MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 29.05.2018

Jun 04,2018

AFRICA

 

Ethiopia

 

  1. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Ethiopia PM Hints of Visa-Free Entry for All Africans”, Africa News, May 27, 2018
  • “The President invited all Africans to travel to Rwanda without visas, we will follow you very soon,” these are the words of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a state banquet for Paul Kagame last Friday. The idea as and when it is implemented will further open up Ethiopia to African visitors and help boost the country’s tourism potential and in the long run its economy.
  • “President Kagame is not only the President of Rwanda but he is also leading the continent in great, wise and miraculous ways of transforming the continent and economic integration, as well as realising the vision of our forefathers,” Abiy added.
  • Starting January 1, 2018, Rwanda announced a global visa free entry for travelers from everywhere in the world.

 

AMERICA

 

Grenada

 

  1. IMF Says Grenada’s Economy Grew By Nearly Five Percent in 2017”, Nation News, May 23, 2018
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Monday said the Grenada economy grew by 4.5 per cent last year, driven by strong activity in construction, tourism, and education sectors.
  • The IMF said the 2017 current account deficit increased by 3.5 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) to 6¾ per cent of GDP, reflecting rapid import growth. The Washingtonbased financial institution said that foreign direct investment (FDI) is estimated at 8.5 per cent of GDP, driven by tourism and proceeds from the Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) programme.
  • The IMF said that the fiscal situation improved further in 2017, with the government over performing the targets of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL). It said the primary surplus increased to 5.75 per cent of GDP supported by buoyant tax revenues due to the strong economy, improved tax administration, and better compliance. Recurrent spending was contained, while targeted social spending was, appropriately, increased.

 

United States

 

  1. Harvey Law Group Offers Investment Opportunity with Launch of Tommie Hotel Hollywood”, Business Mirror, May 27, 2018
  • The 212room Tommie Hotel Hollywood has started construction in the first quarter of 2018, constructed by The Relevant Group, one of LA’s largest independent real-estate developer, known for its renown developments along the famous Hollywood strip, such Thompson Hotel, Tommie Hotel, TAO Group (Hotel & Restaurant), Avenue Club, Beaty & Essex Hollywood and Dream Hotel.
  • “By investing $500,000 in Tommie Hotel Hollywood, investors can expect to receive their US green card and settle anywhere in the US in less than two years to pursue business, financial, and personal opportunities in a country where politics and the economy may be more stable than their country of origin.” comments Bastien Trelcat, managing partner (SouthEast Asia) for Harvey Law Group.
  • “Investors willing to settle to the US under the EB5 Program should consider Tommie Hotel now since the EB-5 program at $500,000 should end on September 30 this year following which the minimum investment amount is expected to double” Trelcat concluded.

 

ASIA


Kuwait

 

  1. Old Kuwaiti Passports Will Expire on June 30 – Don’t Travel After Expiry”, Arab Times, May 28, 2018
  • The old Kuwaiti passports expire on June 30, 2018, and those who still hold these passports beyond that date may be stopped at the border points and prevented from travelling, reports AlRai daily. The daily added, the holders of these passports will not be permitted to travel to another country even if they have a visa.
  • [T]he Assistant Undersecretary for Nationality and Passports Affairs, at the Ministry of Interior, MajorGeneral Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah, said the Foreign Ministry has issued instructions to Kuwaiti embassies abroad to inform Kuwaitis not to travel on old passport. The ministry said if the visas are issued on the strength of old passports, they will be automatically cancelled.

 

EUROPE

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Helena Smith, “Cyprus to Step Up Security Checks in Cash-for-Citizenship Scheme”, The Guardian, May 23, 2018
  • Under the renamed “Cypriot investment scheme” the number of passports granted would be capped at 700. “A limit has been put in place and a new code of conduct adopted to send the message that this is not an industry,” the government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.
  • Under the new rules, applicants will be subjected to a process of enhanced due diligence. International agencies specialised in money laundering will also be deployed to examine requests under a procedure expected to take much longer than the initial three months.
  • “We reject the notion that the Cyprus passport is up for sale,” [the island’s finance minister, Harris Georgiades] told the state radio station RIK. “We don’t depend on this scheme but it’s a useful complement to the tools we have to stimulate economic development.”

