MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 12.12.2017

Dec 12,2017

AFRICA

 

Kenya

 

  1. Nduta Waweru, “Kenya Announces Visa On Arrival for All Africans”, All Africa, November 29, 2017
  • Kenya has announced that nationals of all African countries will now receive visa upon arrival in Kenya. The pronouncement was made by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his inauguration speech for his second term. "To underscore Kenya's commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity," Pres Kenyatta noted.
  • "I am directing that any African wishing to visit Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa at the port of entry. To underscore Kenya's commitment, this shall not be done on the basis of reciprocity. The freer we are to travel and live with one another, the more integrated and appreciative of our diversity, we will become," he said.
  • He further stated that members of the East African community would no longer need work permits to conduct their business and even live in the country. They will only need to present their identity card.

 

AMERICA

 

Antigua & Barbuda

 

  1. Antigua and Barbuda is Region’s Best Citizenship by Investment Destination – Report”, Antigua Observer, November 28, 2017
  • Antigua and Barbuda has been rated the best Citizenship by Investment (CBI) destination in the Caribbean, and the fourth best globally. The ranking is set out in the Global Residence and Citizenship Programmes 2017–2018 report […].
  • According to the report, Antigua and Barbuda scored 61 out of 100 on the Global Citizenship Programme Index (GCPI) giving it the fourth place ranking out of eight programmes. The top three ranked programmes were those in Malta, Cyprus, and Austria respectively, while Antigua and Barbuda was followed by Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Dominica in that order.
  • According to the report, Antigua and Barbuda scored well for processing time and quality of processing, compliance, investment requirements, transparency and relocation flexibility. It also scored highly in residence requirements and visafree access.

 

Canada

 

  1. Bill Curry and Madeleine White, “Census 2016: Canadians, Including Recent Immigrants, Are Among the Most Educated in the World”, The Globe and Mail, November 29, 2017
  • Canada's labour force is increasingly reliant on welleducated immigrants who are enjoying employment rates that are broadly in line with the national average.
  • […] Canada has the highest proportion of college graduates among developed nations, partly because recent immigrants are especially welleducated. The percentage of all immigrants with a master's or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population.
  • Immigrants accounted for 23.8 per cent of the labour force in 2016, up from 21.2 per cent in 2006, because of increased immigration. The employment rate for immigrants stood at 57.3 per cent, slightly below the national average of 60.2 per cent. Statistics Canada noted immigration is an important part of Canada's strategy for offsetting the impact of population aging, which might otherwise lead to a shrinking pool of workers and labour shortages.

 

Caribbean

 

  1. Nelson A. King, “Caribbean Prime Ministers Discuss Citizenship by Investment Prices”, Caribbean Life News, November 28, 2017
  • Earlier this month, Beacon [a major conference and exhibition organizer that operates out of Hong Kong, Melbourne and London, running events globally] said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit gave the opening address at the Investment Immigration Summit East Asia in Hong Kong. “What we would like to recognize is that literally days after the hurricane, our Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program was back on the road,” Beacon quoted Skerrit as saying. “While we were receiving 200plus miles wind, stakeholders were processing applications because we were able to advance our program to ensure that we utilize technology to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our program.”
  • Beacon said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St. Lucia also made an appearance at the Investment Immigration Summit in Hong Kong. When interviewed by the Investment Migration Insider, Beacon said, “he confirmed that St. Lucia will be accepting other currencies as part of their CIP program, and are looking at the possibility of getting their domestic bank, Bank of St. Lucia, to open a branch in Dubai as part of the IFC.”

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

 

  1. Government to Find New and Innovative Ways to Maintain the Platinum Brand of St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI Programme”, ZIZ, December 7, 2017
  • St. Kitts and Nevis’ platinum branded Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme continues to be an important contributor to NonTax Revenue, and also adds significantly to the overall performance of the Federation’s robust construction industry. That was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris during his presentation of the 2018 Budget Address earlier today, Wednesday, December 6, 2017.
  • The Federation’s Citizenship by Investment Programme was recently awarded as the World’s Most Innovative Investment Immigration Programme at the Global Citizen Awards Ceremony in Russia. This international accolade came after the Government introduced the sixmonth Hurricane Relief Fund as a third option under the CBI Programme. […] Under this initiative, which runs for a period of six months, foreign investors under the CBI Programme can make a non-refundable contribution of US$150,000.
  • The substantive reforms, restructuring and repositioning efforts of the economic citizenship programme by the Team Unity Government, since assuming office in 2015, have also allowed for the Federation’s programme to emerge as a global leader in the industry, receiving highest acclaim by the Financial Times of London on four indicators, including the quality of due diligence.

