HLG Weekly Newsletter

Feb 27,2017

1. “Egypt Puts Off Raising Entry Visa Fee for Visitors”, Arab News, February 27, 2017


  • Egyptian officials say plans to increase charges for entry visas paid by foreign visitors arriving in the country have been put off until July 1.
  • The officials say the postponement was made at the request of leaders of the tourism sector who warned that introducing the higher charges now — from $25 up to $60 — would further hurt the struggling sector as the off-season approaches.



2. Aggrey Mutambo, “Kenya and UAE Sign Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomats”, Daily Nation, February 25, 2017


  • Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Thursday met with Emirati State Minister for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimy in Abu Dhabi where the two officials signed an MoU to remove visa requirements for diplomatic passport holders as well as grant them multiple entries.
  • With many Kenyans travelling to Dubai, the largest emirate in the UAE, for business or professional work, the gulf nation established a visa centre in Nairobi to cater for this demand.


Antigua & Barbuda

3. Martina Johnson, “Changes to CIP in the OECS Could Benefit Antigua & Barbuda”, Antigua Observer, February 22, 2017


  • The outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, Chisanga Chekwe, said the decision of other countries offering Citizenship by Investment Programmes to lower their fees under the National Development Fund (NDF) option, could turn out to be good for Antigua & Barbuda.
  • “I do think, ironically, that the decision by some jurisdictions to lower the contribution to the national development fund is, for Antigua & Barbuda, a blessing in disguise because it has allowed us to focus more on business investors and investors in real estate,” Chekwe said.


4. “Antigua-Barbuda Implements Recommended Diplomatic Regulatory Framework”, Caribbean News Now, February 23, 2017


  • The recent decision by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda to approve a new policy on diplomatic representation and accreditation was based in part on the Global Investor Immigration Council’s (GIIC) regulatory recommendations.
  • The GIIC made the regulatory recommendations to increase the transparency and accountability of diplomatic appointments’ work with the country’s citizenship by investment program (CIP). Mykolas Rambus, chairman of the GIIC said that, for countries with citizenship by investment programs, diplomatic figures are of even greater importance.
  • “Conscious of preserving the integrity and standing of diplomatic and other passports of Antigua and Barbuda, the government has implemented even more rigorous appointment procedures including expanded due diligence and monitoring practices,” he said. “Antigua and Barbuda has clearly taken steps to advance the reputation of the country and improve the performance of its citizenship by investment program.”



5. “Ontario Continuing to Welcome Newcomers with Expanded and Modernized Immigration Programs”, Government of Ontario, February 16, 2017


  • Ontario is continuing to help businesses attract the talented people they need to compete globally by accepting more skilled newcomers than ever before through its successful Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
  • Recognizing the success of the OINP and its importance to Ontario's economy, the federal government has increased the province's 2017 allocation by 500 nominees to a total of 6,000. Through the OINP, Ontario is able to nominate people for permanent resident status. Nominees include skilled workers, international students, experienced entrepreneurs, and key staff of established foreign corporations seeking to expand into Ontario.


6. “Estimated 8,000 Millionaires Immigrated to Canada Last Year, Report Says”, CBC, February 23, 2017


  • Canada attracted an estimated 8,000 millionaires last year, trailing only Australia and the United States on the list of top destinations, according to a recent report from New World Wealth. New World Wealth said the inflows into Canada were boosted by large-scale migration from China into Vancouver, and from Europe into Toronto and Montreal.
  • Improved education and higher personal safety were the main drivers when those wealthy people sought out a new destination, Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told CNBC. "They want the best schools for their children and to feel safe," he said. "Climate, health care and cleanliness all follow those top two."



7. “Grenada Real Estate Continues to Surge”, Caribbean Journal, February 19, 2017


  • Grenada real estate continues to surge, according to the latest report from Century21 in Grenada. After sales volume rose by 71 percent in Grenada in 2015, the country’s real estate market set another new high with 23 percent growth in 2016, according to the report.
  • Grenada real estate transactions totaled just over $50 million last year, up from $40.7 million in 2015. The St. George area comprised over 70 percent of the country’s transactions, while northern parishes like St. John, St. Mark and St. Patrick contributed a combined 6 percent.



8. Li Ning, “China to Launch New Version of Green Card by Year End”, Global Times, February 24, 2017


  • China is planning to update its permanent residence card in a bid to make it more convenient and enhance its function of identification, the country's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) decided so after a joint study with 20 other ministries and departments in recent days.
  • The new version of card is scheduled to be launched before the end of 2017. With enhanced usability, the card will provide more convenience for the foreigners.
  • Thanks to China's increased efforts to reform the permanent residence policies, more foreigners are pouring in China. Statistics showed that the ministry issued 1,576 green cards in 2016, an increase of 163 percent over 2015.



