- Francis Akhalbey, “Ghana to grant citizenship to 200 African Americans as part of ‘Year of Return 2019’”, Face 2 Face Africa, May 28, 2019
- To mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, the government of Ghana launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” in a quest to encourage African Americans and the black diaspora to return to the country where their ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved.
- As part of the yearlong celebrations, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is set to confer citizenship to 200 members of the African-American-Caribbean Diaspora group currently settled in the West African nation, Graphic Online reports.
- Ghana is the only country in the 21st century that has legally offered to resettle people of African descent in Africa. In the year 2000, Ghana became the first African country to officially open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world.
- Aggrey Mutambo, “Only e-Passport holders will qualify for Schengen visas”, The East African, May 30, 2019
- Countries in Europe’s border-free Schengen area will stop accepting visa applications on the old Kenyan passport starting June 1. In a statement, the 26 member countries said the move follows Kenya’s announcement to void old generation passports from September 1.
- “The Schengen member states therefore wish to inform the Kenyan public that from June 1, 2019, only the new East African Community biometric e-passport would be accepted for visa applications,” reads the statement.
- Schengen visas are issued to those whose passports expire at least 90 days from the departure dates. The visa allows one to travel to all the Schengen member states provided the visa is lodged at the embassy where one would stay the longest.
Antigua & Barbuda
- “China deepens cooperation with Antigua-Barbuda, offers over 100 educational programmes”, Caribbean News Now, May 27, 2019
- Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne welcomed Sun Ang, the newly appointed ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Antigua and Barbuda, and praised the excellent relationship that has developed between the two countries over the past 36 years.
- Ang also announced that as a sign of the development of the relationship, the Chinese government will sign an agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda for the waiver of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
- In a quest to promote capacity building and cultural exchanges, the government of the People’s Republic of China has joined with the Antigua and Barbuda government in offering over 100 programmes for Antiguans and Barbudans to pursue Masters’ and Doctoral studies in English in universities in the People’s Republic of China.
- Pedro Goncalves, “Bahamas to give tax residency certificates to permanent residents”, International Investment, May 29, 2019
- The Bahamas has introduced tax residency certificates for people who have been granted permanent residency, typically under an investor migration programme. The certificates will be issued only to those who spend a minimum of 90 days in the Bahamas in one year, and no more than 183 days in one other country.
- They will carry unique taxpayer identification numbers (TIN), which will demonstrate to the holder's country of birth or citizenship that the Bahamas is his principal domicile, and thus his financial accounts are subject to international information exchange agreements under CRS.
- Brent Symonette, minister of financial services, trade and industry and Immigration, told the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Caribbean Conference these certificates will help certify their compliance with home country tax laws and address OECD claims.
- Nicholas Keung, “New immigration rules boost family reunification, protect abused migrants”, The Toronto Star, May 31, 2019
- Immigrants who failed to declare the existence of a lost family member when they first came to Canada will now get a chance to bring them here under a new two-year pilot project.
- Advocates for migrants have long complained that the existing policy creates hardship for refugees to reunite with family members lost during war, violence or natural disasters such as a typhoon, or for migrants who failed to disclose the existence of children they initially didn’t know were theirs.
- The two-year pilot project will be launched Sept. 9 and sponsorship applications for previously undeclared family members that are already underway will be processed under the new rules.
- Hussen also announced that migrant workers who find themselves in abusive job situations will be able to apply for an open work permit so they can leave their employer immediately, maintain their status and find another job. The change, which starts Tuesday, is a response to advocates’ complaints that abused workers fear coming forward to seek help from authorities for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status, effectively perpetuating the abusive conditions.
- Global Affairs Canada, “Canada suspends operations at Embassy of Canada to Venezuela”, Government of Canada, June 2, 2019
- The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement: “Unfortunately, at the end of this month, Canadian diplomats in Venezuela will no longer be in a position to obtain diplomatic accreditation under the Maduro regime, and their visas will expire. Therefore, we are left with no choice but to temporarily suspend our operations at the Embassy of Canada to Venezuela, effective immediately. “We are also evaluating the status of Venezuelan diplomats appointed by the Maduro regime to Canada.
- “Canada continues to provide consular assistance to Canadians in Venezuela through the Embassy of Canada to Colombia, in Bogotá. For several months, we have advised Canadians to avoid all travel to Venezuela.
