MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 09.09.2019

Sep 09,2019

AFRICA

 

Botswana

 

  1.  “Botswana Relaxes Visa Requirements To Attract Investors”, Journal du Cameroun, September 6, 2019
  • As part of efforts to attract investors and tourists, Botswana has reviewed and abolished visa fees in certain categories and introduced payment in foreign currencies.
  • Those wishing to visit Botswana were now allowed to pay in United States dollars, British pound sterling or South African rands.
  • Single entry business visas would now cost US$50, down from US$165, and would allow the holder to stay in Botswana for a period up to three months.
  • The cost of a multiple entry business visa valid for a period of up to three months has been reduced from US$150 to US$100, while that for a period up to six months would now cost US$150, down from US$200.

 

Sierra Leone

 

  1. Umaru Fofana, “Sierra Leione Scraps Entry Visas”, Politico SL, September 5, 2019
  • The Sierra Leona Government has scrapped entry visas effective this week and has duly informed all its embassy, airline operators and international partners and other government bodies.
  • Travellers will not get visa on arrival at the airport or the land border
  • Minister of Information and Communication, Mohamed Rahman Swaray told Politico that this was a move to encourage tourism and business in the country
  • Henceforth, citizens from the US, UK, EU member states, Commonwealth countries, Gulf Cooperation Council member countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman), BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), as well as citizens from Iranm Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Israel, Bolivia, East Timor, Macau, Samoa, Tuvalu will pay US$80 on arrival. Citizens from AU member states excepting ECOWAS will pay $25.

 

AMERICA

 

Jamaica

 

  1.  “Jamaica Developing Visa Policy And Action Plan”, The Gleaner, September 5, 2019
  • Jamaica is to develop a Visa Policy and Action Plan in a bid to streamline the governance and regulatory framework for the issuance of visas.
  • Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Karl Samuda, said this follows Cabinet’s approval for the policy and action plan.
  • Samuda said the policy is expected to result in improved traveller experience and relieve the administrative burden on Missions that currently issue visas.
  • “It will also allow for more flexibility such as changes to visa requirements, reduced documentation, standardised cost and limited personal appearance at Overseas Missions and Honorary Consuls,” he said.

 

Peru

 

  1.  “Peru To Boost Border Security After Stricter Entry Rule For Venezuelans”, Yahoo News, September 3, 2019
  • Peru plans to beef up security at its border with Ecuador to prevent illegal immigration, after stricter entry requirements for Venezuelans led to a 90% drop in legal crossings, a government official said on Monday.
  • More than 850,000 Venezuelans have fled their homeland for Peru in recent years, part of a mass exodus from the Caribbean nation as it faces a crippling economic crisis.
  • But in June, Peru started requiring Venezuelans who arrive to already have visas, part of stricter policies for Venezuelans in some South American nations.
  • Popolizio said his ministry was working with the interior ministry and police to make sure Venezuelan migrants were not evading the new requirements by crossing illegally.

 

United States

 

  1.  “For New H-1B Visas, US Agency Proposes New Registration Fee”, LiveMint, September 5, 2019
  • A federal US agency on Wednesday proposed $10 fee for the registration of new H1B visas, offsetting costs incurred in the process. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
  • The proposed fee on new H1B visas is part of the new registration process for companies wishing to apply for the temporary employment visa.
  • The new system, which was put on hold earlier this year, is expected to come into force for the next application cycle beginning April 1, 2020.

 

ASIA

 

Sri Lanka

 

  1.  “Maldives And Sri Lanka Renew Visa Facilitation Agreement”, Maldives Independent, September 2, 2019
  • The Maldives and Sri Lanka on Monday signed a new visa facilitation agreement to grant a free 90day visa on arrival for visitors between the countries. The agreement was signed after Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived earlier on Monday for a three-day official visit.
  • Aside from the onarrival visa, “nationals of either country wishing to conduct business and pursue investments can be granted multiple entry non-resident business visas, thereby facilitating commercial engagements and private sector collaboration,” according to the Maldives president’s office.
  • “Further, this agreement will also facilitate multiple entry visas for Maldivian students enrolled in Sri Lankan educational institutes, and for their parents and legal guardians provided the students in question are under eighteen years of age.” The agreement will supersede arrangements made in 2008.

