MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 17.04.2018

Apr 17,2018

AFRICA

 

Seychelles

 

  1. Daniel Laurence, “Citizens of Seychelles Exempted From Visa Requirements in Angola”, Seychelles News Agency, April 11, 2018
  • Seychelles is among 61 countries whose citizens have been exempted from visa requirements when travelling to Angola. According to the International Press, EIN News Desk, the information was released last week by the Director General of the Migration and Foreign Service of Angola, Gil Famoso da Silva. The new policy goes into effect April 30.
  • The countries which will benefit from the visa waiver include the 28 European Union states and all Portuguesespeaking countries. Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Singapore will also benefit from the new visa waiver. “The procedure will enable visitors to get, within 72 hours, a pre-visa that guarantees, on arrival in Angolan soil, the stay up to 30 days by the entrance and 90 days a year,” said the International Press.
  • Holders of Seychelles’ passport have the most powerful passport in Africa, a 2017 travel ranking reports revealed.

 

Swaziland

 

  1. India, Swaziland Sign 2 Agreements on Health, Visa Waiver”, Business Standard, April 9, 2018
  • India and Swaziland have signed two agreements in the field of Health and Medicine and Visa department on Monday. One of the agreement deals with granting of the visa waiver for the diplomats and officials holding relevant passports while the other is to ensure cooperation in the field of health and medicine.
  • The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on his maiden official visit to Swaziland as part of his threenation tour in Africa.

 

AMERICA

 

Antigua & Barbuda

 

  1. An Enticing Citizenship Destination”, World Finance, April 10, 2018
  • Having been established five years ago, the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) is still a relatively new entrant to the economic investment arena. Despite this, it has become very popular with investors, owing to its straightforward and transparent application process, fast turnaround and the quality of real estate offerings in Antigua and Barbuda.
  • The key benefit of Antigua and Barbuda as a choice for second citizenship is that it enables visafree access to more than 135 countries, including the UK, the Schengen Area, Hong Kong and Singapore. In addition, there are no restrictions on dual nationality, and applicants can receive citizenship for life once the residency requirement is met. Another key factor for many is that new citizens can add dependents after approval. The recent elimination of personal income tax makes it even more attractive.
  • Bolstered by generous government incentives, foreign investment has contributed to the rapid development of the economy, resulting in the country having one of the highest GDPs per capita in the subregion.

 

Canada

 

  1. Marjorie Carmona Newman, “Canada’s Permanent Residency Program for Caregivers to End In Nov. 2019”, ABS-CBN News, April 11, 2018
  • The recent announcement made by the Canadian government that it will no longer accept applications for permanent residency from caregivers by November 2019 has participants of the program in panic.
  • In response, Canada’s Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Department assured caregivers that there is and will always be a pathway for them to apply for permanent residency. In 2018, the federal government announced it targets to bring in some 310,000 new immigrants, including new caregivers and economic class workers. They also assured caregivers they will eliminate or reduce the backlog in the processing of permanent residency application.
  • Canadian immigration plans to announce its decision to either replace or make these programs permanent before they end in 2019.

 

  1. Gene Marks, “Canada’s Tech Companies are Benefiting From Tightening U.S. Immigration”, The Washington Post, April 12, 2018
  • Last year, technology companies in the Toronto region saw a spike in job applicants from abroad, thanks, in part, to stricter immigration rules in the United States and other countries. In a study of 55 tech companies with more than $1 million in revenue, 53 percent said they saw an increase in international applicants in 2017 compared with 2016.
  • The study by the MaRS Discovery District, an innovation hub that provides venture services, funding and facilities to startups in and around Toronto, said that 45 percent of those companies reported making international hires last year.
  • The Canadian government recently launched a new “global skills strategy” that includes expediting visas to attract more international talent. More than a third of the companies cited in the MaRS study said they participated in the government program, which enabled them to hire more workers from India, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom and … the United States.

