MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 27.05.2019

May 27,2019

AFRICA

 

Ghana

 

  1. Iddi Yire, “Passport Head Office to move to new location”, Ghana News Agency, May 22, 2019
  • The Passport Head Office in Accra is to be moved to a new location in the course of the year. Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said a new property had already been allocated to the Office and was undergoing renovation.
  • She said the Passport Office continued to be saddled with uncollected passports; stating that "about 20,000 printed passports spanning the period 2010 to 2018 remain to be collected across the country".
  • Madam Botchway said moving into the future, the Ministry intended to introduce a 48-hour service for those who needed very urgent services.

 

Kenya

 

  1. Hilary Kimuyu, “No, Kenya has not been added to our Visa Waiver Program, US Embassy says”, Nairobi News, May 20, 2019
  • The US Embassy in Nairobi has termed the news that Kenya has joined US Visa Waiver Program as fake news.
  • A website, News-AP, which seemed to be trying to associate itself with international news agency the Associated Press (AP), claimed that the US State Department had added 10 countries into its VWP.
  • But in a tweet, the US Embassy has advised Kenyans to go to the Department of Homeland Security for more information about US Visa waiver.

 

AMERICA

 

Antigua & Barbuda

 

  1. Makeida Antonio, “A&B machine-readable passports recalled”, The Daily Observer, May 23, 2019
  • Relevant authorities in Antigua & Barbuda have advised citizens of a recall of machine-readable passports which they aim to fully replace with e-passports by January 1st next year.
  • Yesterday, the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office issued an advisory concerning the commencement of a recall of all machine-readable Antigua and Barbuda passports as a result of a decision by the Cabinet to discontinue the dual use of machine-readable and e-passports. The phasing out process will take effect from June 1st, 2019.
  • “The machine-readable passports were introduced around 10 years ago and these e-passports follow an improved schedule that causes Antigua and Barbuda to be in compliance, given the need to keep Antigua and Barbuda current,” [The Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel “Max” Hurst] told OBSERVER media yesterday.

 

Barbados

 

  1. Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson, “Barbados drops visa requirements for these 8 African countries”, Face 2 Face Africa, May 22, 2019
  • With its eyes set on making the country the number one business and travel destination in the Caribbean, Barbados is making it easier for citizens of various African countries to visit with ease. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator, Dr Jerome Walcott, announced that the government has supported the cancellation of visa for citizens of several African countries which will be implemented with immediate effect.
  • The new implementation affects countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and Ghana from which Barbados receives a lot of visitors and has several ties. Citizens from these countries will therefore not need a visa when travelling to Barbados.
  • “We recognise that Africa, a continent of 54 countries, many of them showing growth rates of five, six, and seven per cent, in terms of Rwanda, it is time for us to look more closely at that continent. We have made a pledge, and we are moving towards establishing a mission in Accra, Ghana before the end of this year,” he said.

 

Canada

 

  1. Kimone Thompson, “Canada on drive to recruit more international students”, Jamaica Observer, May 23, 2019
  • The Government of Canada has publicly urged local tertiary institutions to make more of an effort to take advantage of the opportunities for education and training available in that North America country.
  • “When it comes to this particular issue I am a very impatient minister,” [Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen] said. “I go around the world saying, 'we need more'. Unlike other categories of immigration, [for] international students, there's no ceiling. We can take another 500,000, no problem, and our institutions tell us that they have more room,” he said.
  • “I think we can increase the numbers coming to Canada, and we also want to make sure that there is a diversity in that population. So I've made a very strong, personal effort to encourage more students to come from Europe, Africa and those parts of the world because we don't want to end up in a situation where we only have students predominantly from Asia,” the minister continued.

 

  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Canada takes action on fraudulent immigration consultants”, Government of Canada, May 24, 2019
  • Canada is taking decisive action to hold immigration and citizenship consultants to account by improving oversight, strengthening enforcement, and increasing accountability to protect the public from dishonest consultants who take advantage of vulnerable people.
  • Proposed legislation included in the 2019 Budget Implementation Act, will create a new statutory framework to regulate immigration and citizenship consultants, making the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (the College) the official watchdog of consultants across the country.
  • To punish and deter illegal behavior, the proposed legislation will also double the current monetary penalty for offences and provide new authority to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to establish administrative penalties aimed at compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act.

