MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 02.09.2019

Sep 02,2019

AFRICA

 

Namibia

 

  1. Lu Hui, “Namibia To Improve Visa Regime To Attract Investment”, Xinhua Net, August 28, 2019
  • Namibia will take steps to allow the movement and settling of potential investors in the country in line with the goal to lure capital into the country, Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Frans Kapofi said Wednesday.
  • Kapofi who was engaging various stakeholders in a workshop to deliberate on recommendations of the recently held economic summit where his ministry were tasked to find ways to make it easy for investors and professionals of scarce skills to settle in the country.
  • Kapofi said the deliberations with different stakeholders will come up with an agreement on the timeline for full implementation of the issuance of visas on arrival at all the identified border posts and ports of entry, identifying scarce and high skilled professionals needed for our economy and agreeing on a threshold for pensioners to qualify for residence permits.
  • The discussions, Kapofi added, will find ways of agreeing on a threshold for residence permit on the back of capital invested, and come up with procedures for issuance of multiple entry visas for people with established businesses.

 

Nigeria

 

  1. Abdullateef Aliyu, “Immigration At Lagos Airport Issues 2000+ Visas On Arrival In Single Month”, Daily Trust, August 27, 2019
  • Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has issued no fewer than 2,194 visas on arrival (VOA) in the month of July. Besides the command has further simplified the process of issuing the visas by taking it from a threestepped manual process to a web-based process.
  • Daily Trust reports that the VOA policy was instituted by the Federal Government as part of the ease of doing business process targeted at attracting investors into the country.

 

  1. Chinedu Eze, “Nigeria: NIS Issues Over 13,000 Visas On Arrival In Six Months”, All Africa, August 28, 2019
  • Nigerian Immigrations Service (NIS) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) has issued about 13,000 Visas on arrival since last February.
  • The July figure of Visas on arrival represented an increase of over 30 per cent compared to similar figures the same period last year, noting that there has been increase in requests in 2019 as more foreigners are poised to invest in Nigeria.
  • The official reiterated that the Visa is targeted at business people and investors and that immigration has upgraded the process that applicants get responses in less than 48 hours from the agency.

 

AMERICA

 

Ecuador

 

  1. Venezuelan Migrants Flood Into Ecuador Ahead Of New Visa Restrictions”, Thomson Reuters, August 27, 2019
  • More than 85,000 Venezuelan migrants crossed into Ecuador from Colombia in the last month, ahead of new visa restrictions from Quito that took effect on Monday, the Colombian government said. The number of migrants entering Ecuador at the Rumichaca border crossing reached 11,000 over the weekend, an uptick of 30% compared to normal traffic, according to figures from Colombia’s migration agency.
  • Ecuador will now require a visa for Venezuelan citizens, part of stricter immigration policies being implemented in several countries.
  • The new rule will not stop people from migrating out of necessity, but will instead increase the number of people using informal crossings, Colombia’s Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in a statement.

 

United States

 

  1. Nnenna Ibeh, “US Increases Visa Fee For Nigerians In 'Mutual Exchange' Move”, Legit, August 27, 2019
  • United States government on Tuesday, August 27, announced a new visa fee for nonimmigrant Nigerians planning to travel to the country.
  • The US in a statement released on its Nigerian embassy website said Nigerians will be required to pay a visa issuance fee or reciprocity fee for all nonimmigrant under the B, F, H1B, I, L, and R classifications.
  • The fee the US said, will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee. According to the US embassy, all visa applicants will pay the reciprocity fee at the time of application.
  • It said the visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity; when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on US citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.

 

  1. Immigration Updates: I-9 Form and Changes to E Visa Validity Period for French Citizens”, National Law Review, August 28, 2019
  • The Department of State (DOS) has announced that effective August 29, 2019 it is reducing the validity period of E1 and E-2 visa stamps issued to French citizens from 60 months (5 years) to 15 months.
  • DOS indicates that the reason it is reducing the validity period of the E visa stamp for French citizens is to align the validity period with the validity period of visas granted by France to U.S. citizens.
  • A person may enter the United States as long as his or her visa stamp is still valid, and may remain in the United States for the period of time for which he/she has been admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as indicated on Form I94. The authorized period of stay as indicated on form I-94 often extends well beyond the expiration of the visa stamp itself. In most circumstances, the visa holder with an expiring or expired visa stamp who then travels abroad must secure a new visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate in order to return to the United States.

