HLG Weekly Newsletter

Mar 06,2017
South Africa

1. “Visa-Free Travel to the EU for South Africans Still on the Cards”, Business Tech, March 1, 2017


  • According to [Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba], the EU was looking at the relaxation or elimination of its visa requirements for South African passport holders after meeting with European Union Ambassador Marcus Cornaro late last year. Measures being looked at include the feasibility of multiple-entry visas for SA business travellers to the EU, as well as full exemptions for South African leisure travellers.
  • At the time, Gigaba indicated that the new regulations could be introduced as early as March 2017, but the process is still ongoing. In a follow-up on the new proposals, home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete confirmed that the visa-free travel for South Africans is still currently in the works.



2. Scott Gilmore, “The American Dream Has Moved to Canada”, Maclean’s, February 28, 2017


  • Every aspect of the American dream is now more easily found in Canada. In the United States, 46 per cent of the population has been able to obtain a college degree—in Canada it’s 59 per cent. After graduation, Canadians are more likely to find work, with an employment rate four points better. You are more likely to afford a house with a white picket fence in Canada, where home ownership rates are five per cent higher.
  • The Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index considers Canadians to be the sixth freest people in the world, while Americans limp in at 23rd, behind Poland. The conservative Heritage Foundation, based in Washington, ranks Canada and the U.S. seventh and 17th respectively for economic freedom. In Canada, you are twice as likely to move from the poorest quintile of the population to the wealthiest.


3. Nicholas Keung, “Ontario Extends Immigration Application Deadline After Website Crashes”, Toronto Star, February 28, 2017


  • The Provincial Nominee Program reopened last Tuesday after a one-year suspension, which led to a surge of traffic on the government website The website crashed as applicants scrambled to compete for one of the 6,000 spots open for 2017.
  • A week later, officials have finally revised the deadline from seven to 14 calendar days to allow registered applicants to submit their full applications through the website. The ministry website generated more than 117,000 visits within three days when the nominee program started accepting applications. Once the annual quota was met, the system automatically stopped taking applications.


4. Daniel Tencer, “Canada a Top Destination in Great Migration of World’s Rich”, Huffington Post, February 28, 2017


  • Canada is a top destination in this great migration, taking in almost as many millionaires last year as the U.S. did. The number-one destination was Australia (12,000 millionaire immigrants) with the U.S. in second place and Canada third.
  • Inflows to Canada “were boosted by large-scale immigration from China into Vancouver,” New World Wealth analyst Andrew Amoils told HuffPost Canada in an email. “There was also significant HNWI inflows from Europe into Toronto and Montreal.” The consultancy notes that investor immigrant visa programs are becoming more popular around the world.



1. Marilia Brocchetto, “Mexico Opens Immigrant Defense Centers at its US Consulates”, CNN, March 5, 2017


  • Mexico on Saturday formally began operating centers for the defense of Mexican immigrants in its 50 consulates and embassies in the United States. The centers "are specifically designed to provide consular assistance as well as legal representation to all Mexican migrants who require support in America," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
  • In January, Nieto said his country would guarantee immigrants in the United States had access to protection. "The Mexican offices in the United States will turn into defenders of the rights of Mexican immigrants," he said in a video posted on the President's website. Mexican consulates and embassies will also start to produce birth certificates for Mexican immigrants who don't have one.


United States

6. Nayamina Basu, “Rich Indians Taking EB-5 Visa Route as US Shuts Down H-1B”, Hindu Business Line, February 27, 2017


  • EB-5 filings have already seen a record spike this year and India is currently the fourth largest market for EB-5 in the world.
  • The proposed hike in salary to $130,000 from $60,000, which is under consideration by the US government in the H1-B Reform Bill, would also make the H-1B programme inaccessible for most Indian students graduating in the US. As a result, they are opting for the EB-5 programme for long-term employment opportunities.