 

Grenada

 

  1. Grenada real estate resale changes spur CBI market freehold, leasehold, trust certificates qualify for resale”, Caribbean News Now, May 24, 2019
  • The government of Grenada’s re-alignment of the minimum investment requirement for the real estate option (for certain developments) of the country’s citizenship by investment (CBI) program from US$350,000 to US$220,000 has spurred the market, say experts.
  • “The Six Senses La Sagesse development, for example, is a clear case where investors are not only able to take advantage of the price re-alignment but will be able to resell their investment after five years if they so desire,” says an investor. “This applies to all kinds of real estate investment, whether it’s freehold, leasehold or a trust certificate. The law is clear.”
  • According to a lawyer, based in St James’s London with extensive experience of the Grenadian market, “The intention of the legislators is to permit [the] transfer of any investment under the citizenship provisions. This gives applicants the perfect exit route, which wasn’t there before. In addition, the new chief executive of the citizenship unit, Thomas Anthony, is insisting on stringent documentation to ensure that the illegal discounting, prevalent in other islands, does not happen in Grenada.”

 

Trinidad & Tobago

 

  1. Trinidadians face new rules when applying for US visas”, Stabroek News, May 26, 2019
  • The US Em­bassy in Port-of-Spain has advised that effective June 1, documents submitted in support of a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) interview waiver application will not be returned, other than the applicant’s valid and expired passports. For applicants who submitted supporting documents before June 1, officials said these will be returned as per the current practice.
  • In a re­lease on its web­site, officials explained this was meant to simplify the process for both the Embassy and the applicants, enabling them to process applications faster and return passports and visas quickly.

 

United States

 

  1. Stephen Dinan, “Trump orders immigrant welfare crackdown, reimbursements”, The Washington Times, May 23, 2019
  • President Trump ordered federal agencies Thursday to begin enforcing existing federal rules against immigrants who end up on the public dole, telling the government to begin demanding the money be repaid by the immigrants’ sponsors.
  • The move is aimed at legal immigrants who are generally supposed to prove they are able to sustain themselves without becoming dependent on welfare assistance.
  • “The purpose of this memorandum is to direct relevant agencies to update or issue procedures, guidance, and regulations, as needed, to ensure that ineligible non-citizens do not receive means-tested public benefits, in better compliance with the law,” he wrote.

 

  1. Nick Miroff et al., “Trump to place Ken Cuccinelli at the head of the country’s legal immigration system”, The Washington Post, May 24, 2019
  • President Trump plans to install Ken Cuccinelli II as the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, placing the conservative activist and former Virginia attorney general at the head of the agency that runs the country’s legal immigration system, administration officials said Friday.
  • L. Francis Cissna, the agency’s current director, has told his staff that he will leave his post June 1.
  • In a farewell letter to staff Friday, obtained by The Washington Post, Cissna said he submitted his resignation “at the request of the President.”

 

ASIA

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1. Bernd Debusmann Jr., “UAE gold card residency scheme to bolster economy, says Damac chairman”, Arabian Business, May 23, 2019
  • The UAE’s newly announced gold card residency scheme is a step towards a “strong sustainable economy”, according to Hussein Sajwani, the founder and chairman of Dubai’s Damac Properties. The new system, which was announced by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum earlier this week, will see an initial batch of 6,800 people be granted new their new status.
  • “While the eligibility criteria of for the gold card are yet to be announced, the initiative will surely encourage more people to consider Dubai in their long-term investment and living plans,” Sajwani said. “The gold card programme will definitely heighten this interest, and we are looking forward to witnessing this as further details unfold.”

 

  1. UAE long-term visa cost: Five-year visa at Dh650; ten-year visa at Dh1,150”, Gulf News, May 26. 2019
  • According to eligibility criteria announced earlier, investors in public investment or senior professionals working with the investors as well as exceptional talents and researchers in various domains qualify for the 10-year visas. Investors and professionals falling in the approved categories can apply to issue or renew the 10-year visa for Dh1,150 (Dh150 for the application and Dh1,000 for issuance). Family members of the applicants can also avail 10 years’ visas at the same cost.
  • Meanwhile, the authorities also announced the cost of five-year visas, which will be issued for D650 (Dh150 for application and Dh500 for issuance). Those eligible for five year visas include investors in real estate, entrepreneurs, executive directors of entrepreneurs and retired expatriate professionals as well as their family members. Top achievers among students with exceptional talents and their family members can also get the five-year visas at Dh650.

 

EUROPE

 

Armenia

 

  1. Armenia, China to have visa-free regime: Agreement reached during Pashinyan’s recent visit to PRC”, ArmenPress, May 23, 2019
  • During today’s meeting the government of Armenia approved the proposal to sign an agreement with China on the mutual elimination of visa requirements for the citizens of the two countries holding regular passports. Deputy foreign minister of Armenia Grigor Hovhannisyan said according to the current draft the two countries establish a visa-free regime by which the citizens of Armenia and China will be exempt from visas for up to 90 days within 180 days.
  • “At the same time, the sides are obliged to take quick and effective measures for the return of citizens abusing the visa regime to their home country”, the deputy FM said.

