MEDIA

HLG Weekly Newsletter

May 29,2017
AMERICA
Antigua & Barbuda

1. ‘’Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda Hold Migration Talks’’, Prensa Latina, May 24th, 2017

  • Representatives of Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda develop today and tomorrow, in this capital, the Third Bilateral Round of Migration Talks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.
  • According to the report posted on Cubaminrex website, the event will promote the analysis of migratory issues of interest for both nations, as well as the search for mechanisms that contribute to the achievement of a regular, orderly and safe flow of people.

 

2. ‘’Tourism minister says investment push to continue’’, Antigua Observer, May 24th, 2017

  • Tourism, Economic Development and Investment Minister Asot Michael has told the Invest Caribbean 2017 Forum that efforts will continue apace to attract investment into the country and will include a review of the nation’s current incentive scheme.
  • “Antigua & Barbuda will re-position itself to attract significant levels of foreign investment by addressing several constraints. These constraints relate to the attractiveness of returns to potential investors, the adequacy of physical infrastructure, the level of demand for specific goods and services and the adequacy of export promotion efforts,” Michael said.
  • The minister said the government will be reviewing current incentives including: corporate tax reductions, tax holidays, investment tax credits, export incentives, customs duty exemptions, grants and other subsidies as well as behavioural incentives, such as fostering job growth, technology transfers, exports, linkages, and skills development.

 

3. Kieron Murdoch, ‘’CIP agents warned to be wary of Chinese with baggage’’, The Daily Observer, May 26th, 2017

  • A top executive at an international due diligence firm is warning agents of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) to be wary of Chinese applicants who are either on the run, or may soon be on the run from the law.
  • Vice Chairman and Global Head of Immigration Citizenship and Visa (ICV) Practice at Exiger Diligence, Kim Marsh, reminded the agents that the Government of China – Antigua’s largest market for citizenship – is “cracking down on corruption”.
  • When someone applies through the CIP, the agents who process their applications and the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) are required to carry out rigorous due diligence to verify facts such as identity, background, financial history, and sources of wealth, among other things.

 

Canada

4. ‘’Citizenship and Religion explored in Canada’’, Bahá’í World News Service, May 24th, 2017

  • As the people of Canada prepare to celebrate 150 years since the confederation of their country, there has been a wide-ranging national conversation about the past, present, and future of relations between its diverse citizens. One aspect of this discussion has been the changing role of religion and spirituality in society in the context of increasing religious and ethnic diversity and a resurgence of Indigenous culture and ways of life.
  • "As Canada has become more religiously diverse, there has been an expectation that the public sphere should be secular, that overtly religious perspectives should not have a place in public discourse. While the intention of that kind of secularism has historically been to ensure greater equality between religious groups in public life, many have expressed concern that it also constrains people from participating fully in the life of society," said Mr. [Geoffrey] Cameron.

 

5. Christopher Guly, ‘’Canada moves closer to enacting Magnitsky law’’, The Ukrainian Weekly, May 29th, 2017

  • Canada is closer to enacting Magnitsky-style legislation after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, a Ukrainian Canadian, announced last week that the Liberal government would support a bill sponsored by Ukrainian Canadian Conservative Sen. Raynell Andreychuk that targets global human rights abuses and foreign corruption.
  • Bill S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) that Sen. Andreychuk introduced in the upper chamber last May, would freeze assets and impose travel bans on foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
  • The private member’s bill is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who uncovered the largest tax-refund fraud in Russian history that unwittingly involved Hermitage Capital Management, a company run by Chicago-born, hedge-fund manager Bill Browder.

 

Dominica

6. Benjamin Parker, ‘’Senator: Dominica opposition ‘have no clue’ on successful CBI programme’’, WIC News, May 25th, 2017

  • The official opposition in Dominica were criticised in the House of Assembly yesterday, with one government senator accusing them of spending the whole year attacking the island’s citizenship by investment (CBI) programme.
  • And after barbs were aimed at the opposition United Workers’ Party leader, Lennox Linton, he appealed to the Speaker for a withdrawal.
  • In a debate over the latest supplementary appropriation, Senator Jahisiah Benoit said that of the approximately $150 million dollars in the budget, almost $50 million had been allocated to the country’s CBI programme. This money was a “necessary investment”, he added, and later explained the importance to reinvesting each year the successful scheme continues.

 

Grenada

7. Sir Ronald Sanders, ‘’Commentary: Competition for benefits of second citizenship is global’’, Caribbean News Now, May 26th, 2017

  • Citizenship by investment programmes (CIPs) in the Caribbean have been the subject of much criticism, even though the financial and economic benefits of the programmes are undeniable. These programmes are operated by: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis and St Lucia.
  • All the countries in the Caribbean should follow this pattern; by doing so, they would strengthen the confidence of other nations in the integrity of their system and give those nations comfort in not applying visa requirements.
  • In this way, the value of CIPs to Caribbean economies will endure and their native people will have reassurance in the worth of their own passports.