 

  1. Sun, Sea, Sand, and Citizenship: Why Cyprus’s Property Market is Booming”, The Telegraph, May 24, 2018
  • “Things are definitely better, the economy has improved,” says Nigel Howarth, editor of the website Cyprus Property News. “Cyprus is considered a safe destination, and so it does well with tourism.” This optimism is most visible in the property market, which has spawned a remarkable number of new residential projects; prices of apartments rose by 7.4 per cent over the past year.
  • This influx has been boosted by the government offering a socalled “golden visa”. In return for a property purchase of €300,000 (£264,000), buyers can get residency; for €2 million, and an obligation not to sell for three years, non-EU citizens qualify for an EU passport. The scheme has been popular, attracting around €4 billion worth of investment since 2013.
  • Another draw for nonnationals is ­Cyprus’s beneficial tax system. The first €19,500 of earned annual income is tax-free, and pensions above €3,450 are taxed at five per cent.

 

Georgia

 

  1. Georgian Government Seeks to Simplify Procedures for Dual Citizenship for Georgians Living Abroad”, Agenda.ge, May 27, 2018
  • President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has asked the parliament to simplify the dual citizenship procedure and make it more liberal in the country’s legislation."The Georgian parliament is working on dual citizenship legislation currently and I would welcome if it will be approved as soon as possible,” Giorgi Margvelashvili said explaining that the current procedures needed for becoming a dual citizen makes the process slower.”
  • On the other hand, the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze said that Georgia needs to find a new form through which Georgian people living abroad will have more possibilities to be involved in the legislative process of the country.
  • "Currently we are working on a draft law which will appropriately specify this constitutional record,” Kobakhidze explained adding that another draft law about the higher education discussed currently by the Georgian parliament envisages financing the study in Georgia for Georgians living abroad and carrying the citizenship of another country.

 

Germany

 

  1. Brexit Causes Record Number of Britons to be Granted German Citizenship”, Deutsche Welle, May 23, 2018
  • For the second year running, a record number of Britons became German citizens, the German Federal Statistical Office reported on Wednesday. The consecutive records have been linked to Britain's upcoming departure from the European Union. "A link with the upcoming Brexit is obvious,” Germany's statistics office Destatis said.
  • About 7,500 Britons were granted German citizenship in 2017 —more than double the record set in the previous year. The 2017 figure eclipses the 2015 number, when 622 prereferendum Britons gained German citizenship.
  • The largest contingent of foreign naturalizations came from Turkey (14,984), followed by Britain (7,500), Poland (6,613), Italy (4,256) and Romania (4,238).

 

  1. Rene Wagner, “More British Companies Investing in Germany Ahead of Brexit”, Reuters, May 24, 2018
  • A record number of British businesses invested in Germany last year to help them to cope with the looming effects of Brexit, a study by a German government agency showed on Thursday, with the trend set to continue. Some 152 firms moved from Britain to Germany last year, up more than 20 percent on 2016, the Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) agency said.
  • GTAI said that an increasing number of companies are making enquiries about Germany and it expects investment growth to continue. “The most exciting question is whether more production will be shifted from Britain to the continent,” said GTAI’s Iris Kirsch. So far, most investment has been made in the financial and services sectors, plus IT and software businesses.
  • A record number of Britons were granted German citizenship last year, the Statistics Office said on Wednesday, citing the potential of Brexit to limit freedom of movement.

 

Ireland

 

  1. Anne Lucey, “Language Test May Be Needed for Citizenship”, Irish Examiner, May 22, 2018
  • A language test for new applicants for Irish citizenship is under consideration, a senior Department of Justice official said in Killarney, Co Kerry, where more than 3,500 people from more than 160 countries officially became Irish citizens. Currently Ireland does not require new citizens to be proficient in either English or Irish and it is not decided if new requirements will stipulate either language.
  • The test which is at the early stages of discussion, would be introduced in the interests of better integration said assistant principal in the department Raymond Murray, as some people who have been residents for five years still were unable to speak English, “The language test would be introduced on the basis of trying to ensure successful integration,” he said.

 

Malta

 

  1. 93% of Maltese Think Country Benefitted from EU Membership”, Times of Malta, May 23, 2018
  • A huge majority of people in Malta said the country benefitted from EU membership, and support is growing rapidly: at three times the EU average. The latest Eurobarometer survey, published on Wednesday, one year ahead of the European elections in May 2019, confirms citizens’ steadily growing support for the European Union.
  • The survey reveals that on average 60 per cent of citizens believe that EU membership of their country is a good thing while over twothirds of respondents are convinced that their country has benefited from being a member of the EU. This is the highest score ever measured since 1983.