 

Belarus

 

  1. Dominik Istrate, “Belarus, EU set to sign visa agreement”, Emerging Europe, May 21, 2019
  • Belarus and the European Union have completed negotiations regarding visa admission and facilitation and are expected to sign an agreement by the end of 2019.
  • According to Belarusian news portal tut.by, the two sides managed to agree on “the substantive part of the negotiations” and only procedural formalities have yet to be solved. The agreement is set to cut visa prices for Belarusians, with long-term and free visa schemes also being expanded.

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Construction still driven by passport scheme”, Financial Mirror, May 26, 2019
  • The Federation of the Building Constructors Associations of Cyprus (OSEOK) said developers see a brighter future as big projects are in the pipeline, while others are expected to be announced. Manager of OSEOK, Frangos Prokopas said that the sector has seen the upward swing that began in 2017 continued in 2018, with indications that it is to continue in 2019.
  • Noting that the driving force behind the growing construction industry remains foreign money coming in through the country’s Citizenship for Investment scheme, there is a diversification of the market taking place which will keep the industry together in case the CIS weathers out. “Public works had been put on ice during the previous years and the sector is now anticipating the declaration of big public projects by the government,” said Prokopas.
  • He said that apart from luxury projects on the southwestern coast of Cyprus, there is a significant number of houses and other projects being built in the country’s capital, an indication of participation of local buyers. “I’m encouraged that the building sector is reinventing itself and becoming more diverse and less dependent on one type of investment.”

 

Russia

 

  1. Russian parliament speaker calls for visa waiver with Vietnam”, TASS, May 23, 2019
  • Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has called for a visa waiver agreement with Vietnam.
  • "Your initiative on visa-free entry is worth consideration and support," he said at Thursday’s meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc who is currently on a visit to Russia.
  • He pointed out that Vietnam was one of the top ten tourist destinations for Russians. "It is a significant achievement because people make choices based on prices, the quality of services and the level of security," Volodin said. "It points to progress in our relations and shows that Vietnam’s economy and tourism industry has reached a new level," the State Duma speaker noted.

 

  1. Russia establishes visa-free regime with all Latin American countries”, TASS, May 24, 2019
  • "An agreement between the governments of Russia and Suriname on visa-free travel for the two countries’ citizens came into effect on May 13," [Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova] said. "It is an important, milestone event — from now the entire space of South America, with its 12 countries, is a visa-free zone for Russians."
  • "Favorable conditions are being created for expanding the entire spectrum of relations with this region," she stressed, adding that Moscow plans to take further steps to expand the geography of visa-free travel for Russian nationals.

 

  1. Russians can visit Costa Rica without visa from May 25”, TASS, May 25, 2019
  • Intergovernmental agreement on the mutual abolition of visas between Russia and Costa Rica comes into force on May 25. Russian citizens will be able to stay in Costa Rica for 90 days without a visa.
  • According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian citizens with valid international passports, with the exception of diplomatic and service passports, can enter (transit, exit and stay) the territory of Costa Rica repeatedly without visas for up to 90 calendar days from the date of entry. At the same time, citizens of Costa Rica with valid passports will be able to travel to Russia visa-free for up to 90 calendar days during each period of 180 calendar days from the date of the first entry.

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Harriet Mallinson, “New Zealand: British holidaymakers will soon need a visa to enter - what you need to know”, Express, May 21, 2019
  • New Zealand holidays will require the purchase of a visa from October under new travel rules. A valid eTA will be needed for any Britons looking to enter New Zealand from Tuesday 1st October 2019. The new rule will apply to holidaymakers arriving by both cruise ship and by plane.
  • The application process will first open in July so travellers have plenty of time to get the visa. It can be bought online and will only take a few minutes. The eTA will remain valid for up to two years.
  • The travel visa costs NZ$9 (roughly £4.60) for mobile applications and NZ$12 (approximately £6.15) for online applications. The FCO updated their travel advice to New Zealand this week to explain the new rules.

 

OCEANIA

 

Fiji

 

  1. Ilaijia Ravuwai, “European Union to Consider Visa Free Travel for Fijians”, Fiji Sun, May 21, 2019
  • The European Union (EU) will give due consideration into Fiji’s call for inclusion in the list of countries with visa-free access to the Schengen Area. This is expected to take place at the next review of EU’s visa list.
  • This was highlighted after the EU and Fiji held their fourth High Level Political Dialogue under article 8 of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – EU partnership (Cotonou) Agreement in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday.
  • The EU and Fiji noted that since 1 May, Fiji citizens intending to travel to Germany can submit their applications for Schengen visas in Suva. Fiji reported on progress made in its discussions with other EU member states on a similar scheme that would allow for the processing of applications for Schengen visas in Suva, providing for visits to these EU member states.

 

 

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