 

  1. Anumeha Charurvedi, “US To Waive Mandatory Interview For Certain Visas”, The Economic Times, August 29, 2019
  • The US is working on making the visa application process shorter for Indian nationals and starting September 1, certain applicants can apply for a waiver from mandatory interview.
  • In a communication to travel agent associations, the US Consulate said the initiative aims to reduce turnaround times for visa renewals and improve customer service for visa applicants across India.
  • Applicants renewing their US visa (subject to certain conditions), children below the age of 14, and senior citizen above the age of 79 can qualify for an interview waiver while applying for a US visa starting next month.

 

  1. Mohammad Ali, “US Set To End Visa-Free Entry For Russians In Guam, Northern Mariana Islands - DHS”, Urdupoint, August 30, 2019
  • United States is ending visafree for Russian citizens to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands after the 30-day period of the full publication of the decision in the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security said in a note on Friday.
  • "Under discretionary parole policies, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has granted parole on a caseby-case basis to nationals of the Russian Federation (Russia) to enter Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for temporary visits for business or pleasure for up to 45 days provided the traveler meets certain conditions," the document said. "DHS is publishing this notice to announce to the public that it plans to end this discretionary parole policy."
  • The DHS explained the policy change does not preclude the affected Russian citizens from applying for parole, which will be granted on a caseby-case basis.

 

ASIA

 

India

 

  1.  “India Further Eases Medical Visa Regime For Foreign Nationals”, The Daily Star, August 31, 2019
  • India has announced further liberalisation of medical visa regime for foreign nationals, allowing them to get indoor treatment on their primary (original) visa.
  • “Now, the government of India has further liberalised the medical visa regime and permitted foreigners to get the indoor treatment on their primary (original) visa even for preexisting diseases (except in cases of organ transplant) which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his/her entry into India,” a Home Ministry statement said on Friday.
  • The Indian government had already revised the procedure last year, which exempts foreigners from getting their primary visa converted into medical visa for obtaining indoor treatment by seeking admission to a hospital owing to illness for up to 180 days.

 

Philippines

 

  1. Nicole-anne C Lagrimas, “BI Recommends Non-Extendable 30-Day Visas Upon Arrival”, GMA News Online, August 26, 2019
  • The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has recommended to the Department of Justice (DOJ) a nonextendable 30-day validity for visas issued to foreign nationals upon their arrival in the Philippines.
  • Bureau spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the BI has submitted its position to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra after its operations team reviewed "possible weak points" of the visa upon arrival (VUA) policy.
  • "The management recommended to the DOJ that recipients be given a maximum of 30 days, with no extensions, as well as base allowed stay on itinerary presented," Sandoval said in a message.
  • Deputy spokesman Melvin Mabulac said the BI submitted its recommendation to the DOJ last week.

 

Sri Lanka

 

  1.  “Govt. Says Visa Still Required, Only Fee Waived off”, Daily FT, August 29, 2019
  • The Government yesterday clarified that visa is still required for citizens of 48 countries to enter Sri Lanka, but the fee has been waived off to boost tourism postEaster Sunday tragedy.
  • “It has been misconstrued that free visa means visa isn’t required to enter Sri Lanka. This is not correct. There is only a visa fee exemption, but all visitors have to obtain a visa,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development (SLTDA) Chairman Johanne Jayaratne told journalists.
  • “Only the fee has been waived off, and there is no exemption of the visa requirement to enter the country. It is still necessary for tourists to have visa prior to arrival,” added Immigration and Emigration Controller General Pasan Ratnayaka.

 

  1.  “Sri Lanka Offers Online Visas Process In Chinese”, Shine, August 31, 2019
  • The Chinese version of the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization application system was launched in Shanghai on Friday, breaking the language barrier for Chinese travelers applying for evisa to visit Sri Lanka.
  • The platform designed for Chinese passport holders supports online visa application and material submission in Chinese. ETA is the online visa approval system for people on a short stay in Sri Lanka.
  • From August 1, Sri Lanka has exempted the ETA fee for Chinese tourists and the ETA fee waiver program lasts six months.
  • More than 280,000 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka last year, making China the country's second biggest source of inbound tourists.