 

Russia

 

  1. Russia, Cuba Agree to Extend Visa-Free Trips to 90 Days”, TASS, May 22, 2018
  • Moscow and Havana have agreed to extend visafree stay for each other’s nationals from 30 to 90 days.
  • An agreement to this effect was signed on Tuesday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Cuban Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Economy and Planning Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz.
  • The new simplified visa formalities will be applicable to holders of all passport categories.

 

  1. Russian Parliament Passes Law Specifying ‘Foreign Investment’”, TASS, May 24, 2018
  • The lower house of Russia’s parliament has passed a governmentinitiated bill in its third and final reading, which specifies the definitions of a "foreign investor" and "foreign investment." The law excludes foreign corporate entities or organizations that are corporate entities controlled by Russian corporate entities or citizens from the definition of a ‘foreign investor.’ Also, foreign citizens that concurrently hold the Russian citizenship cannot be regarded as foreign investors.
  • Also, the bill alters the definition of ‘foreign investment,’ defining it as an independent and direct investment of a foreign investor’s own funds. This norm will allow ruling out the instances of investment activity through trust management or other trust institutions, the explanatory note to the document says.

 

  1. Russian Residents of Disputed Islands Make First Visa-Free Trip to Japan This Year”, The Japan Times, May 24, 2018
  • Around 60 Russian residents of disputed islands off Hokkaido arrived Thursday in Nemuro on the first visafree tour of 2018 under a bilateral exchange program. According to the tour organizer, participants — including teenage students and teachers from the islands, which are claimed by Japan — are scheduled to visit Hiroshima Prefecture, where they will meet with local students.
  • The visafree program began in 1992 as part of efforts to promote relations between present and former residents of the disputed islands and deepen mutual understanding.
  • Tokyo and Moscow are locked in a longstanding dispute over the sovereignty of the islands off Hokkaido — Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group — which were seized by the Soviet Union following Japan’s surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. The dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.

 

Turkey

 

  1. Viliyana Filipova, “Foreigners Have Bought Turkish Property for Nearly 42 Billion USD in the Last 15 Years”, Finance Apprise, May 25, 2018
  • The foreigners have bought real estate worth nearly 42 billion USD in Turkey between 2003 and 2017, according to the Fuzul Group. The increase in revenue generated by the sale of property to foreigners has attracted attention, especially after the entry into force of the law on reciprocity. It allowed the citizens of 129 countries to acquire property in Turkey and the residents of 50 other countries to buy on a mild basis.
  • In the first three months of 2018, the sales of property to foreigners increased by 20% over the same period in 2017, Faruk Akbal [president of Nevita International, which was established by Fuzul Group to sell property to foreigners] notes, adding that although sales volumes appear small, lowering the floor for real estate investments the acquisition of Turkish citizenship will lead to a significant increase in sales. According to Akbal, the foreigners prefer to invest in properties worth between 100,000 USD and 300,000 USD.
  • Iraqi citizens are the most active buyers of Turkish property among foreigners with 337 homes purchased, followed by Saudis with 252, Iranians with 138, Kuwait with 116 and Russians with 112.

 

  1. EU Delegation to Visit Ankara Over Visa Waiver on May 31”, Daily Sabah, May 27, 2018
  • The European Union Commission will send a delegation to Turkey on May 31 to discuss visa exemption criteria that did not meet EU standards. According to a news report published yesterday, the EU delegation will be chaired by Simon Mordue, EU Commission Deputy DirectorGeneral for Migration and Internal Affairs.
  • Among the proposals subject to negotiation, the terrorism laws, which are a problem between Turkey and EU, will be discussed again. Another topic with the potential to create problems is the protection of private data. Other criteria to be discussed are the signing of an operational cooperation agreement with the EU police organization Europol, the fight against corruption, cooperation in criminal matters and the Readmission Agreement.
  • The issue of EUcompatible passports is expecting to be lifted after Turkey's attempts to reform passports. According to reports, the seven criteria that did not meet EU standards will decrease to six after the Turkish passport reform.