9. “No Cap on Visa, Indian Students Free to Access Education in UK, says British Envoy”, Huffington Post India, February 22, 2017


  • British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said that the UK had announced 600 scholarships for Indian students aspiring to study in the UK. "UK has no cap on visas for students from India or anywhere else. All are treated same. Whoever comes will join almost half a million international students who come in the UK to access word-class education in the world-class universities," he said.
  • Asquith also said that the UK is participating in several initiatives of the Indian government to promote skilling. He said the UK is already investing and supporting about 75 start-up businesses and they provided access to financial services to women in India.

10. “Malaysia to Open Visa Processing Centre in Xiamen”, Free Malaysia Today, February 25, 2017


  • The government has approved the opening of a visa processing centre in Xiamen, China, to get at least one million tourists from Fujian province this year. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he will direct the Immigration Department and related vendors to operate the visa processing centre.
  • Zahid, who is also home minister, warned that appropriate action would be taken against those found to be abusing the visas given. The new visa processing centre in Xiamen is the fifth in China after Guangzhou, Kunming, Shanghai and Beijing.



11. “Cabinet Extends Visa-Free Waiver Till August”, The Nation, February 22, 2017


  • The Cabinet has decided to extend the free-visa incentive for foreign tourists by another six months. Under the measure, visa fees will be waived at all Thai embassies and consulates until August, though visas on arrival will still cost Bt1,000.
  • On Tuesday, Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that waiving visa fees from December to February 28 had resulted in a 12-per-cent increase in foreign arrivals.



12. “Turkey, Ukraine to Sign Visa-Free Travel Agreement in Ankara – Foreign Minister”, Sputnik News, February 24, 2017


  • Ukraine and Turkey plan to sign an agreement to further simplify travel between the two countries during an upcoming visit by Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.
  • "This is a very important document, given the fact that only 30 percent of Ukrainians have foreign travel passports. The new agreement will allow Turkish resorts to attract a large number of tourists from a range of Ukrainian regions," Cavusoglu said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.



13. “Number of Belarus’ Visa-Free Visitors Exceeds 1,000”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, February 20, 2017


  • The number of foreigners opting for visiting Belarus visa-free has already exceeded 1,000, BelTA learned from official representative of the State Border Committee Anton Bychkovsky.
  • Among the visa-free visitors are 176 citizens of Germany, 163 from Poland, 112 from Italy. A total of 1,108 people from 46 countries have visited the country visa-free so far.
  • As BelTA reported, the five-day visa-free entry to Belarus was launched on 12 February. The new regulations apply to citizens of 39 countries of Europe, including the entire European Union, as well as Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, Canada, Japan, and other countries.



14. “EU Ambassadors Support Visa-Free Travel for Georgiansq”, Agenda Georgia, February 22, 2017


  • European Union (EU) ambassadors have given the green light to the lifting of visa-requirements for Georgians and for the suspension mechanism to be implemented today at a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
  • The draft regulation has now to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers on February 28. The text will then be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU before and enter into force twenty days after its publication.


15. Kamila Aliyeva, “EU, Georgia to Ink Deal on Visa-Free Regime on March 1”, AzerNews, February 24, 2017


  • The signing ceremony of the agreement on visa-free regime between Georgia and the European Union countries will be held in Brussels on March 1, 2017.
  • At first, it was assumed that visa-free regime for Ukraine and Georgia will be discussed in the same package, but Members of European Parliament (MEPs) offered to divide the countries.



16. Philip Chrysopoulos, “Chinese and Russian Investors Top List for ‘Greek Golden Visa’”, Greek Reporter, February 23, 2017


  • Real estate market executives and law firms actively engaged in the “Greek Golden Visa” program met with Enterprise Greece — the program organizers — at the Ministry of Economy on Wednesday. After the meeting it was reported that until January 31, Greece has granted 1,573 residence permits to real estate investors.
  • The total number of visas given, including family members, is 3,809. Specifically, there are 1,580 Chinese, 787 Russians, 211 Iraqis, 203 Lebanese and 179 Egyptians.


United Kingdom

17. “Britain’s Top Court Backs Government on Immigration Income Test”, Cyprus Mail Online, February 22, 2017


  • Britain’s top court backed a government attempt to limit immigration by ruling on Wednesday that an income test for those who want to bring their non-European spouses to the UK is acceptable and does not infringe human rights.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May introduced a rule in 2012 when she was interior minister that Britons who wanted to bring spouses from outside the European Economic Area to the UK had to be earning at least £18,600 a year.
  • The Supreme Court said the minimum income requirement had caused significant hardship to many, but ruled that in principle it was not inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.