 

EUROPE

 

Finland

 

  1.  “Tripping Out? Finland Tightens Rules For Russians Getting Visas”, Radio Free Europe, September 3, 2019
  • As of September 1, Finland has tightened the rules for Russians applying for a visa.
  • In the past, a Russian wishing to travel to Finland only needed to fill out a simple form, and provide a photo and proof of health insurance. Now they will need to provide a travel plan and prove they have the means to finance their stay.

 

Poland

 

  1.  “Pence Pleased Poland Nearly Ready For U.S. Visa Program”, Thomson Reuters, September 2, 2019
  • U.S. Vice President Michael Pence said on Monday he was happy that Poland is nearing readiness for a visa waiver program.
  • “I am pleased to see that Poland is nearing eligibility for the visa waiver program,” Pence said during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw.

 

Russia

 

  1.  “Free Visas Introduced For Certain Kinds of Travel to Russia”, Yle, September 4, 2019
  • New Russian visa protocol coming into effect in October will no longer require some travellers from Finland to the Saint Petersburg area to purchase visas before their trip.
  • As of next month, people who are travelling to the area for less than eight days can simply fill in a free visa application available on the Russian foreign ministry website.
  • The online form requires applicant passport and personal information and a recent digital photo. The ministry promises a fourday turnaround time, and once approved, the online visa is valid for one trip within 30 days. It is not necessary to submit specific travel dates or vehicle information.
  • The free eightday-maximum visa will only be available to people travelling to destinations in Leningrad Oblast, the region that is home to the metropolis of Saint Petersburg.

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

Iran

 

  1.  “Iran Grants Qataris On-Arrival Visas”, MEHR News Agency, September 2, 2019
  • Iranian authorities have decided to grant holders of Qatari passports tourist visas upon arrival at Iranian airports, an official source at the Qatari Foreign Ministry's Department of Consular Affairs said.
  • Qatari nationals can obtain a single or multipleentry visa from Iran's embassy in Doha, to avoid occasional delays at the arrival airport in case of crowding of passengers at the visa office there. Qatar has a considerable Shia Muslim population who normally visit Iran for paying homage to holy shrines in the country.
  • They also use Iran to travel to neighboring Iraq during the Arba'een period to attend huge processions meant to commemorate 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein, the third Shia Imam and Prophet Muhammad's grandson, in Karbala.

 

Kuwait

 

  1.  “Department Clarifies Reports On Dependent, Visit Visas”, Arab Times, September 6, 2019
  • The minimum salary cap which is set at KD 500 includes a new condition, reports Al Anba daily quoting a reliable source in the General Department for Residence Affairs.
  • According to the new condition, expatriates who are involved in what is considered as ‘marginal profession’ cannot apply for dependent visa even if they meet the KD 500 salary cap.
  • The minimum salary required to apply for a visit visa for wife and children is KD 250, however, the concerned department has a last say in such issues and can issue a visit visa even if the salary of the sponsor is KD 200.
  • The duration of a visit visa for siblings and parents is one month only, unlike the threemonths given to the wife and children. However, extension of visa in exceptional cases is totally at the discretion and consideration of the General Department for Residence Affairs, whatever the case may be, including health issues.

 

Pakistan

 

  1.  “PM Imran Khan Assures Multiple On-Arrival Visas For Sikh Pilgrims”, The News, September 2, 2019
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced that his government would issue multiple and onarrival visas to the Sikh community and provide them maximum possible facilities during pilgrimage to their holy sites.
  • “I assure that you will be issued multiple visas… This is our responsibility. We will facilitate you rather will give you visas at airport," the prime minister said addressing the International Sikh Convention here at the Governor House.
  • The prime minister said after coming into power, his government realized the difficulties faced by foreigners to get Pakistani visas intending to visit the country for pilgrimage or tourism.
  • "Though our government has changed the visa regime, the mindset of creating hurdles will gradually diminish," he added.