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Sarah Marsh & Jamie Grierson, “Windrush Citizenship Applications to be Fast-Tracked and Free”, The Guardian, May 24, 2018
  • Sajid Javid, the home secretary, has announced new legislation to allow Windrush citizens to have their British citizenship applications processed faster and free of charge – but the scheme was met with criticism over a lack of right to appeal. Delivering the news in a written statement to the Commons, Javid said the scheme would allow Windrush citizens to apply to become British citizens more easily. It will come into force on Wednesday.
  • He said the legislation meant the government could start processing citizenship applications for the Windrush generation free of charge. There would also be free citizenship applications for children of the Windrush generation who joined their parents in the UK before they turned 18.
  • Those applying for citizenship under the scheme will need to meet the good character requirements in place for all British citizenship applications but will not need to take the knowledge of language and life in the UK test or attend a citizenship ceremony.
  • The government said the scheme would also cover members of the Windrush generation who were looking to return to the UK having spent recent years back in their home countries.

 

OCEANIA

 

Australia

 

  1. Lauren McMah, “Glasses to be Banned From New Passport Photos”, News.com.au, May 25, 2018
  • People who wear glasses will have to ditch their specs in new passport photos taken from July 1 under new Australian Government rules. The new rule “further strengthens the integrity of the Australian passport”, the Australian Passport Office said.
  • The new rule applies only to new passport applications. Severe sensitivity to light and recent eye surgery may be among the rare exemptions to the new rule, the department said. Vision impairment alone will not be accepted a reason for medical exemption, however.

 

Fiji

 

  1. Aqela Susu, “3800 Foreigners Granted Fiji Citizenship”, The Fiji Times, May 23, 2018
  • More than 3800 foreign nationals were granted Fijian citizenships between October 2014 and February this year. Responding to a written question by Opposition MP Parmod Chand on the number of foreign nationals, who have obtained Fijian passports since October 2014, the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Voreqe Bainimarama, said these foreign nationals had gone through the registration and naturalisation processes to be granted Fijian citizenship, which qualified them to apply and be issued with Fijian passports.
  • “Since October 2014 to February 2018, a total of 3815 foreign nationals were granted with Fiji Citizenship,” Mr Bainimarama said. “The top five nationalities recorded were from Australia (1140), New Zealand (591), Stateless — children of Fiji citizens born abroad (585), US (334) and China (242).”

 

New Zealand

 

  1. Tom Furley, “Why More Employers Are Bringing Skilled Migrants to NZ”, Radio New Zealand, May 23, 2018
  • More employers are getting the green light to bring in skilled migrants, bypassing previous requirements to seek New Zealanders first. In the 20162017 financial year 716 were given clearance to do so but that's increased more than 25 percent to 899 so far this financial year.
  • Employers who regularly recruit skilled overseas staff can apply to become accredited allowing them to employ migrants on talent visas. To do this they must meet criteria around their financial position, workplace practises, and have demonstrated a commitment to training and employing New Zealanders.

 

  1. Incentives for Chinese Tourists Boost Visitor Numbers”, Newsroom, May 24, 2018
  • Statistics NZ figures this week showed the number of Chinese arrivals rose 11 percent to almost 445,000 in the year ended April 30, accelerating from an annual increase of just 2.6 percent a year earlier. Chinese visitor numbers have climbed at an average annual rate of 18 percent since April 2012.
  • Immigration New Zealand tourism sector relationship manager Andrew Johns said Chinese tourist numbers have increased significantly in recent years, as a series of new policies have made it easier for Chinese nationals to visit New Zealand. That includes a visa initiative with Bank of China and a major Amway China incentive scheme.

 

  1. Gill Bonnett, “NZ Tourist Visas for Chinese Bank’s Clients Fast-Tracked”, Radio New Zealand, May 25, 2018
  • More than half of some Bank of China clients who applied for a tourist visa had it approved within one business day in the past two years, after an agreement to fasttrack them.
  • Immigration New Zealand introduced a streamlined visa process for the banks' Private Banking or Prestigious Wealth Management clients who applied for New Zealand tourist visas over the past two years. It has since also signed a similar deal with China UnionPay for its Platinum or Diamond credit card holders.
  • The Bank of China said the streamlined applications had cut visa processing times by at least half, from 15 days to fewer than five days, and in the past year, more than half of its clients that had applied for tourist visas, had them approved within one business day.
  • Under the agreement, those travellers no longer needed to provide evidence of onward travel from New Zealand or their financial employment status.

 

 

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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.