MEDIA

HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 03.12.2019

Dec 03,2019

AFRICA

 

Namibia

 

  1. Namibia Announces Visa-On-Arrival For UAE Nationals”, Khaleej Times, November 28, 2019
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Thursday announced that UAE citizens who are holders of diplomatic, VIP and ordinary passports can travel to the Republic of Namibia and obtain a visa upon arrival - at Hosea Kutako Airport - and stay for up to 90 days. The ministry added that this decision is currently in a trial phase.
  • UAE citizens wishing to travel to Namibia are required to complete a visa application form upon arrival and pay a fee of 1,080 Namibian Dollars (approx. Dh269).
  • They may also extend their stay while in Namibia after submitting valid reasons for the renewal and paying an administrative fee of 80 Namibian Dollars.

 

South Africa

 

  1. Kiruti Itimu, “South Africa Will Begin Testing E-Visa Access For Kenyans From This Month”, Techweez, November 22, 2019
  • South Africa will begin testing their new electronic visa system this November starting with Kenyan nationals, which is good news for Kenyans.
  • “The pilot will be conducted with Kenya first at the OR Tambo and Lanseria airports,” Siya Qoza, a spokesperson for the South African Department of Home affairs said. “At the end of the month, we will evaluate the project and look which other countries to expand the e-Visa system to.”
  • The new application system will eliminate the need to go to a South Africa embassy or consulate to obtain a visa.

 

AMERICA

 

United States

 

  1. Ethan Baron, “H-1B Visa: Rule To Ban H-1B Spouses From Working “Coming In March,” Homeland Security Says”, The Mercury News, November 20, 2019
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will publish in March a proposed rule to strip work authorization from spouses of H-1B visa holders, the agency said Wednesday in the latest federal government rule-making agenda.
  • A Department of Justice memo that said the planned rule could be published as early as spring 2020.

 

ASIA

 

Japan

 

  1. Marie Sahori, “Less Paperwork For Chinese Visitors As Japan Allows Online Visas”, Nikkei Asian Review, November 28, 2019
  • Foreign travellers will be allowed to apply online for visas needed to visit Japan starting next fiscal year, part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic procedures paperless and more convenient, Nikkei has learned.
  • Citizens of China and other countries that send many visitors to Japan will be eligible for the program. Currently, visitors from 68 countries and regions, including the U.S., U.K. and South Korea, are exempt from the visa requirement. But those from such nations as Russia and Brazil need to acquire visas.
  • The effort to cut bureaucratic paperwork will also benefit Japanese citizens, who will be allowed to apply for passports online starting as early as fiscal 2024.

 

Thailand

 

  1. May Taylor, “Visa-On-Arrival Passengers From 18 Countries Can Now Apply Online”, The Thaiger November 20, 2019
  • Visitors from 18 countries, entitled to visas-on-arrival, are being advised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to apply online for their e-visa. Thai Residents reports that nationals of Bhutan, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu are all exempt from paying the 2,000 baht fee for visas-on-arrival for visits of less than 15 days’ duration.
  • Applicants will need to complete an online form, scan and upload the required paperwork, pay any fees online and then download the approved visa and present it to Immigration officials on arrival at Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Phuket or Chiang Mai international airports.

 

  1. Thailand Adds To Requirements For Visas”, Taipei Times, November 30, 2019
  • Starting next month, individual travelers from Taiwan visiting Thailand would be required to provide financial details to obtain a visitor’s visa, local travel agencies said yesterday.
  • On Nov. 12, the Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei announced that it was implementing an e-visa application and e-payment system from today, with those who hold Republic of China passports required to apply for a visa online and to schedule an appointment to submit their passports in person at the office.
  • The office said that it would cease to accept walk-in visa applications without an online appointment.

 

Singapore

 

  1. No Visa Required For Hong Kong Passport Holders To Enter Singapore, ICA Clarifies”, The Straits Times, November 21, 2019
  • Contrary to false claims circulating on WhatsApp and social media, Hong Kong passport holders do not need to apply for a visa to enter Singapore, the Republic's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Thursday (Nov 21).
  • The ICA said in a statement that there has not been a change to the existing policy for both Hong Kong passport and document of identity holders.

