MEDIA

HLG Weekly Newsletter

May 22,2017
 

 

WORLDWIDE

1. ‘’OECD Launches Facility To Disclose CRS Avoidance Schemes; Over 1800 Relationships Now in Place to Automatically Exchange CRS Information Between Tax Authorities’’, OEDC, May 5th, 2017

  •  As part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity of the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the OECD is today launching a disclosure facility on the Automatic Exchange Portal which allows interested parties to report potential schemes to circumvent the CRS.
  • Also today, a further important step to implement the CRS was taken, with an additional 500 bilateral automatic exchange relationships being established between over 60 jurisdictions committed to exchanging information automatically pursuant to the CRS, starting in 2017.
  • This facility is part of a wider three step process the OECD has put in place to deal with schemes that purport to avoid reporting under the CRS. As part of this process all actual or perceived loopholes that are identified are systematically analysed in order to decide on appropriate courses of action.

 

Africa
  1. ‘’Citizenship By Investment for Wealthy African Business People’’, Zimbabwe Daily, May 15th, 2017
  • The easiest way to remove the hassle from your international travels is to apply for a CBI program. A CBI program is a direct investment program that offers any wealthy African business person the opportunity to acquire a dual nationality and a second passport.
  • With a second passport, you can enjoy improved access to a variety of first world countries without the hassle of visa applications and time-consuming interview processes.
  • As a wealthy African business person, you have struggled to build your empire. Finding that you are restricted from traveling and expanding globally due to your nationality can be disheartening. By applying for a CBI program and successfully receiving dual nationality, you have the ability to expand your business anywhere in the world.

 

America
Antigua
  1. ‘’Antigua-Barbuda strengthens diplomatic outreach in Canada’’, Caribbean News Now, May 19th, 2017
  • Sir Ronald Sanders has been accredited by the government of Canada as Antigua and Barbuda’s non-resident high commissioner.   The accreditation took place on Monday prior to Sanders' attendance at a diplomatic retreat on Tuesday organised by the Canadian government in Ottawa for all foreign high commissioners and ambassadors.
  • The Antigua and Barbuda diplomat, whose principal accreditation is as ambassador to the United States of America, explained that accreditation to countries that neighbour each other is “an effective cost-saving device”.   

 

 

Grenada

  1. ’Invest in Grenada’s local economy to become a citizen of the world’’, ABC Money, May 19th, 2017
  • For some entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals, the citizenship with which they were born somewhat restricts their ability to do business or invest globally. As a consequence, the last three decades have seen a growth in savvy high net worth individuals seeking alternative residence and citizenship options.
  • In recent years, Grenada has been making conscious efforts to encourage national economic growth by way of its economic citizenship programme. The Government intends to secure a stable economic future using such investments to support the financing of growing sectors, such as tourism and construction as well as smart energy solutions.
  • Alternative routes to economic citizenship in Grenada include making an investment towards one of the island’s many approved real estate projects, including hotels, villas, and resorts. Investment in tourist infrastructure is incredibly popular, owing to the exponential growth of Grenada’s tourism industry in recent years. 

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

  1. Benjamin Parker, ‘’Anti-money laundering training for St Kitts-Nevis citizenship by investment staff’’, WIC News, May 13th, 2017
  • [Les] Khan said the constant training and development of the unit’s staff is of paramount importance, and it is his intention to find meaningful ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment programme.
  • “The Citizenship by Investment Unit is on a journey of continuous improvement,” he said.
  • “The training that the entire staff has all engaged in this week will strengthen the levels of due diligence that we undertake in ensuring that our programme maintains its platinum standard and ranks amongst the best in the world for authenticity and credibility.”

 

  1. ‘’IMF Commends St. Kitts And Nevis For Prudent Macroeconomic Policies That Continue To Yield Strongest Economic Growth In The ECCU’’, ZIZ, May 14th, 2017
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has commended St. Kitts and Nevis under the leadership of the Team Unity Administration for its competent and prudent management of the economy, the necessary reforms to strengthen and protect its Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) Programme, plans to introduce universal health coverage (UHC) and the commitment to establish a Growth and Resilience Fund (GRF) among several other plaudits.
  • In its most recent 2017 Article IV consultation on the St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy conducted by an IMF mission, the IMF said “notwithstanding a difficult international environment, St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy is expected to grow again in 2017 for the 5th consecutive year.”
  • “The authorities made significant efforts to strengthen the CBI programme, given risks to CBI revenues in a challenging regional and global environment. They have strengthened the due-diligence process with dedicated resources and global collaboration, as this is essential to reduce integrity and security risks, preserve the program’s credibility, and avoid a race-to-the-bottom,” according to the IMF’s assessment, which have been corroborated by regional and international entities.