 

  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Changes to Medical Inadmissibility Policy”, Government of Canada, April 16, 2018
  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has been reviewing all elements of the medical inadmissibility provisions. This included discussing possible policy changes with the provinces and territories at the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration in September 2017. Dialogue with the provinces and territories will continue in the coming months.
  • The upcoming policy changes (the removal of certain social services, such as special education, and an increase in the cost threshold) address the issue of inclusion, as they would mean that most people with disabilities would no longer be inadmissible.
  • By tripling the cost threshold, many applicants, particularly those with conditions that primarily require publicly funded prescription drugs (for example, HIV), would likely become admissible because the cost of most of these medications, particularly the generic brands, would not typically exceed the new cost threshold.

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

 

  1. St. Kitts and Nevis Offers the Most Trusted CBI Programme, PM Harris Tells International Developers”, ZIZ News, April 12, 2018
  • At a function held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit, Mr. Les Khan, and Prime Minister Harris launched the recently introduced Sustainable Growth Fund to a room filled with enthusiastic investors and developers in the Asian territory.
  • Through the Sustainable Growth Fund option, a single applicant will be required to make a contribution of US$150,000, inclusive of Government fees, while a family of up to four members will have to contribute US$195,000.
  • Prime Minister Harris added, “We have the oldest programme and we have the best programme available to you. Over the last 34 years, we have offered services that you can rely on, and the reliability of our programme is well known. After 34 years, we have become the oldest and the most trusted Citizenship by Investment Programme.”

 

  1. Range Developments Recognized for its Strong Contribution to St. Kitts and Nevis’ Economic Development” ZIZ News, April 13, 2018
  • Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris presented an award of appreciation to Range Developments for its continued contributions to the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme,[…].
  • In expressing his appreciation, Mr. Asaria stated, “This award is [in] recognition of years of hard work and dedication. We are the only developer in our sector to have completed a luxury hotel in the Caribbean through citizenship by investment and we are very touched by this acknowledgement from the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis. We look forward to many years of collaboration and completing our next project in St. Kitts in record time.”
  • Regarded as an international leader in the Citizenship by Investment industry, Range Developments is responsible for the establishment of the 126room Park Hyatt St. Kitts luxury resort at the South East Peninsula, which had its opening in November 2017.

 

St. Lucia

 

  1. PM: Saint Lucia has ‘Erred on the Side of Caution' in CIP”, St. Lucia Times, April 13, 2018
  • Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet has said that this country has erred on the side of caution in its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP). “I think it has been a learning curve for us, particularly in the processing,” Chastanet told reporters Thursday.
  • He disclosed that Saint Lucia has been working closely with regional security firms and third party firms to ensure that this country’s borders are protected. “As I have said, it is not just about the security of Saint Lucians, which is very high on our list, but it is also to give confidence to our neighbours – the French, the Dutch, the British, the Americans, the Canadians and the Europeans, that we recognise their border as our border” Chastanet asserted.
  • He said the entire CIP board is intended to be at ‘arms length’ away from the government.

 

United States

 

  1. Ann M. Simmons, “The Surest Path to a Green Card May Be An Investor Visa – At Least for Anybody with $500,000 to Spare”, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2018
  • At a time when obtaining legal residency in the U.S. is getting harder, the investor visa may be the surest way — at least for the rich.
  • More than 82% of applications in 2016 — the most recent year available with a breakdown by country — came from mainland China, according to data from immigration authorities. The 7% cap on any one nationality has led to a huge backlog of Chinese applicants. The next biggest applicant pools came from Vietnam, at 3% of the total, and India, at 2.7%. Those were up considerably from the previous year.
  • Though the investor visa is available only to the rich, some experts said that the Trump administration's moves to reduce legal immigration are only increasing its popularity in those countries.