 

  1.  “Pakistan May Introduce Two Categories For Sikh Pilgrims Seeking Visas To Visit”, The Economic Times, September 6, 2019
  • Pakistan has decided to categorise Sikh pilgrims, seeking to visit Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur, into devotees from India and from the rest of the world, a media report said on Friday.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for the Sikh pilgrims, applying to visit Kartarpur, the Dawn newspaper reported.
  • "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be entertained by the ministry; one would be for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world, while the other would be for Sikh pilgrims based in India," the report said.
  • An amendment in the policy to make room for the proposed steps will be sought by the foreign ministry from the Cabinet, it said.

 

  1. Pakistan To Waive Off Visa Fees Of Chinese CPEC Workers”, Khaleej Times, September 7, 2019
  • The Pakistan government is set to waive off $257,692 visa fees of 2,511 Chinese nationals working on development projects under the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the media reported on Saturday.
  • The waiver would be a onetime dispensation to Chinese nationals to change their visit visas into work visas in Pakistan free of charge

 

Saudi Arabia

 

  1.  “First Batch of Umrah Pilgrims Accorded Traditional Welcome”, Saudi Gazette, September 2, 2019
  • The first Umrah flight this season landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Sunday coming from Malaysia carrying the first batch of the Umrah pilgrims for the new season which will continue until after next Ramadan. The pilgrims were accorded a traditional welcome with roses and Zamzam water which they appreciated.
  • Abdulaziz Wazzan, undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah for the affairs of the Umrah, said a number of various electronic services being extended by the ministry have facilitated the procedures of obtaining Umrah visas.
  • He explained that the visas were being electronically issued in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Information Center of the Interior Ministry.
  • Wazzan said through the eportal of the ministry, the pilgrims will be able to review the services to be provided to them and will subsequently choose the service provider so as to sign an agreement with him.

 

  1.  “Saudi E-Tourist Visas Set To Take Effect On September 27”, GDN Online, September 3, 2019
  • The newlyintroduced electronic tourist visas are set to come into force on September 27, according to Saudi Okaz daily newspaper.
  • The new evisas will be granted to tourists and visitors from 51 countries worldwide – on payment of fee SR440, including medical insurance.
  • The 90day entry visas can be obtained from the Foreign Ministry’s portal, on arrival at Saudi Airports or from the airport customs offices.

 

OCEANIA

 

Guam

 

  1. Amanda Dedicatoria, “Pacquiao Backs Guam Visa Waiver For The Philippines”, PNC News First, September 5, 2019
  • Philippine senator and professional boxer Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao has expressed his support for the government of Guam’s push to persuade the U.S. government to grant visa waivers for Filipinos who wish to travel to the island.
  • According to a release, Pacquiao as well as Rufus Bautista Rodriguez, a representative from Cagayan de Oro City, expressed their support for the initiative.
  • Carl Gutierrez, the governor’s chief advisor on economic development, national & international affairs, met with officials in the Philippines to form a task force to add the Philippines to the list of countries whose passport holders are allowed visafree passage to Guam and the CNMI.
  • The task force would also help the Philippines get back on the list of countries whose residents can be fasttracked for H-2A and H-2B worker visas as the island prepares for the military buildup.

 

Papua New Guinea

 

  1.  “New eVisa Products Introduced”, Loop, September 3, 2019
  • Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha announced the introduction of seven new electronic visa classes that are available online on the Immigration and Citizenship Authority website.
  • Kantha stated that anyone who wants to visit Papua New Guinea, and depending on their purpose of visit, can apply online for the following eVisas: Restricted Employment Visa (REV); Sports person; Tourist (Own Itineary); Tourist Tour Package; Visiting Relatives; Yacht person and Foreign Official – Short Term visa.
  • The introduction of these seven new eVisa products is a demonstration of ICA’s commitment to improve travel facilitation and generate revenue for the country.

 

Australia

 

  1. Rosemary Bolger, “Skilled Migration Visa List Shake-Up To Meet Growing Demand For Foreign Workers”, SBS News, September 4, 2019
  • The government has pledged to overhaul its skilled migration system to drive economic growth and meet increasing demand for foreign workers in some sectors. 
  • The government will review the skilled migration occupation lists to determine which jobs can be filled by overseas workers.
  • The review of the lists, which were last updated in March, will also focus on ensuring there are enough workers to support the government's 10year $100 billion infrastructure program.

 

 

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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.