 

  1. Ken Richards, ‘’Amory: Escrow Requirement Helps Protect CBI Investment Funds’’, WinnFM, May 15th, 2017
  • The importance of an escrow account requirement associated with the Citizenship by Investment Programme has been highlighted by Senior Government Minister in the federal government, Vance Amory.
  • The escrow accounts are intended to ensure that investment funds obtained under the CBI are protected for the purpose for which they are received, to protect the applicants of the programme from fraudulent activity. 
  • The government says the steps being taken are intended to protect the federation against money laundering and fraudulent practices. 

 

United States

  1. Trisha Thadani, ‘’Startup visa rule could help entrepreneurs, if Trump keeps it’’, San Francisco Chronicle, May 20th, 2017
  • In less than two months, foreign entrepreneurs will have another way to reach for the American dream — unless the Trump administration closes it off.
  • The International Entrepreneur Rule, approved by the Department of Homeland Security during President Barack Obama’s waning hours in office, grants foreign entrepreneurs a window of time to stay in the U.S. to build companies they recently started. It is scheduled to go into effect July 17.
  • The benchmarks for the rule are high: A foreigner must demonstrate that he or she will contribute to economic growth or job creation and show that a reputable investor has put at least $250,000 into the company. Under the rule, foreigners can stay in the U.S. for 30 months (with the possibility of a 30-month extension). A foreigner cannot apply for a green card during this period. Parole status can also be taken away at any time — a risky caveat for a startup past its nascent stages.

 

  1. ‘’Chinese spent $24bn on US, other golden visas’’, Kuwait Times, May 22nd, 2017
  • More than 100,000 Chinese have poured at least $24 billion in the last decade into ‘’golden visa’’ programs across the world that offer residence in exchange for investment, an Associated Press analysis has found. Nowhere in Chinese demand greater than in the United States, which has taken in at least $7.7 billion and issued more than 40,000 visas to Chinese investors and their families in the past decade, the AP found.
  • The flood of investors reflects how China’s rise has catapulted tens of millions of families into the middle class. But at the same time, it shows how these families are increasingly becoming restless as cities remain choked by smog, home prices multiply and schools impose ever-greater pressure on children. They also feel insecure about being able to protect their property and savings.
  • China is central to the success of almost every major investment migration program in the world, so many countries are going out of their way to court Chinese investors.

 

 

Asia

Malaysia

  1. Bernama, ‘’Dual passport holders automatically lose M'sian citizenship: DPM’’, New Straits Times, May 17th, 2017
  • A Malaysian will automatically lose his Malaysian citizenship if he is found to have dual citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday.
  • He said the Constitution clearly states that a Malaysian would lose his citizenship once he becomes a citizen of another country.

 

Philippines

  1. Ralph Jennings, ‘’Taiwan Gambles On Visa-Free Entry For Citizens Of The Poorer Philippines’’, Forbes, May 15th, 2017
  • Filipinos will be able to travel visa free to Taiwan over a trial period to be announced by September, the foreign ministry says. It’s a bold move. Most of the 138,000 Filipinos in Taiwan come for work, on contracts tightly controlled by labor brokers, in low-wage factory production or in-home care. They take those jobs because they pay more than what’s available at home, a glaring sign of the socioeconomic distance between them: Taiwan is materially well-off, while about a quarter of Filipinos live in poverty.
  • The obvious risk of visa-free entry is that people reach Taiwan visa free, find a job and work illegally instead of going back.
  • Currently 73 foreign governments allow Filipinos visa-free entry, but most are other developing countries with a few exceptions such as Hong Kong (14 days) and Singapore (30 days). Some require conditions such as proof of visas to third countries. Neither the United States nor any Western European countries are on the list.