 

ASIA

 

Japan

 

  1. Alex Martin, “Japan’s ¥1,000 Departure Tax: Diet Approves Law On Use of Revenue From Levy Set to Start in 2019”, The Japan Times, April 10, 2018
  • All travelers, both Japanese and nonJapanese, leaving the nation by plane or ship will face the fee as of January 7, 2019, under the first permanent levy to be introduced since the land value tax was established in 1992. Children under 2 years old and transit passengers who depart within 24 hours of arrival will be exempt.
  • The move comes amid a surge in inbound travelers. The nation attracted a record 28.69 million tourists in 2017, up 19.3 percent from the previous year and reflecting the sixth consecutive yearly increase.
  • Seeking to capitalize on one of the few growth sectors in the rapidly graying country, the government aims to use the extra funds to boost tourism infrastructure and promote travel destinations in rural Japan, as well as backing global tourism campaigns. According to the legislation, the government also plans to ask public transportation operators to expand free wireless internet services as well as electronic payment systems.

 

Jordan

 

  1. Elena Izyumova, “How Foreigners are Driving Prices Up in Jordan’s Property Market” Albawaba, April 15, 2018
  • In February 2018, Jordan approved a citizenshipfor-investment programme and additional provisions for granting residency to buyers of property above $282,000. Although Jordanian citizenship or residency will only be granted to 500 applicants per year, the government hopes that the new investment programme will stimulate foreign capital inflows.
  • According to the Department of Lands and Survey, foreign nationals bought 2,060 apartments and 715 land plots in Jordan in 2017. According to the Arab Weekly, major foreign investors include Iraqis, who spent $221.7 million on local property, Syrians ($114.3 million) and Saudi Arabians ($89.4 million).
  • According to estimates by Jordanian realtors, prices are beyond the reach of locals – a twobedroom apartment in a well-situated district of Amman costs about $170,000, while the average Jordanian salary as of March 2018 is $630 per month, according to Numbeo.

 

Thailand

 

  1. Canadian Law Firm Helps Thais Obtain Global Citizenship”, Bangkok Post, March 27, 2018
  • “Global citizenship is all about freedom of movement. That’s what it is. It is to permit people pretty much to go to where they want, when they want, and how they want,” says Mr. Bastien Trelcat, Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group, an immigration and business advisory law firm based in Empire Tower.
  • Thai passport holders can only travel visa free to 73 countries. For a Cyprus passport holder, 155 countries are within reach (Cyprus citizenship program starts at 2,000,000 Euros), or 127 countries for a St. Kitts & Nevis passport holder (starting at US$400,000).
  • Bastien says acquiring a second citizenship is no longer an issue of nationalism. “Acquiring a second passport is nothing against your nationality. It is 2018 and globalization is changing more than ever before”.

 

EUROPE

 

Armenia

 

  1. Visa Waiver Process Set to Launch With Ratification of EU-Armenia Deal”, PanArmenian, April 10, 2018
  • The launch of the process of visa liberalization with the European Union will begin with the ratification of the new deal between the bloc and Armenia, deputy foreign minister Karen Nazaryan said on Tuesday, April 10. According to him, the visa waiver is a commitment of two sides, and the European Union will provide Armenia with an action plan.
  • “The process envisages reforms. The Armenian side, however, did not wait for the action plan and instead undertook a number of legislative changes that will form part of the liberalization procedure,” the deputy minister said.

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Andria Kades, “Limassol Rent Rises Spiral Upwards”, Cyprus Property News, April 15, 2018
  • Rents in Limassol have gone up by around 25 per cent in under two years, way higher than other cities in Cyprus and leaving ordinary Limassolians increasingly priced out of the market. According to real estate consultant Antonis Loizou, an average two bedroom flat two years ago cost €400 a month. By 2017, it was averaging €460. It is now €500.
  • Contrary to other cities which attract foreigners, Limassol is an upmarket destination, Loizou added. “It isn’t like Protaras which has people visiting only for the summer,” Limassol is attracting people for more than just entertainment but work.
  • Also home to shipping companies, forex companies and international banks Limassol has attracted foreign nationals with a lot more cash in their pocket whose demand for a place to stay is bringing up prices, clashing with those on average Cypriot wages.
  • Limassol has also become a major magnet for those taking advantage of the citizenshipfor-investment scheme. This has had a knock-on effect on the rental market even though the main focus is property sales. “The passport scheme has 100 per cent contributed to the increased demand,” said Loizou.