United Kingdom

18. Katie Forster, “British Tourists Face US-Style Electronic Visa Scheme When Travelling to EU After Brexit”, The Independent, February 22, 2017


  • Immigration minister Robert Goodwill told Parliament the EU was discussing the possibility of introducing a version of America's Electronic System for Travel Authorisation.
  • But Mr Goodwill replied that it was still too early know if this would apply to British residents visiting the continent after the UK leaves the EU. “It is important that as we negotiate with our European Union friends, that we can get the best possible deal, and we need to take account of developments such as this that they may be working on.”


19. Amon Cohen, “Brexit Expert’s Travel Warnings”, Business Travel News, February 24, 2017


  • Air travel into and out of the U.K. likely will fall 3 to 5 percent by 2020 because of Brexit, KPMG Brexit Centre of Excellence director Rohitesh Dhawan said at the recent Business Travel Show. One reason Dhawan expects business travel to fall will be a loss of jobs from the City of London to other financial centers in the rest of the EU and elsewhere in the world.
  • However, there will be a short-term spike in travel by banks and professional services firms as M&A activity rises. The sharp devaluation of the pound following the June 2016 referendum vote for the U.K. to leave the EU has made British companies an attractive M&A target for businesses based elsewhere in the world.


20. David Sapsted, “EU Workers in UK Rush for Permanent Residence and Citizenship”, Relocate Magazine, February 24, 2017


  • Uncertainty over their position in a post-Brexit Britain has led to increasing numbers of European Union citizens living and working in the UK seeking citizenship or permanent residence certificates, according to official figures
  • Latest Home Office figures show that 16,754 people from EU countries were granted citizenship in the UK in 2016, the second highest figure on record. Some 6,498 people from older member states such as France, Spain and Germany became British citizens, a 50 per cent rise on the total the previous year.
  • The Home Office said some 32,000 permanent residence document applications had been issued in the final quarter of 2016 alone – an increase of 560 per cent on the same period in 2015.


21. Jessica Elgot, “Immigration Will Not Dramatically Fall After Brexit, Says Amber Rudd”, The Guardian, February 26, 2017


  • There will be no dramatic fall in immigration as soon as Britain leaves the EU, the home secretary has suggested, as she announced the government would consult businesses over plans for an immigration system over the summer.
  • Rudd said that was one of a number of options which would be considered, alongside a work permit system where the government would control how many EU citizens could enter the UK every year to take up a job offer with a UK company.
  • The home secretary has previously been thought to prefer a permit system. Theresa May has in effect ruled out a points-based system, which was the stated preferred option of the Vote Leave campaign, including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.



22. Colin Kruger, “Australia Leads the World When it Comes to Millionaire Immigrants”, The Sydney Morning Herald, February 23, 2017


  • Australia attracted more millionaires last year than much larger, and wealthier immigration destinations such as the US, according to a report by South African market research group, New World Wealth.
  • The researcher said the number of migrant millionaires rose to 82,000 last year, compared to 64,000 in 2015. More than 11,000 made their way to Australia, which retained top spot on the list.
  • New World Wealth's head of research, Andrew Amoils, said personal safety and a good education system top the list of priorities for these sought-after immigrants – as well as proximity to Asia. Millionaire migrants, almost all from China, ploughed $3.8 billion into Australian assets since the government created an investor visa category in 2012.


23. Zain Nabi, “Want Australian Permanent Residency? Tasmania Might Be Your Gateway”, SBS News, February 24, 2017


  • Those who want to call Australia home are often left dejected as their line of work does not fall under the government’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL), but Tasmania has provided answer to their problem. In Tasmania, there is no occupation ceiling, so if your occupation is not present in the SOL you still have hundreds of more options. Moreover, the state is also willing to sponsor you.
  • The state has broadened the spectrum to accept applications from candidates whose occupations fall under the State Migration Plan as well as Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL).
  • Applicants must meet both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection requirements and the Tasmanian Government state nomination requirements in order to be eligible for state sponsored visas including, but not limited to, meeting a skills assessment against specified occupations, having a recognised level of English language abilities, and meeting a minimum score on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s ‘Points Test’.


New Zealand

24. Jonathan Underhill, “Next Stop Auckland as Record Immigration Continues”, National Business Review, February 27, 2017


  • Annual net migration rose to 71,305 in the 12 months ended January, eclipsing the record 70,600 set in 2016, Statistics New Zealand says. People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 128,290 to 56,985. Of those arriving, 56,231, or 44% of the total were bound for Auckland, more than four times the number headed for the second-most popular destination of Canterbury with 12,785.
  • Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and travelling for work, reached 3.54 million, up 11% from a year earlier.
  • "Record levels of net migration are continuing to underpin strong growth in New Zealand's population, reinforcing the outlook for demand over 2017," Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod says.



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