 

Qatar

  1. ‘’Tourism, education and visa waiver discussed with Qatar’’, Malaysiakini, May 16th, 2017
  • Tourism, education, investment and waiver of visa for Malaysian citizens were among the issues discussed during Foreign Minister Anifah Aman's official visit to Qatar.
  • The visit from May 13 to 17, aims to further enhance the bilateral relations between Malaysia and Qatar, and is on the invitation of Qatar's Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
  • During the meeting with Sheikh Mohammed, the discussion was centred around several bilateral, regional and global issues, such as the US-North Korean crisis, South China Sea and the conflicts in Palestine, Syria and Yemen as well as reform of the United Nations Security Council.

 

 

Europe 

Cyprus

  1. ‘’Failing to see link between investment levels and political status quo’’, Cyprus Mail, May 14th, 2017
  • One of the arguments often used to frighten people off reunification is the economic cost of settlement. Rejectionist politicians resorted to it on countless occasions when the talks appeared to be going well, while newspapers have carried scare stories claiming that a solution would bankrupt the country and make another assistance programme necessary. It is nothing less than we should expect from people that deal in scare-mongering and negativity even when big opportunities are staring them in the face.
  • We were reminded once again of the economic potential that would be unlocked by re-unification during last week’s annual meeting of the EBRD (European Bank of Reconstruction and Development) that was held in Nicosia. After a meeting with representatives of the IMF, the European Commission, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank and the UN, the president of the EBRD, Suma Chakrabarti said: “What was very clear from the discussion was actually that the economic dividend from reunification was very strong and far better than the status quo. That is a message I think it is quite important to put out there.” 

 

France

  1. Peter Allen, ‘’France's new president unveils pro-immigration Republican who abstained on voting on gay marriages as his prime minister’’, Mail Online, May 15th, 2017
  • A maverick conservative who believes that France 'is a land of immigration' was today confirmed as the country's new Prime Minister.
  • Edouard Philippe, 46, currently a Republican party MP, will now become President Emmanuel Macron's chief lieutenant.
  • In 2015 he called for better treatment of immigrants to France, saying: 'You have to enforce the law, and at the same time, we are a land of immigration. We are a host country, so we have to make sure things are going well.'

Romania

  1. James Whittaker, ‘’Romanians feel impact of visa change’’, Cayman Compass, May 11th, 2017
  • Cayman’s small Romanian community is beginning to feel the impact of new visa requirements apparently introduced in response to a handful of credit card crimes committed by tourists from the eastern European country.
  • Both Romania and Bulgaria have been removed from the list of 51 countries that do not require travel visas for citizens to enter the Cayman Islands as tourists.
  • The change was made in March through an amendment to the Immigration Regulations.

 

Ukraine

  1. Nataliya Trach, ‘’(Visa-)Free At Last! Europe opens to Ukraine’’, Kyiv Post, May 18th, 2017
  • As visa barriers to the European Union drop for Ukrainians starting on June 11, people and businesses are gearing up for the practical advantages and the psychological lift of being able to explore the continent more easily.
  • Once the agreement takes effect, Ukrainians will be able to travel without visas (or with visas upon arrival) to 121 of the world’s 195 nations.
  • The next attractive destinations for lifting visa restrictions include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan — although Ukraine is not close to getting visa barriers dropped from any of those nations yet.

 

 

Oceania

Australia

  1. Justin Lee, ‘’Australia to process 90% of incoming passengers based on biometrics by 2020’’, Biometric Update, May 15th, 2017
  • Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has launched a tender for companies to submit technology solutions that will replace passports and immigration officers with electronic stations and automatic triage, according to a report by Airport-Technology.com.
  • The department hopes to implement the world’s first entirely automatic, seamless processing system for international passengers entering the country based on their biometric data, such as fingerprints, iris and facial recognition.
  • Earlier this year, DIBP announced an ambitious plan to implement a new biometric system at the country’s international airports by 2020.

 

  1. Helen Clark, ‘’Australia First: What New Visa Policy Means for Chinese, Asian Immigrants’’, SCMP, May 21th, 2017
  • In a budget unveiled last week, the Australian government of Malcolm Turnbull put “Australians first” by cutting the 457 visa for foreign workers and bringing in tougher English testing for immigrants.
  • Turnbull had said in April: “We will no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians. We’re putting jobs first, and we’re putting Australians first.”
  • The 457 has now been replaced by a temporary skills shortage visa, with a two- or four-year term, and some 200 jobs cut from the original list of 650 eligible for a visa. Businesses using the new system to bring in foreign workers for positions Australians cannot fill will be required to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund, which will support up to 300,000 trainees, apprentices and other workers.

 

 

 

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.