 

South Korea

 

  1. Lee Suh-yoon, “S. Korea Eases Visa Rules For Industry, Academic Professionals”, The Korea Times, November 18, 2019
  • Visa issuance requirements will be eased for foreigners with specialized skills in specific fields, and academic professionals planning to teach here, while companies failing to pay the appropriate taxes will not be allowed to invite foreign workers until they do so, according to the government, Monday.
  • According to the changes, which took effect Monday, foreigners holding specialized skills in the fields of industrial materials, parts and equipment will be able to apply for and receive their working visa online, an option that was previously only open to university professors, researchers, and professionals and workers in designated "high-tech" sectors.
  • The change eliminates the need to visit a South Korean embassy and shortens the application period from an average of one month to a week.

 

Vietnam

 

  1. Foreigners Allowed To Change Visa Status While In Vit Nam: NA”, Eleven Media Group, November 27, 2019
  • The National Assembly (NA) on Monday voted for amendments to the immigration law, for the first time allowing visitors to change their visa status and prolong their stays in Vit Nam without having to fly out of the country. The law will come into effect on July 1 next year, allowing visitors to apply to change their visas under a number of circumstances.
  • Visitors who can prove they are investors or representatives of foreign organisations that make legal investments in Vit Nam will be allowed to have their purpose of visit switched during their stay in the country.
  • Family members of invitees will also enjoy the same advantage.
  • Foreign workers who receive job offers in Vit Nam or enter the country on e-visas will be able to change their visa status as long as they have a work permit or confirmation they are exempt from a work permit.

 

EUROPE

 

Belarus

 

  1. EU To Sign Visa Facilitation Agreement With Belarus”, Schengen Visa Info, November 20, 2019
  • The Council of the European Union has authorized the signing of an agreement with Belarus to facilitate the visa procedures and lower the fees for nationals of the latter traveling to the Schengen Zone.
  • The main purpose of the agreement is to facilitate the issuance of visas for an intended stay of a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period on the basis of reciprocity, for both the EU block and Belarus.
  • After the visa facilitation plans come into force Belarus passport holder traveling to the Schengen territory for short-term purposes as tourism and business will have to pay a visa fee of €35 instead of €60 as it is now.

 

  1. Ozgur Tore, “Belarus To Expand Visa-Free Zones, Simplify Entry For Foreigners”, FTN News, November 27, 2019
  • Belarus plans to simplify entry rules for foreigners willing to enter the country via regional airports and land border checkpoints.
  • Belarusian Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi said, “We plan to expand our visa-free zones, simplify the entry for foreign visitors via regional airports and land border checkpoints.” The government also hopes the Belarusian-Russian mutual visa recognition agreement will be signed soon. The move will promote business contacts.
  • Foreigners do not need visas to enter Belarus and stay in the country for up to 30 days, provided they enter the country via the Minsk National Airport.

 

European Union

 

  1. Schengen Countries To Start Using New Schengen Visa Sticker By December 21”, Schengen Visa Info, November 28, 2019
  • All travelers granted with a Schengen visa to any of the Member Countries after December 21, will get a different sticker to those that most Schengen countries currently affix to the passports of third-country nationals in need of short-term visas to the European borderless territory.
  • After the Council Regulation (EC) No 1683/95 (2) laid down a uniform format for visas asserting that the common design for the visa sticker is considered to be compromised in view of serious incidents of counterfeiting and fraud.  The current design of the visa sticker has been in circulation for 20 years now.
  • “A new common design should, therefore, be established with more modern security features to render the visa sticker more secure and to prevent forgery,” the Council had asserted at the time.

 

Finland

 

  1. Finland To Reduce Time For Grant Of Work Visas To Under Two Weeks”, Business Standard, November 21, 2019
  • The Finnish government plans to reduce the time taken to grant work visas to just one to two weeks by next year, the country's Minister of Employment, Harakka, said on Thursday.
  • "For these expert visas and for these expert work permits, which require a certain (level of) income, but are also on the express lane on permits, we are aiming to get these things handled in one or two weeks," the minister said.
  • "We are looking to shorten the time frame. This we can achieve next year because we are shifting the whole process of immigration - work-based and study-based immigration - to my Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment from the Interior Ministry," he added.

