South African Development Community
- “SADC Edges to Visa-Free Regime”, Bulawayo24 News, August 19, 2018
- The Southern African Development Community is expediting negotiations for creation of a visafree region, it has been learnt. Briefing the media after the conclusion of the Sadc Council of Ministers here meeting last week, Namibia's Minister of International Relations and Co-operation said significant progress had been made in this regard.
- The regional bloc commended member states that have begun operationalising bilateral visa exemptions, while encouraging those that have not done so to quicken negotiations and report on progress at the next Summit of Heads and State and Government.
- Michael Chawe, “Visa-Free Travel for Angola, Zambia Citizens Begins”, The East African, August 15, 2018
- Angolan and Zambian citizens no longer need visas to travel between the two countries after the visa waiver came to effect on Thursday. “We have abolished visa requirements for diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders in the two countries,” Angola’s ambassador to Zambia, Balbina da Silva, told journalists in Lusaka.
- Citizens of the two neighbouring countries can travel without a visa restrictions for a period of 30 days, said the envoy. However, to reside, work, study or seek medical care in any of the countries, the citizens will need to apply for a permit.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “Canada’s Immigration System Continues to Innovate and Deliver Better Service”, Government of Canada, August 13, 2018
- IRCC has been able to reduce backlogs significantly and make family reunification a priority, thanks to a historic multiyear immigration levels plan. For example, the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP) inventory was reduced from a high of 62,000 in May 2014, to less than 12,000 by April 2018.
- IRCC also recently began using an improved method to estimate processing times for some new permanent residence applications.
- We also made changes to the Citizenship Act that give more flexibility to citizenship applicants to meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship and encourage more immigrants to take the path to citizenship.
- This year we also helped workers and students. In June we celebrated the successful first year of the Global Skills Strategy, which has supported Canada’s economy and benefited 10,000 highly skilled workers and more than 100 employers. We also launched the Student Direct Stream to help students from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam get their study permits faster.
- “Ecuador Eliminates Passport Requirements for Venezuelan Kids, Teens”, Latin American Herald Tribune, August 20, 2018
- Ecuador has provisionally eliminated the passport requirement for Venezuelan children and teenagers who arrive in this country with their parents or guardians, provided the latter are carrying their own passports, the Ecuadorian Ombudsman’s Office told EFE on Sunday.
- The parents must be able to prove their relationship with the youngsters accompanying them using “valid documents,” including original birth certificates or certified copies of same. It will also be a requirement for children and teens who arrive in the company of a guardian that the latter must “conclusively prove the ... guardianship via valid documents in accord with international treaties, rules and regulations governing the matter,” the statement said.
- “Saint Lucia CIP Blacklists Iran”, St. Lucia Times, August 14, 2018
- The Citizenship by Investment Unit of Saint Lucia has announced that applications from in and out of Iran will not be accepted under the citizenship by investment scheme. A statement from the unit indicated that the decision was linked to due diligence providers being unable to validate documents from Iran.
- “This ban applies to Iranians living in and out of Iran, including residents of other countries,” the statement said.
- “Uruguay to Open Consulate General in Mongolia Soon”, Xinhua, August 18, 2018
- Uruguay is planning to open a consulate general in Mongolia soon in a bid to promote bilateral ties, especially tourism exchanges, the Mongolian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday.
- The agreement was reached on Friday between State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Damdinsuren Davaasuren, and a visiting Uruguayan delegation led by Fernando Cabral, head of the International Economic Cooperation Department at Uruguay's Foreign Ministry.
- The two countries signed a visafree agreement in April allowing for 30-day visa-free travel for visitors from each other's countries, which came into force on June 1.
- “Malaysia to Give Citizenship to Over 3,400 Permanent Residents of Indian Origin”, Little India, August 18, 2018
- Over 3,000 people of Indian descent in Malaysia are set to get the country’s citizenship after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the move this week. The scheme is applicable to Indianorigin persons aged over 60 years, who have already applied for the citizenship status.
- The move will not be implemented immediately, since it requires each person to meet several official conditions, such as getting oneself registered at the National Registration Department (NRD). “If he is a red card holder, 60years-old and above, he will be given a blue card (MyKad). He has to fill a form at the NRD,” Mohamad said, the New Straits Times reported.