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

8. ‘’CBI Programme Is Integral To Long-Term Development Of St. Kitts And Nevis, PM Harris Says’’, ZIZ, May 25th, 2017

  • (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) –Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris says the Team Unity-led Government views the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) as an integral part of the long-term development of St. Kitts and Nevis that will “bring benefits to the next generation for another 30 years.”
  • Prime Minister Harris said this is why his Government continues to make significant investments in the citizenship programme. Such investments include the introduction of a 24/7 case management system that allows for round-the-clock, real-time monitoring of the status of CBI applications.
  • “We are therefore concerned about sustainability, and so we have identified a number of areas that would be of legacy value to the generation after us,” Dr. Harris added.

 

United States

9. Nicole Gaouette and Laura Jarrett, ‘’Trump admin gives embassies broad new discretion to limit travelers’’, CNN, May 26th, 2017

  • The Trump administration has approved intensified screening measures for visa applicants trying to reach the US, even as multiple federal courts have blocked its travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries.
  • The State Department released new guidance to embassies worldwide on Thursday -- the same day a federal appeals court upheld an indefinite freeze on President Donald Trump's travel ban, which sought to temporarily block people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.
  • The new measures, approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget May 23, give consular officers broad discretion to apply stricter criteria to certain applicants, demanding more background material than required of typical applicants about their families, where they've lived and worked, and their social media use, among other things.

 

10. Alfonso Chardy, ‘’Citizenship applications on the rise since Trump's election’’, Miami Herald, May 28th, 2017

  • When candidate Donald Trump promised to deport the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the country, if elected president, few believed him.
  • But that changed drastically when Trump indeed won the presidency in November. Though he has since scaled down his deportation threat, limiting it to two or three million people, Trump’s original promise spread fear among foreign nationals, prompting many to seek citizenship — the only guarantee against expulsion.
  • Now, figures compiled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seem to bear out the conclusion that more permanent residents are applying for citizenship. In fiscal year 2015, for example, about 782,975 citizenship applications were filed. That number went up to almost one million last fiscal year when it looked like Trump was becoming a serious candidate and riding high on his deportation threats.

 

11. Jason Zuckerman and Matthew Stock, ‘’How to Report EB-5 Visa Fraud and Earn an SEC Whistleblower Award’’, The National Law Review, May 28th, 2017

  • The EB-5 investment program, also affectionately known as the EB-5 visa-for-investment program, has experienced a dramatic increase in fraud and misrepresentation in EB-5 advertisements, EB-5 regional centers, and EB-5 projects.
  • Under the SEC Whistleblower Program, whistleblowers are eligible to receive a reward for providing the SEC with original information about securities fraud, including EB-5 fraud. If the SEC uses a whistleblower’s information to bring a successful enforcement action, the whistleblower is eligible to receive 10% to 30% of the monetary sanctions collected as an award.
  • The alert also details common misconceptions about the program, including that “the fact that a business is designated as a regional center by USCIS does not mean that USCIS, the SEC, or any other government agency has approved the investments offered by the business, or has otherwise expressed a view on the quality of the investment.” 

 

Panama

12. ‘’Panama to Crack Down on Immigration, Colombians and Venezuelans’’, Tele Sur, May 27th, 2017

  • After rises in immigration from both Colombia and Venezuela, some groups blame the immigrants for crime and drug trafficking through the isthmus.
  • Panama's government, under President Juan Carlos Varela, announced a plan on Friday to crack down on immigration policies, placing greater restrictions on Venezuelans, Colombians, and Nicaraguans entering the isthmus nation.
  • "The measure is going to be focused in reducing the permit to stay for tourists from 180 to 90 days and ensure that those people have the income to certify that they are entering the country as such," President Juan Carlos Varela told reporters Friday.

 

ASIA
Myanmar

13. Kali Kotoski, ‘’Single-visa initiative puts Myanmar flights on course’’, The Phnom Penh Post, May 23rd, 2017

  • Myanmar's Ministry of Tourism is pushing forward with the implementation of a “two countries, one destination” campaign that hinges on establishing direct flights between the historic cities of Bagan and Siem Reap.
  • The campaign’s single-visa programme would allow tourists holding either a Myanmar or Cambodia visa to travel directly between the two countries without the need for applying for separate visas at their respective embassies, according to a report yesterday in the Myanmar Times.
  • While tourists could visit both countries with a single visa, Daw Khin Than Win, deputy director general of Myanmar’s Ministry of Tourism, said that linking the two cities was a top priority before an agreement could be finalised.