 

United States

 

  1. Jayshal Sood, “USCIS Prepares to Double On-Site Visits to Detect H-1B Visa and L-1 Visa Frauds”, The American Bazaar, November 30, 2017
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing to double physical inspections on joblocations of H-1B and L-1 beneficiaries in FY 2018. The enhanced verification is being put in place due to recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General saying that USCIS “provides minimal assurance that H-1B visa participants are compliant and not engaged in fraudulent activity,” Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported.
  • “The FY 2018 goal for site visits would be doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 with the addition of a revamped targeted site visit program that started as a pilot in April 2017,” SHRM reported. “USCIS considers the new program to be a hybrid of random compliance visits and forcause visits based on detected fraud.”
  • Under the current administration, the immigration agency has specifically increased the site visits in cases where the agency is unable to verify employer’s information through commercially available data, or doubts that an employer is H1B dependent, or where the workers work from a third-party location.

 

  1. U.S. To Resume Visa Operations at Consulates in Russia, Months After Diplomatic Cuts”, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, December 4, 2017
  • In a statement on December 4, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said the consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok "will begin to offer limited interviews for nonimmigrant visas" on December 11. "As Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. has said, we want Russians to travel to the United States, experience our culture firsthand, study at our universities, and do business with U.S. companies," it said.
  • However, it said that visas services "will not return to the level we maintained prior to the Russian Federation's unwarranted demand that we dramatically reduce the number of personnel at the U.S. Embassy and our three consulates," and that the embassy and three consulates "continue to operate with a significantly reduced staff" and the limited operations were "an unfortunate consequence of Russia's decision."

 

  1. Beckie Strum, “Controversial Visa Program for Wealthy Gets Reprieve”, Mansion Global, December 8, 2017
  • U.S. lawmakers avoided a government shutdown late Thursday by passing a temporary budget through Dec. 22. Along with that was the extension of the EB5 visa program, which provides a path to citizenship for wealthy foreigners.
  • Efforts to reform the law have stalled over whether to direct more development funding to impoverished and rural areas. Looming over the industry is the fear that without legislative reform, USCIS, the government agency that oversees the program, will bypass Congress and institute regulations of its own—something lobbyists believe will be unfavorable to the industry.

 

ASIA

 

China

 

  1. Lee Jeong-yeon, “South Korea Offers Special Visa Waiver for Chinese Around PyeongChang Olympics”, The World on Arirang, December 11, 2017
  • Starting December 1st, through the end of next March, Chinese citizens meeting certain requirements will be able to visit the country visafree for 15 days. This is to accommodate those coming around the time of next year's PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
  • Some of these requirements are that applicant must be a Chinese citizen who's had a Korean visa issued in the last five years, with a record of traveling in and out of the country. He or she must also have a ticket for the Olympic Games purchased through a designated Chinese travel agency, and be a holder of a regular governmentissued Chinese passport.
  • Those who are approved and then come into and out of the country in accordance with the law will be granted 5year multiple-entry visas. The move is unprecedented for South Korea. Visa-free entry was never permitted for previous international events such as the World Cup in 2012 or the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

 

Malaysia

 

  1. Visa-Free Travel to Morocco for Malaysians”, The Star Online, December 1, 2017
  • Holders of all Malaysian diplomatic, official and ordinary passports will be able to visit Morocco for 90 days without the requirement of a visa beginning Dec 27.
  • Wisma Putra said in a statement that Malaysia and Morocco – located in North Africa – signed the Agreement of the Partial Abolition of Visa Requirement here on July 19 this year […].

 

Turkey

 

  1. EU Official: Visa-Free Travel for Turkish Citizens is Near”, Daily Sabah, November 28, 2017
  • European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said Monday that the visafree deal for Turkish citizens is nearly ready and the bloc is closely working with Ankara to solve remaining issues. "We want to herald in the visa-free deal for Turkish citizens soon. I am the person responsible for this process. We are near the end," he said at the 8th Bosporus Summit in Istanbul.
  • The EU official praised the Turkish hospitality that has welcomed millions of refugees into the country. "I would like, on behalf of the EU, to praise and commend Turkey once again for the tremendous hospitality it has shown toward these desperate people," he said. Avramopoulos said migration is not simply an Italian, Greek, Turkish or Syrian challenge but rather a global one.