7. Zahraa Alkhalisi, “Trump Triggers a Surge in Arab Demand for U.S. Investor Visas”, CNN Money, February 28, 2017


  • Wealthy Arabs are rushing to sign up for a U.S. program offering investors green cards for cash as they try to beat a crackdown on immigration by President Trump.
  • Three companies in Dubai offering legal advice on immigration say they have witnessed a spike in demand for U.S. investment visas since Trump's travel ban -- now blocked by the courts -- on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • Since 2011, nearly 83% of the EB-5 visas issued went to Chinese investors. Less than 2% went to people from the Middle East, according to industry association Invest in the USA. But with Trump likely to unveil a new executive order on immigration any day, interest from the region is surging.


8. Faith Karimi, “US Suspends Expedited Processing of H-1B Visas”, CNN, March 4, 2017


  • The US is temporarily suspending expedited processing of H-1B visas, eliminating the option of shorter wait times for the program that helps highly skilled foreigners work at US companies. The suspension is effective April 3, and could last up to six months, according to USCIS.
  • A bipartisan bill introduced this week in Congress calls for reform of visas for highly skilled workers. The proposed legislation would eliminate the lottery system in favor of a "preference system" created by USCIS to give priority to foreign students educated in the US. In doing so, it would aim to weed out foreign outsourcing firms, which are said to exploit the system.



9. Theodore Koumelis, “Consul General of France Inaugurates France Visa Application Centre in Pune”, Travel Daily News, March 1, 2017


  • The newly relocated France Visa Application Centre was formally inaugurated by Mr Yves Perrin, Consul General of France in Mumbai, on 27 February 2017. Residents of Pune can now apply for visas to multiple countries, including France, under one roof, at the modern and centrally-located Joint Visa Application Centre launched in Viman Nagar, Pune.
  • With a larger space and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the new Joint Visa Application Centre has an increased number of application counters making the visa application process quicker and more convenient for applicants.



10. “Malaysia to Cancel Visa-Free Entry for North Koreans”, Al Jazeera, March 1, 2017


  • Malaysia will cancel visa-free entry for North Koreans entering the country starting next week as diplomatic ties between the two countries fray further following the murder of Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
  • North Koreans will be required to obtain a visa as of March 6 before entering Malaysia for national security reasons, state news agency Bernama reported on Thursday, citing the deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.



11. “Pakistan Ready to Discuss Visa-Free Regime with Malaysia”, Malay Mail Online, March 1, 2017


  • Pakistan is ready for a high level meeting with Malaysia to further discuss a visa-free regime between the two countries, says Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Syed Hassan Raza. He said the abolishment of visa fees would further strengthen ties between the countries, as well as boost people-to-people and business-to-business interaction.
  • On February 25, Malaysian Consul-General in Karachi, Ismail Mohamad Bkri was reported saying there was a need for visa-free regime between Malaysia and Pakistan to enhance the people and business contacts.



12. Pyae Thet Phyo, “Chinese Tourists Second Largest Last Year”, Myanmar Times, March 3, 2017


  • Minister U Ohn Maung said visitors from China made up the second largest number of foreign tourists in Myanmar. “The total number of Chinese visitors last year was 498,656.
  • U Ohn Maung said Myanmar and China had been collaborating in strategic efforts to bolster bilateral ties and promote cross-border tourism in those areas since they signed a tourism pact in 2000. The World Tourism Organisation, projects the Asia-Pacific region to woo 540 million tourists by 2030, making up 30 percent of the world tourism market.



13. “Thailand Extends Visa Fee Waiver Scheme for Tourists From 21 Countries”, The Phuket News, February 28, 2017


  • The extension of the visa incentives for tourists for a further six months was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and was approved at the weekly Cabinet Meeting earlier this month.
  • The new period, lasting until Aug 31, will mean that travellers applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies or Thai Consulates abroad will not have to pay any fees for entry visas, while the fees for visas on arrival have been reduced from B2,000 to B1,000 per person.