 

Russia

 

  1. ’FAN ID’ Allows Visa-Free Travel to Any Russian Host City During Mundial Finals”, Sputnik, April 12, 2018
  • During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, foreign citizens with the FAN IDs will be allowed to travel visafree to Russian cities, which do not host football games, Andrey Chernenko, the head of strategic projects at the Russian Ministry of Communications and Media, said on Wednesday.
  • He also reminded that the FAN ID also allows foreign fans to arrive to Russia visafree ten days before the start of the tournament (June 4) and remain in Russia for ten days after the end of the tournament (July 25).
  • The FAN ID is a personalized card which is part of an identification system for football fans. Everyone who buys a ticket for any World Cup game has to obtain a FAN ID.

 

Turkey

 

  1. Zulfikar Dogan, “Turkey to Lower Price of Citizenship for Foreign Investors”, Al-Monitor, April 10, 2018
  • According to figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), foreigners bought more than 22,000 homes in Turkey in 2017, with Iraqis and Saudis topping the list. The latest TUIK data, released March 21, show that Iraqis remain on top of the list, buying 308 homes in February.
  • According to Central Bank data, the amount of foreign exchange that entered Turkey via realty purchases stood at $4.64 billion in January, an increase of only $750 million from $3.89 billion in January 2017, when the citizenship incentive took effect amid expectations that it would bring in at least $10 billion in foreign exchange.
  • The disappointing outcome has led the government to consider lowering the $1 million bar as part of other measures designed to boost foreign realty purchases. The planned amendments, part of an omnibus bill expected to be submitted to parliament in May, expand the citizenship entitlement to properties that are worth at least $300,000, along with other proposals to simplify red tape on title deeds and licenses.

 

  1. Yusuf Hatip, “Turkey, EU Visa Liberalization Talks Accelerate”, Andalou Agency, April 13, 2018
  • A delegation from the European Union is expected to visit Ankara this month to discuss visafree travel for Turkish citizens and convey Brussels’s views on the technical matters regarding remaining criteria.
  • Talks between Turkey and the EU accelerated after Ankara submitted the necessary paperwork regarding visafree travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area to the EU Commission in early February. EU Commission officials reviewed Ankara’s document on the remaining seven criteria, from a total of 72 that were determined by Brussels.
  • The EU delegation is expected to focus on Turkey's antiterrorism legislation, the deal with the European Police Service (Europol), and regulations on the protection of personal data.

 

Ukraine

 

  1. Ukraine to Sign Visa Waiver Agreement with Macedonia”, Ukrinform, April 11, 2018
  • Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin and Foreign Minister of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov have agreed to soon sign an agreement on visafree travel regime for citizens of both countries.
  • "We have agreed at the meetings in Macedonia to soon sign a visa waiver agreement – text is almost ready – and improve functioning of our FTA. In general, we have a common path to EU and NATO. So, we’ll work together," Klimkin wrote on Twitter.

 

  1. Ukrainians to Enjoy Visa-Free Travel to Uruguay Soon”, Kyiv Post, April 12, 2018
  • Director of the Department of Consular Service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Serhiy Pohoreltsev has reached an agreement on the introduction of visafree travel for citizens of Ukraine and Uruguay.
  • “After all necessary formalities needed for signing and entering a relevant bilateral agreement into force, Uruguay will become another country where Ukrainian citizens can travel to without visas,” the press service said.

 

  1. Ukraine is in Waiver Talks with Colombia”, Ukrinform, April 14, 2018
  • Serhiy Pohoreltsev, the Director of the Consular Service Department of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, held a meeting with Director for Consular and Migration Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of Colombia Luz Stella Portilla and Director of the European Department of the Foreign Ministry of Colombia Juan Guillermo Castro.
  • "The parties noted the need to intensify the efforts aimed at early signing of a bilateral agreement on the abolition of the visa requirements for citizens of Ukraine and Colombia," the press service of the Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry reports.

 

 

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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.