- People who are under 60 years old will be considered for citizenship only if one parent of the applicant is a Malaysian. The government may also look into cases where the marriage of the parents of the applicant was not registered, he added. It is mandatory for the applicant to be Malaysiaborn and clear a simple Bahasa Malaysia competency test.
- Kathy Fong, “No Visa Waiver for Chinese Tourists for Now”, The Edge Markets, August 19, 2018
- The new government has no intention of waiving entry visas for Chinese tourists, at least not in the near future, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. "The number of Chinese tourists (coming to Malaysia) will increase to 10 million. We are not yet ready at the moment (to waive tourist visa for the Chinese). There is no decision yet. May be we will decide in the future," said Dr Mahathir in response to a question from the floor during a dinner with Malaysians in Beijing on Sunday.
- Dr Mahathir also repeated the Malaysian government's stance on welcoming foreign direct investments from China and the importance of the Chinese investments. "We want investments that will bring capital, technologies and help to grow exports... and that will create jobs for Malaysians, [and] increase tax revenue for the government," he said.
- “Mongolia Ready to Work with South Korea to Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation”, Xinhua, August 14, 2018
- Mongolia is willing to work with South Korea to bring bilateral relations and cooperation to a new level in all sectors, Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh said Tuesday. The Mongolian prime minister made the remarks when meeting with South Korean Ambassador to Mongolia Jong Jae Nam.
- "We are ready to take necessary measures to bring bilateral relations and cooperation between Mongolia and South Korea to a new level for the benefit of both peoples," Khurelsukh said. The two countries should make progress on mutual visafree travel for ordinary citizens, the prime minister said.
- Roderick Abad, “Filipino Tourists in Taiwan to Double Due to Visa-Free Policy Extension”, Business Mirror, August 15, 2018
- The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) in the Philippines is hoping that the number of Filipino tourists in Taiwan will double to more than halfa-million by end of 2018, following its announcement of the visa-free privilege extension until July 31, 2019. Based on figures from the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan, Filipinos who visited the island-state reached 290,784 last year—68.59 percent higher than the 172,475 recorded in 2016.
- The visawaiver program for Filipinos started in November 2017 and was supposed to run until July of this year. With the same 14-day stay privilege, the continued trial period of the “no-visa” policy for 12 months will then be reviewed afterward for further extension, depending on the result and efficiency of the program.
- William Depasupil, “Taiwan Extends Visa Exemption for Filipinos”, The Manila Times, August 18, 2018
- Taiwan has extended its visaexemption program for Filipinos by another year, according to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO). “The trial period will continue until July 31, 2019, and will be reviewed for further extension,” TECO said in a statement.
- Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines, Micheal Peiyung Hsu, urged the Philippine government and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to reciprocate Taiwan’s gesture by granting the same privilege to the Taiwanese people, to attract more business and tourists from Taiwan.
- A visafree Filipino visitor is required to have a passport with a validity period of at least six months from the date of entry; a return ticket or a ticket for the traveler’s next destination, and a visa for that destination if required; no criminal records or other records of misconduct in Taiwan; and proof of accommodation booking or host or sponsor’s contact information. Those who intend to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days or for study, work or religious mission are still required to obtain appropriate visas before entering Taiwan.
United Arab Emirates
- Waheed Abbas, “These Professions are Eligible for the 10-Year Visa in UAE”, Albawaba, August 13, 2018
- Technology entrepreneurs, influencers, highend individual investors and specialists in certain fields such as science, space and medicine would be eligible for the 10-year visa slated to be implemented by the end of this year, say industry executives.
- The UAE government recently announced that it would issue 10year visas for professionals and investors and will also allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in mainland companies as part of reforms to attract the best talent available in the world and also to lure foreign direct investment into the country.
- Speaking at a seminar recently, Dr Raed Safadi, chief economic adviser at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said the key criteria of this new law is to attract investors and would be very generous to bring in all kinds of talent as the emirate seeks a transition towards a knowledgebased economy.
- Ben Knight, “Germany’s Planned Immigration Law – What You Need to Know”, Deutsche Welle, August 17, 2018
- The new "keypoint" paper, seen by DW, acknowledges that low unemployment and an aging population in Germany have meant that companies are struggling to fill posts with qualified people, and even creating more opportunities for other European Union citizens will not meet the shortfall – so [Germany has to] be "significantly more successful in winning qualified specialist workers from third countries" – meaning countries outside the EU.