St. Kitts & Nevis
- “Range Developments welcome increased airlift to St Kitts-Nevis”, Caribbean News Now, May 27, 2019
- Developers of the Park Hyatt St Kitts, Range Developments, specialist of luxury hotel resorts in the Caribbean is pleased with the increased airlift to St Kitts and Nevis. Range Developments launched the Park Hyatt Kitts in 2017, and notable, the award-winning Park Hyatt St Kitts has been featured in World Travel Magazine’s Luxury 50 list.
- At the 2019 Tourism Experience Awards, held on May 18, Minister for Tourism Lindsay Grant said, increased airlift is a true testament to the nation’s outstanding tourism strategy. “Air arrivals from January through April 2019, are up by 14.5 percent over last year with North American arrivals even further up than that at 17.2 percent.”
- Melanius Alphonse, “St Lucia amends CIP legislation amid heightened competition from Dominica and Grenada”, Caribbean News Now, May 29, 2019
- The government of Saint Lucia amended its legislative and regulatory framework for Citizenship by Investment (CIP) processing to averaging just 80 days, amid weak performance and heightened competition from Dominica and Grenada.
- The legislative amendments (Act 12) of 2019 make it easy for child[ren] and spouse to be granted citizenship within five years post granting citizenship […].
- One of the main objectives of Saint Lucia’s economic policy is to make the country an attractive destination for investment, simplify citizenship by investment rules for dependants, making it competitive with other CIP’s in the Caribbean, attract high net worth individuals and direct investments.
- Sandra E. Garcia, “U.S. Requiring Social Media Information From Visa Applicants”, The New York Times, June 2, 2019
- Visa applicants to the United States are required to submit any information about social media accounts they have used in the past five years under a State Department policy that started on Friday. Such account information would give the government access to photos, locations, dates of birth, dates of milestones and other personal data commonly shared on social media.
- The move represents a step up from a September 2017 measure in which the Homeland Security Department proposed and enacted a regulation calling for the surveillance of social media use of all immigrants, including naturalized citizens. During the Obama administration, the State Department began to ask visa applicants to voluntarily submit their social media information.
- Maysam Bizaer, “Iranian MPs move to grant citizenship to children of foreign fathers”, Al-Monitor, May 31, 2019
- According to a 2019 report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Iran is among the seven countries in the world, including Lebanon, Kuwait and Qatar, that “do not allow mothers to confer their citizenship on their children with no or very limited exceptions.”
- To address these challenges, Iran’s parliament scored a landmark victory by overwhelmingly passing a bill on May 12 to bring an end to the nationality law. This came almost two decades after the judiciary raised the issue of gender inequality in its nationality law in 2001, after the census revealed that a significant number of children with Iranian mothers and foreign fathers were not considered Iranian citizens.
- […] Government efforts and the support of women's rights activists paid off last week when parliament passed the bill allowing all children of Iranian mothers and foreign fathers to obtain citizenship at birth, regardless of whether the couple has a marriage permit from the government.
- Bernd Debusmann Jr, “Surge in Gulf applicants expected for US investor visa scheme”, Arabian Business, May 30, 2019
- A “rush” of GCC residents are expected to apply for the US EB-5 immigrant investor visa scheme ahead of possible reforms that may see it become more expensive, according to experts.
- The EB-5 has seen a dramatic increase in the number of approvals from the GCC, which collectively rose 564 percent to 93 approvals – a majority of them expats - in 2018.
- A total of 54 UAE residents were approved for the programme in 2018, a 350 percent jump from the year before. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which saw just a single approval in 2017, recorded 15, a 1,400 percent increase.
- “Sokor envoy seeks more PH tourists, offers visa-free entry”, Manila Standard, June 2, 2019
- Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man said on Sunday that the Korean government plans to make its country more accessible to Filipino tourists by making applications for visa easier […].
- He added that the Korean government wants to invite up to 2 million Filipino tourists to South Korea by granting them multiple-entry visas.
- “For qualified people such the business people, media people of course, and government officers, we give them a multiple visa at least five years or 10 years with one single document saying that I’m working in this company,” Han said. “Any Filipino for visit to Korea [will be] entitled to get multiple-entry visa. Among the ASEAN countries, Philippines only is the country to be allowed of multiple-entry visa,” he added.