 

  1. Menekse Tokyay, “Ankara Prepares New Roadmap for Visa-Free Travel to Europe”, Arab News, December 4, 2017
  • The roadmap document, prepared by the Foreign, Justice, EU and Interior Ministries of Turkey, will begin to be implemented after final approval from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It will be presented at the EU’s foreign ministers summit in Brussels on Dec. 12.
  • In March 2016, Turkey and the EU reached an agreement, known as the “refugee deal,” to stop illegal migrants crossing into Europe through Turkish territories, in exchange for financial aid for refugees and significant tradeoffs such as visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area as well as an acceleration in Turkey’s accession talks with the EU.
  • Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and was declared eligible in 1997. Accession talks began in 2005, but the negotiations have proceeded very slowly.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1. Visa on Arrival at Abu Dhabi Airport Within 30 Minutes”, Khaleej Times, November 27, 2017
  • Passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport can get tourist visas within 15 to 30 minutes, authorities have announced. A new visa counter has been launched at the airport to facilitate the visa application process for both transit and arriving passengers to the UAE capital. The new service, located at the Terminal 3 transit area at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), includes activation of the new fourday, or 96-hour, transit visa for all nationalities travelling through Abu Dhabi International Airport
  • The new counter will issue several types of mission and tourist visas available to travellers who do not fall under the current 'visa upon arrival' scheme. Passengers can now approach the visa counter in T3 to apply for, and obtain the relevant visa within a maximum 30 minutes. In addition, the visa counter is now issuing the new 96hour transit visa, which is a key part of Abu Dhabi's ongoing efforts to attract more visitors to the capital.
  • The Dh300 visa can be used by passengers with planned trips from Abu Dhabi, or with intermediate flights through Abu Dhabi en route to their destination if their layover exceeds four hours. The transit visa can be applied for both at the new visa counter on arrival, or through the online designated portal, provided passengers meet the application criteria. Travellers can also request to change their transit visa to a tourist visa at the airport if they are planning to extend their stay in the capital.

 

  1. Visa-Free Entry for Emiratis Visiting Solomon Islands”, Khaleej Times, November 29, 2017
  • Emiratis holding diplomatic, special and ordinary passports have been exempted from preentry visas to visit the Solomon Islands. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that the visa waiver became effective as of November 19, 2017, with UAE citizens travelling to the Solomon Islands able to stay for a period of up to 90 days.
  • Ahmed Al Dhaheri, Assistant UnderSecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry, said that the visa waiver decision was in line with the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed between the UAE and the Solomon Islands during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands, Milner Tozaka, to attend the International Participants Meeting, IPM, of Expo 2020 Dubai last October.

 

  1. Now, Visa-Free Entry for Emiratis Visiting Brazil”, Zawya, December 1, 2017
  • Emiratis holding ordinary passports can now travel to Brazil without a preentry visa. In a brief statement issued online, the UAE embassy in Brazil thanked the Brazilian Senate for ratifying a mutual exemption agreements, whereby grants visa-free entry to Brazilians - ordinary passport holders - in UAE and visa versa.
  • Earlier this year, both countries had exempted Emirati holders of diplomatic, special, official and service passport from visa requirements to enter Brazil. The visa waiver was signed by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

 

Vietnam

 

  1. Pham Du, “Australia, India Among 6 New Countries Eligible for e-Visa to Vietnam”, VN Express, December 2, 2017
  • Vietnam has extended its evisa application scheme for visitors from six more countries including major tourism markets Australia and India, raising the list of beneficiaries to 46. A government decision said the e-visa system is now also available for visitors from Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the U.A.E.
  • Among the new additions, Australians are the seventh biggest group of foreign arrivals to Vietnam and among the top spenders, while visitors from the other markets have grown strongly this year. Under the program, tourists will be able to apply online for 30day, single-entry e-visas by paying a non-refundable application fee online.
  • Visitors with evisas can touch down at any of Vietnam’s eight international airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai in Hanoi and Da Nang in the central region. They can also arrive via land at 13 international border gates, and via sea at seven ports across the country.