- It was quickly noticed that the German government's paper does not mention a "pointsbased" immigration system, as is used in the UK, Canada, and Australia, and others. It sees non-citizens looking for work earn points for education, wealth, language fluency, existing job offers, and other factors – and if they meet a certain score threshold, they are admitted into the country.
- At present, the German government appears to be considering a jobsearch visa for medium-skilled jobs, which has proved popular in Denmark. But it has not been tried in Germany before – and much will depend on whether German employers are willing to take a risk on people with a job-search visa.
- Aljosa Drobnjak, “Want to Get Montenegrin Citizenship? It Helps If You Want to Invest”, Total Montenegro News, August 16, 2018
- Economic programmes are allowing foreign nationals to legitimately purchase citizenship or a residency permit – in return for a substantial investment. These programs have been in place in Montenegro as well and if you want to become a Montenegro citizen, you can do it for a 450,000 EUR investment in an already developed part of the country, and for a 250,000 EUR investment in the north of the country, plus fees in the amount of 100,000 EUR.
- For a quick recap: on 26 July 2018, the Government of Montenegro adopted the decision to join [the list of countries with an investment immigration program]. […] The Government will be granting the economic citizenship to not more than 2,000 of the most eligible applicants from nonEU countries, lasting for a 3-year period.
- “Russia to Lift Visa Regime for Turkish Nationals – Ankara”, Sputnik, August 15, 2018
- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Russia will lift the visa regime for Turkish nationals holding official passports. The minister added that a RussianTurkish working group will discuss the issue of Russia easing the visa regime for Turkish citizens in late August.
- Turkish citizens currently require a visa to enter Russia. Russian citizens with ordinary and diplomatic passports are exempted from Turkish visas for business and tourist travel for a period of up to 60 days, while official passport holders are required to obtain a visa to enter Turkey.
- “Turkey to Intensify Talks with EU on Visa-Free Travel: Çavuşoğlu”, The Hurriyet Daily News, August 16, 2018
- Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said talks with the EU over visafree travel for Turkish nationals will be accelerated in the coming period, in a sign of improvement in Ankara-Brussels dialogue amid the former’s economic difficulties. “We will intensify our works with the EU for visa liberalization,” he stated, in an address to Turkey’s ambassadors at an annual conference late Aug 15.
- Çavuşoğlu informed he would meet with First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans in the coming period, with whom he will discuss Turkey’s efforts to fulfill the remaining six criteria out of 72 for securing the Schengen visa waiver for Turkish nationals.
- “Ukraine Fulfills Commitments Under Visa-Free Regime with EU: Poroshenko”, Xinhua, August 15, 2018
- Ukraine is fulfilling its commitments under the visafree regime with the European Union (EU), Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday. […] The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is set to hand over the national report on the visa-free agreement implementation by Ukraine to the European Commission soon, the Ukrainian leader added.
- The visafree mechanism allows Ukrainian biometric passport holders to stay in the EU for 90 days without a visa in any 180-day period. The mechanism applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and Britain. Ukrainians can also enter some non-EU countries -- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland without a visa.
- Virginia Langeberg, “Demand for Australian Citizenship at Record High”, SBS News, August 17, 2018
- The demand to be an Australian citizen has never been higher, according to the federal government, which estimates close to 189,000 people are now waiting for their citizenship applications to be processed. This is more than eight times the number in 2015, when there were just under 23,000 people.
- And the record number has meant that nine in 10 applications are now taking almost a year and a half to be processed.
- Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said the length in processing time was due to several factors such as "there are much greater national security threats today than before".
- Daniel Shane, “New Zealand Bans Foreigners From Buying Property”, CNN, August 15, 2018
- The country's parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning foreigners from buying into most parts of its residential property market as the government seeks to cool redhot house prices. The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill will prevent overseas investors from purchasing existing properties in New Zealand, but they will still be able to buy into new apartment complexes and certain other parts of the housing market.
- House prices have almost doubled over the past decade, according to central bank data, and are up more than 5% so far this year. Home ownership rates among New Zealanders have also been falling in recent years.
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