 

Taiwan

 

  1.  “Taiwan Relaxes Visa-free Treatment Evaluation To Every 3 years”, Focus Taiwan, August 31, 2019
  • Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced Saturday that a review of visafree treatment for tourists from Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines and Russia will be extended from the current annual basis to every three years from August 2020.
  • "The visafree treatment granted to the four countries will expire July 31 2020. By that time, evaluation on whether to extend the privilege will be conducted every three years," MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a statement.
  • Under the current program, the visafree privileges granted to tourists from the four countries are reviewed every year.
  • Taiwan began allowing 14day visa-free entry for citizens from Thailand and Brunei in August 2016, as part of President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy aimed at boosting exchanges with neighbors in the south.

 

EUROPE

 

Belarus

 

  1. Dominik Istrate, “Number Of Tourists Visiting Belarus Visa-Free Soars”, Focus Taiwan, August 31, 2019
  • The number of tourists visiting Belarus through its shortterm visa-free system increased by 62 per cent during the first seven months of this year compared with the corresponding period of 2018, BelarusFeed has reported.
  • “Around 174,000 tourists entered Belarus via Minsk National Airport or visafree zones of the Brest and Grodno regions in the [first] seven months of this year,” said Vitaly Hrytsevich of the Belarusian Ministry of Sports and Tourism, adding that the ministry expects further growth in the number of tourists.
  • The Belarusian government recently extended its visafree regime, prolonging the period visitors may stay in the country without visas to 30 days.
  • The visafree scheme applies to citizens of 74 countries, including all European Union countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

 

Russia

 

  1. Tanasia Kenney, “Foreign Minister: Agreement In The Works To Allow Haitians To Travel To Russia Without Visas”, Atlanta Black Star, August 29, 2019
  • Haiti is reportedly in talks with Russia to nix the visa requirement for Haitian citizens looking to travel to Russia, according to a foreign affairs minister for the island nation.
  • Haitian Foreign Minister Edmond Bocchit recently announced that a memorandum of understanding is in the works with Russia that would allow Haitiasns to visit the Kremlin and Russian citizens to visit Haiti visafree.

 

Turkey

 

  1. Tanasia Kenney, “Foreign Minister: Agreement In The Works To Allow Haitians To Travel To Russia Without Visas”, Atlanta Black Star, August 29, 2019
  • Haiti is reportedly in talks with Russia to nix the visa requirement for Haitian citizens looking to travel to Russia, according to a foreign affairs minister for the island nation.
  • Haitian Foreign Minister Edmond Bocchit recently announced that a memorandum of understanding is in the works with Russia that would allow Haitiasns to visit the Kremlin and Russian citizens to visit Haiti visafree.

 

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Ava Turnquest, “Uk’S Envoy: So Much To Work On Together”, Tribune, August 27, 2019
  • The access to British visa and consular services will remain unchanged despite the return of a resident High Commissioner to the capital.
  • In an interview with The Tribune, High Commissioner Sarah Dickson revealed the diplomatic office will instead focus on building links on shared interests like climate, environmental and sustainability matters. The office will be housed at the Balmoral but hasn’t opened yet.
  • “At the moment, (visa services) will stay the same,” Mrs Dickson said, “but I’m definitely going to listen and understand how things work here and then with that feedback we may change things or do things differently depending on what people are telling us.
  • Mrs Dickson also urged more Bahamians to apply for scholarship opportunities like Chevening a global scholarship programme that offers full scholarships to study in the UK. Applications for 2020/2021 are open until November 5.