 

Philippines

14. Christina Mendez, ‘’Chinese visa applications to Philippines up 200%’’, The Philippine Star, May 19th, 2017

  • Following the shift in President Duterte’s foreign policy to align with China, the Philippine embassy noted a 200-percent increase in visa applications for tourism and business to the Philippines.
  • Ambassador Jose Santiago Sta. Romana pointed out that there was a big decline in the number of Chinese tourists wanting to visit the country “before we resolved the underlying issues in the South China Sea,” but things have changed since.
  • On recommendation of their central government, Chinese travel agencies have started booking tours to the Philippines and China now has a big demand for tourist and business visas, Sta. Romana said

 

Singapore

15. ‘’20,000 new citizens per year – are some only gaming our lax immigration policy for personal profit?’’, The  Independent, May 28th, 2017

  • The people who come must be able to integrate into society, have the abilities and skills to contribute to the economy, he said. He also added that they must have their “hearts in the right place”.
  • Addressing the new citizens at the ceremony, he said, “When you take up Singapore citizenship, you are not just becoming a resident of this island or a worker. You are committing your loyalty to Singapore, pledging yourself to fulfill the responsibilities of a citizen.”

 

16. ‘’Singapore must manage inflow of new immigrants carefully: PM Lee Hsien Loong’’, The Straits Times, May 28th, 2017

  • Singapore takes in new immigrants to keep population numbers steady, but must manage the inflow carefully, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
  • "When you take up Singapore citizenship, you are not just becoming a resident of this island or a worker. You are committing your loyalty to Singapore, pledging yourself to fulfil the responsibilities of a citizen," he said as he congratulated them.
  • "You have chosen to take up Singapore citizenship because you believe in Singapore and identify yourself with what Singapore stands for - a harmonious multiracial, multi-religious country, a fair and just society where people have opportunities to succeed if they work hard, (and) a cohesive community where Singaporeans care for one another and help one another succeed."

 

Vietnam

17. ‘’Tourism industry wants visa waiver for five European countries extended’’, Vietnam Net, May 25th, 2017

  • The HCM City Tourism Association has urged the Government to extend the visa waiver for tourists from five Western European countries -- France, Italy, Germany, the UK, and Spain.
  • But it should be extended by five years to June 30, 2022, she said. The visa-free policy should be for five years instead of one to enable travel firms to organise promotion and marketing campaigns in the five markets, she told a meeting with the city People’s Council on Tuesday (May 23).
  • Besides, the maximum stay per entry for these tourists should be doubled to 30 days, [Nguyen Thi Khanh, deputy chairwoman of the association,] said.

 

Europe

18. Constance Renton, ‘’US Visa-Free Travel Ride in Europe Over’’, Morocco World News, May 28th, 2017

  • Ending a dispute that began three years ago, the European Union has voted to rescind visa-free travel to European Union member countries for Americans.
  • It was discovered in 2014 that five countries including the US, Australia, Japan, Brunei and Canada, were not honouring their reciprocity agreements with EU members regarding visa-free travel. Since then, each of these countries has either rectified the situation or is about to do so. All that is, except the US.
  • The non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament (EP) is in direct retaliation for the fact that the US has, to date, refused to budge on the matter. Currently US citizens can travel amid the EU’s 28 member countries unencumbered by the need for a travel visa. Citizens of 5 EU countries, however, do not have that luxury themselves. These include Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Cyprus and Poland.

 

United Kingdom

19. Lynn Davidson, ‘’MIGRANTS 'TO SOAR' Immigration levels could soar again if Jeremy Corbyn wins the General Election, watchdog warns’’, The Sun, May 29th, 2017

  • Chairman Lord Green of Deddington slammed the party for failing to commit to slashing immigration even proposing measures “likely to increase” the number of people coming here.
  • He said despite Labour accepting the end of freedom of movement of people post Brexit, scrapping the minimum income threshold for spouses and partners would add to numbers and was open to abuse.
  • The campaign group, which calls for tighter immigration controls, also blasted the Tories – for pledging to cut net migration to tens of thousands – but with no deadline for it.

 

Oceania
Australia

20. Jackson Gothe-Snape, ‘’Boom in service jobs prompts tougher English test for Australian citizenship’’, SBS, May 23rd, 2017

  • An English test for Australian citizenship is needed because the economy has skewed towards service-based, communication-focused occupations, according to the government’s spokesman for multicultural affairs.
  • Assisting Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja - the son of Croatian migrants - said his government was always looking for ways to improve Australia’s successful policies of multiculturalism, and English is more important now than it was when his parents arrived.
  • “It is much harder if you came to Australia now, and if you don’t have functional English and that continues, it will be much harder for you to get good jobs, the kind of jobs we all want to strive for and see in our community, than may have been the case 40 or 50 years ago.”

 

 

21. Helen Burggraf, ‘’Report: More non-Australian workers eyeing Australia’’, International Investment, May 26th, 2017

  • Political and economic uncertainty in the US and UK is resulting in a shift away from these countries on the part of expat job seekers, in favour of Australia, Canada and Asia, according to data from Indeed, a US-based, global jobs listing company. 
  • With respect to Australia, the data shows that in the four months to the end of April, there has been a 30% increase in the overall number of overseas job seekers looking for roles Down Under, compared with the same period last year.
  • Interest from foreigners was stronger than interest among Aussies in jobs involving or requiring skills in software technology, science, medical technology, certain areas of engineering as well as engineering generally; finance, accounting, medicine, nursing, dentistry, project work and marketing.

 

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.