 

Ukraine

 

  1. Ukraine Cancels Free Long-Term Visas For Estonian Citizens”, ERR, November 22, 2019
  • In response to a similar move made by Estonia, Ukraine has decided to no longer issue long-term visas to Estonian citizens for free.
  • The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the relevant order on Nov. 15. With this order, the Cabinet canceled a July 18, 2018 order on the issuing of long-term visas to Estonian citizens to enter Ukraine, according to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided reciprocity for long-term visas at a zero-tariff rate for the consular fee.
  • The Estonian government decided in September to discontinue the issuance of free long-term visas to citizens of Ukraine and Belarus as of Nov. 1.

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

Bahrain

 

  1. Bahrain Reveals Changes In Self-Sponsorship Expat Visas”, Zawya, November 19, 2019
  • Bahrain has halved the amount of BD100,000 required for expatriates to invest in the country to be eligible to obtain self-sponsorship status.
  • Foreigners holding a minimum BD50,000 stake in any financial, trade, industrial, tourism projects or any other business or investment schemes can apply for self-sponsorship residence visas.
  • Entry visas and self-sponsorship residence permits will also be granted to retired expatriates who hail from countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for electronic online visas, said Cabinet secretary general Dr Yasser Al Nasser.
  • Bahrain has also waived entry fees for Thai tourists, in keeping with the principle of reciprocity between the two countries.

 

Jordan

 

  1. Jordan Reduces Travel Restrictions On Holders Of US, UK, EU Visas”, MEMO Middle East Monitor, November 18, 2019
  • Jordan Interior Minister Salameh Hammad announced that visas to Jordan can be obtained through Jordanian diplomatic missions abroad or border posts upon arrival for “restricted” Arab and foreign nationalities.
  • The ministry has also decided to continue to allow Syrian nationals residing in the GCC countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, as well as investors who hold an investor card and their families to enter Jordan without the need for prior approval.
  • The decision stipulate that the traveller should have a valid residence permit in the country in which they live or a six months visa and a return ticket, and that the purpose of visit to Jordan is not work.

 

Kazakhstan

 

  1. Pedro Goncalves, “Kazakhstan To Launch Investor Visa Programme”, International Investment, November 20, 2019
  • Kazakhstan is set to launch an investment residence programme that will offer multi-entry visas to foreign investors and their families when they invest in the country as well as additional tax privileges.
  • It is envisaged that potential investors will have several options to invest their funds, including securities traded on Astana International Exchange, the newly created stock exchange operating in the AIFC. At the same time, it is contemplated that program participants may opt to become tax residents of Kazakhstan on  and  will be eligible to for tax exemption of their income received from sources located outside of Kazakhstan in return for paying a fixed annual fee. Income generated within the country will be taxed in accordance with the tax code.
  • The programme is currently being discussed in Parliament and should be available for investors in the second half of 2020.

 

  1. Kazakhstan Considering To Ease Visa Rules For Iranians”, Tehran Times, November 24, 2019
  • Kazakhstan is expected to sign a visa facilitation agreement with Iran in the spring of 2020, based on which Iranian tourist groups will be granted entry visas without the need to invitation [letter from the host]. Moreover, 90-day visas will be issued for Iranian businessmen and traders, ISNA quoted the envoy as saying on Saturday.
  • The agreement will not make a change in visa fees, which has been $60 for nationals from all countries, he noted.

 

Oman

 

  1. Ashley Hammond, “Apply Online And Arrive Early, Oman Consulate Tells Expats”, Gulf News, November 18, 2019
  • Officials at the Oman Consulate in Dubai say you can still get tourist visas on arrival at the border ahead of the long weekend from November 29 to December 3, but it is advised to apply for eVisas well in advance to avoid delays.
  • “Royal Oman Police reiterates that there has been no change to the current procedures and the granting of Omani visas remains the same. Tourists wishing to visit Oman may still obtain a visa on arrival at all the Omani border posts but are urged to rather obtain an eVisa in advance to save both time and money. You can apply and find all the visa conditions in: https//evisa.rop.gov.om – www.rop.gov.om.

 

Qatar

 

  1. Qatar To Open Two More Visa Centres: Envoy”, The News, November 23, 2019
  • Consul General of Qatar Mishal Muhammad Ali Al Ansari has said two Qatari visa centres were already operational in Karachi and Islamabad, while two more would be established in Peshawar and Lahore in future for processing visas of mostly skilled and semi-skilled labours.
  • Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said, “Around 150,000 Pakistanis are living in Qatar as compared to around 40,000 Pakistani expats just four years ago.” The envoy said Qatar has initiated visa on arrival service for all Pakistanis, and Qataris were also benefiting from a similar visa on arrival facility during their visit to Pakistan.