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

Kuwait

 

  1. Dependent Visa For Children Above 12 Yrs Will Not Be Granted”, Arab Times, August 26, 2019
  • The General Department of Residence Affairs is said to have issued a new decision for dependent visa for expatriates, reports AlJarida quoting reliable sources. One of the clauses says dependent visa will not be granted to children of sponsors if they are 12 years old and above. Without naming, the daily said seven nationalities are not eligible for sponsoring their families.
  • The decision also stipulates that the residence permits of sons who are 18 years and above and already hold the Kuwaiti residence permit will not be eligible for renewal unless they produce proof of that they are registered at one of the local universities.
  • The sources added the decision stipulates that the salary of the expatriate who wants to bring his family — wife and children — from his home country to live with him should not be less than KD 500.
  • Those exempted from meeting the minimum salary requirement include consultants, jurists, prosecutors, experts, legal researchers in the government sector, doctors, lecturers in higher education institutions, school principals and assistants, education guides and teachers, social counselors, laboratory technicians, economic and finance advisors, engineers, imams, muezzins and those who teach the Holy Quran, librarians, nursing staff, paramedics, medical technicians with various specializations, journalists and press correspondents, coaches and players in sport clubs, pilots and service crew, and undertakers.

 

Pakistan

 

  1. Faizan Hashmi, “Pakistan To Give Visas To Sikh Pilgrims On 550th Birthday Of Guru Nanak”, Urdupoint, August 28, 2019
  • The religious tourism and heritage committee took the decision to finalize process of issuance of visas for Sikh Pilgrims from India and around the world to attend 550th birthday celebration of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sab before 30th September.
  • The meeting was held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Governor Punjab Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar. Arrangement for "International Sikh Convention" has been finalized which would be held at Governor House Lahore on 31st August.
  • Promotion of tourism at religious places is included in government priorities. After the meeting, while expressing his views with media Governor Punjab Ch Muhammad Sarwar said that visa process for Sikh Pilgrims who willing to attend the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak will start from 1st of September and will be completed by 30th September and to provide Sikh pilgrims with accommodations, foolproof security, and other facilities a "Tent City" in Nankana Saab is to be established and on which work will be initiated from the start of September.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1.  “UAE Citizens Can Travel To Paraguay Without Pre-Entry Visas”, Gulf News, September 1, 2019
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced that Emirati citizens holders of diplomatic, special and ordinary UAE passports can travel to Paraguay without the need for a preentry visa. The decision is effective as of August 16, 2019.
  • The exemption came in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the UAE and Paraguay on September 24, 2018 by Dr Anwar Bin Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Paraguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Alberto Castelloni.
  • The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the UAE Delegation participation in the UN 73rd General Assembly.
  • Ahmad Sari Al Mazrouei, UnderSecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the newly effective decision allows UAE passports holders to enter Paraguay without a pre-entry visa and fees with the possibility of staying for a maximum of 90 days per visit.

 

OCEANIA

 

Australia

 

  1.  “‘Work And Holiday Maker’ Visa Program For Vietnamese Expanded”, Fresh Plaza, August 27, 2019
  • Australia has expanded the number of Work and Holiday Maker visa places available to young Vietnamese people, upping our annual intake from 200 to 1,500 a year. Work and Holiday visa holders who work in cropping, horticulture and livestock jobs in regional Australia become eligible for a second and third visa to extend their stay for up to three years.
  • The expanded intake was announced last week, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Vietnam. Immigration Minister David Coleman, said the increase was mutually beneficial for Australia and Vietnam: "Demand for the Work and Holiday visas from Vietnamese nationals has been strong since the agreement began in 2017, with all 200 places allocated in the past two program years. We look forward to welcoming more young Vietnamese nationals to Australia to boost our peopleto-people links and provide more workers for farmers and other regional businesses."
  • The Work and Holiday visa requires firsttime Vietnamese applicants to hold or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and to speak a functional level of English.

 

New Zealand

 

  1. Greg Ninness, “Work Visa Approvals Are Growing Strongly While Residence Visa Approvals Are Declining And Student Visas Flat, Greg Ninness Discovers”, Interest.co.nz, August 28, 2019
  • The number of people gaining New Zealand residency has dropped by a third over the last three years, while those being granted work visas have increased by almost 16% over the same period.
  • Figures compiled by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) show that the number of residence visas approved by Immigration New Zealand has been steadily declining for the last three years, from a peak of 51,750 in the 12 months to the end of July 2016, to 34,881 in the 12 months to the end of July this year, a reduction of 16,899 (32.6%).
  • Conversely, the number of work visas being issued has increased steadily in each of the last seven years. In the 12 months to the end of July, 243,195 work visas were approved, which was 12,189 more (+5.2%) than were issued in the previous 12 months and 15.7% more than were issued in the 12 months to July 2016.

 

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