest level of mobility as far as visafree entry is concerned. Singapore and Germany share the top rank both with a visa-free score of 158 according to Passport Index 2017 ranking.
- Out of the 158 nations that roll out the welcome mat, an eVisa is only required by the USA, India, Australia and Canada. The rest offer Singaporeans visafree entry, or in a few cases visa-on-arrival.
- Lee Hsin-Yin, “No Conclusion on Extending Free Visas for Taiwanese: Thai Official”, Focus Taiwan News, August 28, 2017
- The director of the Thailand Tourism Division in Taiwan said Monday that his country has not reached a conclusion about whether to continue allowing free visas for Taiwanese nationals, a policy that will expire by the end of August.
- Taiwan granted visa waiver treatment to Thai visitors from Aug. 1, 2016, and there has been increasing public demand for Thailand to offer Taiwanese reciprocal treatment. The Taiwanese government has also taken some assertive moves to request continued visa benefits or even a visa waiver program
United Arab Emirates
- Caline Malek, “UAE Awarded for Having Most Powerful Passport in GCC”, The National, August 31, 2017
- The Government accepted a certificate bestowed by the Passport Index during a ceremony. UAE passport holders enjoy a visafree score of 128, which places them in the top 25 passports globally.
- In recent months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation started to further enhance the power of the UAE passport to allow Emiratis visafree travel in as many countries as possible, with agreements signed with Brazil and Argentina and plans for another 18 countries this year alone.
- The ministry recently launched the UAE Passport Force initiative, with the aim to place the country's passport on the list of the five most important passports in the world by 2021.
- “Visa-Free Travel Between Vietnam and Chile”, Prensa Latina, August 29, 2017
- Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has passed the implementation of visa exemption agreement for regular passports between his nation and Chile, as it was officially reported today in this capital.
- Citizens from both nations with regular passports valid for at least six months will be protected up to 90 days, from the date of entry and provided that their visit is not for profit.
- “Armenia Approves Visa-Free Travel for Japan”, Pan Armenian, August 31, 2017
- The Armenian government on Thursday, August 6 approved a visa waiver regime for the Japanese citizens starting from September 6. Under the decision, the Japanese will be allowed to visit and stay in Armenia for no more than 180 days.
- Foreign minister Edward Nalbandian said at a cabinet session on Thursday that Japan is the sixth country to receive a visa waiver from Armenia in 2017.
- Nigel Howarth, “Cyprus Central Bank: Home Prices Rising”, Cyprus Property News, August 27, 2017
- The Cyprus Central Bank’s ‘Residential Property Price Index’ reports that home prices in Cyprus rose 0.3 per cent during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous three months; the third consecutive quarterly increase.
- House prices rose 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the first quarter of 2016; the first annual increase recorded in seven years. Apartment prices rose by an annual 1.5 per cent, while house prices rose 0.3 per cent. The Central Bank reports that the continued quarterly increases, although small, confirm the course of recovery in the Cyprus real estate sector.
- “Cyprus Home Prices Rise for First Time in Seven Years”, Famagusta Gazette, August 28, 2017
- Home prices in Cyprus have risen for the first time in seven years on a yearon year basis, the Central Bank of Cyprus said in a statement over the weekend. It said that home prices rose 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter in 2016, and 0.3 percent relative to the previous quarter.
- "This is the first annual increase in quarterly home prices over the past seven years," it said. The central bank added that apartment prices rose an annual 1.5 percent and house prices rose by 0.3 percent.
- “Cyprus Tourism Organization Happy With Record Tourism Revenue”, Famagusta Gazette, August 30, 2017
- A press release by CTO says that the June 2017 revenues from tourist arrivals reached € 347.2 million, recording a remarkable increase of 15.3% compared to June 2016. Regarding the cumulative total revenue for the first half of the year, CTO says that Cyprus has approached the onebillion record (€ 996.4 million tourists) , recording a significant increase of 19.9% compared to previous year.
- According to CTO, the average travel expenditures from nearly all markets for the period January June have increased, either due to increased daily expenses or due to an increase in the length of stay of the tourists or both.
- Jonah Feldman, “Ukrainians to Enjoy Visa Free Travel to EU From Today”, Foreign Brief, September 1, 2017
- From today on, Ukrainians will be able to visit Europe’s Schengen area visa free as the Association Agreement comes into force. The agreement is the latest effort by Kiev to expand ties with the West and bid “farewell to the…Russian empire.”
- For Brussels, the agreement is only the latest expansion of visa free travel to Westernleaning former Soviet Republics; Moldovan tourists have had visa-free access to the Schengen area since 2014, and Georgia inked a similar deal with the EU in March.
- “Fiji, Brazil Sign Visa Waiver Agreement”, Fiji Sun, August 28, 2017
- Fiji’s Ambassador to Brazil Cama Tuiloma signed the ‘Visa Exemption Agreement’ on behalf of the Fijian Government with the Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Aloysio Nunes Ferreira. This development marks a new step in strengthening bilateral relations with Brazil – the largest economy in Latin America.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Acting Permanent Secretary Yogesh Karan commended this new development and highlighted the opportunities that a visa exemption agreement would bring. “This is a milestone achievement for Government because it allows Fijians to enter Brazil for these reasons without having to apply for a visa.”
- “Migration, Tourism to Drive Strong Economic Growth”, Radio New Zealand, August 30, 2017
- In its latest quarterly report, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) said after a soft start to the year the economy was likely to pick up.Strong migration and tourist inflows continue to support demand for housing, hotels and office space," said NZIER senior economist Christina Leung.
- Annual net migration would remain at about 70,000 into early next year, and gradually fall to about 44,000 in early 2021, and the strong labour market relative to other developed economies would continue to attract immigrants, she said.
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