- “New U.S. visa rules will not affect visa-waiver users: AIT”, Focus Taiwan, June 2, 2019
- A recently-implemented rule that requires applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers, will not affect most Taiwanese travelers to the U.S. who visit the country visa-free, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Sunday.
- Taiwan was admitted to the U.S. Visa-Waiver Program (VWP) in November 2012. Since then, eligible Republic of China (Taiwan) passport holders have been able to travel to the U.S. for stays of 90 days or less without the need for a visa. However, in order to travel under the VWP, travelers must first receive travel authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and meet all eligibility requirements in advance of travel.
- The AIT spokesperson said the change has no impact on the ESTA process.
- “Armenia-China visa-free regime to enter into force after completion of agreement’s ratification procedures – MFA”, ArmenPress, May 27, 2019
- The agreement on mutual visa exemption signed by the foreign ministers of Armenia and China will enter into force after the completion of its ratification procedures by the two countries: before this the current visa system will operate between the two states, Armenian foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan said in response to ARMENPRESS inquiry.
- Tasos Kokkinidis, “Chinese Demand for Greek Property Remains High Despite EU Crackdown”, Greek Reporter, May 28, 2019
- The Chinese demand for Greek property remains close to historic highs, despite the European Commission’s recent call for a crackdown on potential abuses of European Golden Visa programs, says Carrie Law, director of leading Chinese real estate company Juwai.
- “The level of Chinese buyer enquiries in the first quarter was down from recent peaks, but is still near historic highs. We expect demand to remain strong throughout 2019,” she explained.
- “Chinese investors received 2,416 out of the 4,154 Greek permits issued so far. Chinese account for more than five times the 428 issued to the second-ranked Russians. I don’t see any reason to expect Chinese preponderance in the program to fall much in 2019,” Law adds.
- “Dutch gov’t officially asks EC to remove visa-free regime with Albania”, The Tirana Times, May 31, 2019
- “After many discussions, pointing out that: there has been a considerable criminality rise from the Albanian mafia, whose organizations use the visa-free regime to move freely across Europe and expand their contraband, we ask the government to present to the European Commission a request to urgently begin the process of stopping visa free travel with Albania,” the Dutch parliament’s April 16 decision read.
- On Friday, the Dutch government officially submitted the request to ban Albanians from moving without visas to the Netherlands to the European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
- Immediate was the reaction of the Dutch Embassy to Tirana, which clarified to Albanians the existing visa-free regime will stay in place until the European Commission decides whether the Dutch request should be approved.
- “Russia suggests introducing visa-free travel with Japan”, TASS, May 31, 2019
- Moscow suggested to Tokyo to introduce a visa-free travel regime and hopes to continue discussing this possibility, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday after talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono.
- "As a first step, we reminded about the initiative of President Putin to introduce a visa-free travel regime for all residents of the Sakhalin region and Hokkaido prefecture," he noted.
- “Ukraine, Mexico on final stage of visa-free travel talks – MFA”, Unian, May 28, 2019
- Director of the Department of the Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Serhiy Pohoreltsev says Ukraine and Mexico are on the final stage of visa-free travel talks.
- "We have worked out an action algorithm required to sign an agreement on the abolition of visa requirements for citizens of Ukraine and Mexico," Pohoreltsev said.
- “Ukraine and Costa Rica agree on visa-free regime”, Ukrinform, May 31, 2019
- Ukraine and Costa Rica discussed the conclusion of an agreement on visa-free regime between the countries.
- “For the first time in the history of bilateral relations, two friendly countries held negotiations on consular issues. The delegations analyzed the state and prospects of cooperation in the migration and visa sectors, discussed the issue of protecting the rights and interests of citizens and legal entities of both countries, shared the main achievements of the consular services and discussed prospects for expanding the mutual consular presence,” the report says.
- Eimear Flanagan, “Brexit 'causing' more British nationals to become Irish”, BBC, June 2, 2019
- Irish citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011, and for the first four years applications from Britons averaged about 60 a year. In 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, there were 568 British applicants. The number grew to 860 in 2017 and last year more than 1,200 Britons applied to become Irish citizens.
- In the year before the Brexit vote, there were more than 46,000 applications from Great Britain, but last year that more than doubled to over 98,500. The current minimum waiting time for a first-time passport application from Great Britain is 72 working days - nearly three and a half months.
- So far this year, the Irish Department of Justice has issued 312 certificates of Irish nationality to British applicants, and we're not yet half way through 2019.
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