 

EUROPE

 

Armenia

 

  1. EU Envoy Says Armenia May Obtain Visa-Free Travel by 2020”, PanArmenian Net, November 28, 2017
  • The liberalization of the visa regime with the European Union may be concluded by 2020, head of the bloc's delegation to Armenia Piotr Switalski told reporters on Monday, November 27, Sputnik reports.
  • According to him, the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement signed on November 24 between Armenia and the EU clearly stipulates the conditions for liberalization of the visa regime. According to him, legal, administrative and institutional reforms requiring longterm commitment should be implemented for this purpose.

 

Belarus

 

  1. Belarus Ratifies Visa Waiver Agreement with Hong Kong”, Belarus Telegraph Agency, December 7, 2017
  • The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus ratified a visa waiver agreement between the Government of Belarus and the Government of Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, BelTA has learned.
  • The agreement was concluded through the exchange of notes in April 2017. In line with the document, citizens of the two countries with valid passports may visit, transit through or temporary stay on the territory of the other country without the need to obtain a visa. The length of each stay cannot exceed 14 days.

 

  1. Belarus Plans to Extend Visa-Free Program to 10 Days in 2018”, Belarus Telegraph Agency, December 8, 2017
  • The period of visafree travel to Belarus via the Minsk National Airport may be extended to 10 days in 2018, Alexander Ganevich, Deputy Head of the Central Consular Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the offsite session of the Permanent Commission of International Affairs of the House of Representatives in Mir on 8 December, BelTA informs.
  • When talking about visa liberalization, Alexander Ganevich voiced the plans to extend the visafree stay to 10 days for those arriving in Belarus via the Minsk National Airport, to 30 days for the duration of the 2019 European Games, and then to expand the program to cover all border checkpoints. The plan for the period up to 2021 is now being discussed by all stakeholders.

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Jill Tan Radovan, “Fancy Living in Europe? Try Citizenship by Investment”, Rappler, December 10, 2017
  • For entrepreneurs willing and able to invest abroad[…], there are quite a few other countries to consider and easier – and less timeconsuming – ways to gain residency and citizenship. Citizenship by investment is now a more viable option. Harvey Law Group, a multinational immigration and law firm with offices in various Asian countries including the Philippines, offers the citizenship by investment program to enterprising Filipinos.
  • One of the firm’s most successful programs is its citizenship by investment program for Cyprus, which requires investing in real estate property worth at least 2 million euros, exclusive of government fees. Cyprus citizenship by investment can be obtained in as little as 3 to 4 months. […].
  • “Cyprus is the gateway to Europe. Once you acquire a Cyprus passport, you automatically become an EU citizen. It means you also get to enjoy these amazing benefits of being an EU citizen like healthcare. It’s also a tax haven, with the lowest tax in the European Union at 12.5%. Compared to the UK at 17% and Spain at 35%. That’s the lowest,” Anne Reyes, Harvey Law Group Marketing Director, said in an interview with Rappler.
  • Harvey Law Group Managing Partner JeanFrancois Harvey shared: “Many of our clients are very happy with it because the Euro is still low, real estate is still very affordable so they can get a lot of real estate for 2 million euros. They can rent it out if they want income from it, while acquiring full European citizenship.”

 

Russia

 

  1. Russia to Extend Free e-Visa Program to All Far East Airports”, Asia Times, December 5, 2017
  • Russia is expanding its free electronic visa program to all airports in its vast Far East region to bolster tourism and attract business investment. The Ministry for the Development of the Far East has submitted a bill on the visa expansion to the national government, a copy of which has been reviewed by Asia Times.
  • Once the bill passes, which is expected this year, it would allow the evisa regime at all nine airports in the region. Currently, it is only available at the airport and port in Vladivostok. The system allows citizens of 18 countries to obtain a free visa online for travel to the Russian Far East. It has been operating in the Primorsky Krai region, the most populous of the Far East territories and where Vladivostok is located, since August this year. The visa issued on arrival allows stays of up to 8 days.
  • More than 3,000 people from 13 countries have entered Vladivostok with an evisa. Most are from China, with over 1,800 visitors, followed by those from Japan. Just over 5,000 people from all 18 countries have applied since the program began.
  • The countries whose citizens can use the evisa are: Brunei, India, China, North Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.

 

 

 

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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.