European Union

14. James Kanter, “E.U. Lawmakers Call for End to Visa-Free Travel for Americans”, New York Times, March 3, 2017


  • The European Parliament has passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the reintroduction of visa requirements for American citizens, raising the stakes in a long-running battle over the United States’ refusal to grant visa-free access to citizens of five European Union countries.
  • The resolution, while nonbinding, was an important political signal, and it increases pressure on the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, to confront the new administration in Washington, even though it may prove to be as intransigent on the matter as the Obama administration, if not more.
  • The European Parliament also warned that it could take the further step of bringing the European Commission to court if it continues not to stand up to Washington. In the vote on Thursday, the Parliament gave the European Commission two months to take legal measures to impose visas for American travelers to the European Union unless the Americans offered reciprocity to all citizens from the bloc.



15. “EU Member States Back Visa-Free Travel for Georgia”, Deutsche Welle, February 27, 2017


  • EU member states approved visa-free travel for Georgian citizens for a period of 90 days in any 180-day period. The agreement effectively places Georgia into a separate category, allowing its citizens to travel to the 26 countries of the Schengen area.
  • "This agreement will bring the people of Georgia and the EU closer together and will strengthen tourism and business ties," said Malta's National Security Minister, Carmelo Abela.



16. “No Language Test for Elderly Jews Vying for Spanish Citizenship”, Haaretz, March 1, 2017


  • Spanish authorities dispensed with language and culture tests for elderly applicants for citizenship under the country’s law of return for Sephardi Jews.
  • The Spanish Justice Ministry decided to offer the dispensation from tests on the Spanish language and heritage, which were mandated for citizenship applicants under the 2013 law, after it emerged that the tests effectively barred hundreds of elderly Turkish Jews from exercising their right to a Spanish passport.



17. “Ukraine Moves Step Closer to Visa-Free Travel in EU”, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, March 1, 2017


  • Negotiators for the European Parliament and European Union member states have reached a deal to allow Ukrainian citizens to enter Schengen zone countries without a visa. Ukrainian citizens who have biometric passports will be able to enter for up to 90 days during any 180-day period, the parliament said in a statement on March 1. The entry is valid for business trips, tourism, or family stays.
  • European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier this month that visa liberalization between the EU and Ukraine is expected to come into force this summer. The deal still has to be endorsed by parliament as a whole and the EU states.


United Kingdom

18. Ashley Kirk, “UK Population to be the Largest in Europe by 2050, Driven by Immigration and an Ageing Population”, The Telegraph, March 3, 2017


  • The population of the UK will be the largest in Europe by 2050, overtaking France and Germany, mainly due to an ageing population and immigration. The UK has seen more births than deaths in every year since 1976, helping drive the population to 65m, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. This figure will soar to 76m in 2045.
  • The growth of net migration has increased the population by more than 250,000 people per year on average from 2004 to 2015. This is about 50,000 more people per year than natural change for the same period.



19. Tom Peck, “Brexit: Ending Free Movement Will Not Reduce Immigration, Peers Warn”, The Independent, March 6, 2017


  • Ending the free movement of people from EU countries after Brexit may not result in lower overall migration, a committee of peers has warned. The wide-ranging assessment says: “Restoration of national control over EU migration may or may not, therefore, deliver a reduction in overall net migration.”
  • The report makes the case for a “two-way agreement” with the EU on migration, which would involve offering preferential treatment to EU nationals in return for reciprocal approach to UK nationals in the EU. Baroness Prashar, chair of the committee, said: “The precise manner in which the Government proposes to ‘end’ free movement is a pivotal aspect of the United Kingdom’s approach to negotiations with the European Union and could have far-reaching consequences for the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.”



20. Marty Silk, “Migration to Fuel Ageing Australia: Report”, News Australia, March 2, 2017


  • Commonwealth Bank chief interest rate strategist Jarrod Kerr, the co-author of a report on the impact of migrants on economic growth, said one of the most important growth drivers for nations is population.
  • In Australia though, a huge annual intake of immigrants means the economy has a steady supply of young people to fill the gaps left by those retiring, he said. Australia took in 478,557 migrants with a median age of 26.5 years in 2013/14, according to the most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.



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