 

Saudi Arabia

 

  1.  “Saudi Arabia Set To Begin Issuing Instant Work Visas”, Arabian Business,  November 20, 2019
  • Saudi Arabia is to launch an instant work-visa service from next month, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
  • The service will be available through the country’s Qiwa platform, which is designed specifically to help small businesses.
  • Ahmed Al-Rajhi made the announcement during a meeting with entrepreneurs from Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he reiterated the commitment of the government to provide help to small businesses in the kingdom, along with a framework to assist with the push for Saudisation.

 

  1.  “Saudi Arabia Attracts 50,000 Tourists Since Easing Visa Rules”, Saudi Gazette,  November 24, 2019
  • Over 50,000 tourists have visited Saudi Arabia since the Kingdom eased visa regulations for visitors in September.
  • This figure is almost three times that number applied for tourist visas officials hope will diversify an oil-dependent economy, Al-Madina daily said in a report on Sunday.
  • British tourists, followed by Chinese, were the top visitors, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), has said. About 140,000 people requested tourist visas, he said.

 

  1. Saudi Arabia, UAE Plan Joint Visit Visas To Boost Tourism”, Arab News, November 29, 2019
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Thursday signed a raft of agreements which included a deal to issue joint visit visas for residents of both countries in a bid to boost tourism.
  • According to the UAE’s official news agency WAM, the accord, among six initiatives highlighted during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the UAE, was part of a cooperation deal between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and the UAE’s Ministry of Economy.
  • The agreement will allow for the speeding up of the flow of traffic at ports of entry between the two countries.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1. Pedro Goncalves, Dubai Has Up To 200 Golden Visas For African Investors”, International Investment, November 20, 2019
  • Dubai is set to grant up to 200 UAE golden visa permanent residency visas to "prominent" African investors under a new initiative to strenghten ongoing efforts to attract and retain high net worth businessmen from Africa to the Emirate.
  • The initiative aims to improve investor confidence in Dubai by providing more certainty and flexibility for African investors and their families who plan to live or travel to Dubai. It move is also expected to facilitate and boost investment flows between Dubai and Africa.

 

  1.  “Prominent Businessmen To Receive UAE Golden Residency Visas”, Gulf News, November 19, 2019
  • The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Chamber, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, GDRFA, and the Dubai Free Zone Council to launch the "Be Part of Dubai" initiative, which will see prominent businessmen receive UAE Golden Residency Visas.
  • The MoU, signed at a launch ceremony held on the sidelines of the Global Business Forum Africa 2019 in Dubai, supports ongoing efforts to attract and retain high-net-worth investors from Africa by providing them with an easy and streamlined way to obtain long-term visa residency visas.
  • Dr Al Zarooni said, "The ‘Be Part of Dubai' initiative aligns with our efforts to attract high-net-worth individuals to Dubai who can make a significant contribution to the emirate's economy, in addition to enhancing the confidence of investors by providing them and their families with more flexibility in terms of livelihood and transportation

 

OCEANIA

 

Australia

 

  1. Migrants Required To Live In Regional Australia Under New Visa Scheme”, Xinhuanet, November 19, 2019
  • The Australian government has launched its new visa scheme aimed at luring more migrants to rural areas. According to the rules of new regional visas launched recently, migrants to Australia must spend at least three years living in regional Australia before they can apply for permanent residency. But it opens to the door for overseas workers from a wider range of occupations than before, with jobs including real estate agents, actors, historians and call center managers added to the eligible list.
  • The government is hopeful that the new scheme will boost population growth in regions where it has stagnated while relieving significant population pressures in major cities.

 

  1. Temporary Migrant Visas Issued For 2.2 Million”, The Australian, November 29, 2019
  • Labor has called for an urgent examination of the temporary visa regime following new ­analysis that reveals the number of ­migrants on the visas has jumped from 1.8 million to 2.2 million in the past four years.
  • According to a report from the Australian Population Research Institute, almost a fifth of the ­nation’s cleaners, store packers, and food and hospitality workers are on temporary migrant visas.

New Zealand

 

  1. Gill Bonnett, “New Visa Conditions To Join Partner In New Zealand