- “Lesotho: Pioneering Electronic Visa Program Aimed to Increase Tourism and Investment”, All Africa, July 9th, 2017
- Lesotho is the only independent nation in the world with its entire land mass above 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). Now the country, with a population of 2.1 million and a surface area the size of Belgium, has another distinction – a top-tier electronic visa program, joining only 13 other countries on the continent, according to the African Development Bank's Visa Openness Index.
- “Evisa has eliminated most of the challenges that we were encountering regarding visas. We used to have a manual system, and there were lots and lots of problems. Apart from that, we were losing out on investment and tourism because many people didn't know how to access our visa. And our country was not even known in the world because we didn't know how to advertise.”
- Single entry visa is $150; multiple entries, $250.
- Nivashni Nair, “SA visitors to India now need a visa with biometric validation”, Business Day, July 11th, 2017
- South African travellers to India will now have to go to an application centre to be fingerprinted and photographed for a visa, and will have to first book an appointment online.
- Those applying for visas via the centres in Johannesburg‚ Durban and Cape Town will have to submit the biometric data in person. Those using the evisa service will be fingerprinted and photographed by immigration authorities on landing in India.
- [Ameen] Mahomed said India was a popular destination for South Africans. "Last year we filled just one flight to India with 250 of our clients. That should tell you how many clients we assist a month."
- “Continuing Progress with The Atlantic Immigration Pilot”, Government of Canada, July 11th, 2017
- The Pilot is an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces to attract and retain skilled immigrants and recent Atlantic international graduates with diverse skill sets to meet the unique workforce needs of the region.
- Since the Pilot launched on January 27, 2017, more than 600 Atlantic employers have expressed an interest in becoming designated and about 400 have already received a designation by an Atlantic provincial government.
- These programs give employers significant flexibility in finding the right candidates to meet their specific workforce needs – from forestry software designers under the Atlantic HighSkilled Program, to long-haul truckers and hospitality workers under the Atlantic Intermediate-skilled Program, to recent graduates in medicine, nursing and architecture under the Atlantic International Graduate Program.
- To date, more than 250 skilled immigrants and Atlantic international graduates have been recruited and applied for provincial endorsement. Of these applicants, more than 180 have been endorsed and can apply for permanent residence.
- Jenny Darmody, “Canada attracts top talent with swift visa processes”, Silicon Republic, July 11th, 2017
- While the US cracks down on the number of immigrants with work visas, Canada is using the opportunity to lure top talent.
- Now, Canada appears to be answering those cries for help by making it easier for people to immigrate to the country with a Global Skills Strategy visa programme.
- Highly skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis will now be able to benefit from a speedy, twoweek application process for work permits and temporary resident visas. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependants will also be processed in two weeks when applicable.
- Josh Lowe, “U.S. is Seventh Best Country to Live as an Immigrant, Sweden and Canada Take First and Second Place”, Newsweek, 10th July, 2017
- A global ranking of the best places to live as an immigrant has placed Sweden above Canada and Switzerland, with the U.S. in seventh place behind Australia, Germany and Norway.
- For the immigration rankings, they also looked at the share of migrants in a country’s population, the amount of money migrants in each place were able to send home, and U.N. rankings of integration policies in different countries. Sweden topped the poll, followed by Canada, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Norway and the United States.
- Tunisia, Guatemala and Kenya ranked at the bottom of the 80 countries in the list.
- The research comes after a June report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that urged developed nations to work hard to integrate immigrants to the mutual benefit of host and origin countries.
- “Taiwan announces visa-free entry for allies in Caribbean”, Jamaica Observer, July 13th, 2017
- The Government of Taiwan yesterday announced visafree entry for nationals of its diplomatic allies in the Caribbean with immediate effect.
- According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is being done to “demonstrate the closeness between Taiwan and its allies in the Caribbean” and “the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity”.
- With this development, nationals of Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, St KittsNevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines will be given visa-exempt stays of up to 30 days.
- Meanwhile, nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua will be granted visafree stays of up to 90 days.
- Justin Sink, “Trump Administration Blocks ‘Startup Visas’ That Tech Leaders Backed”, Bloomberg Politics, July 11th, 2017
- The Trump administration said it plans to rescind an Obamaera program that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the U.S. to live in the country, in the president’s latest effort to constrict immigration flows.
- Known as the International Entrepreneur Rule and favored by many in the technology industry, the program would allow nonU.S. citizens who launched companies that won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 in venture capital investment to stay in the U.S. for a renewable 30-month term. Finalized in the last days of the Obama administration, it was set to take effect July 17.
- But the Trump administration on Monday announced it would delay the program until next March as the Department of Homeland Security launches an additional review of the socalled “startup visa.” A notice the department issued indicates that in the interim the administration will propose rescinding the program.
- Kristin Huang, “US still top spot for rich Chinese heading overseas, with Canada coming second, report finds”, South China Morning Post, 17th July, 2017
- The United States remains the top destination for rich Chinese investors looking to buy property and move overseas, according to a report released on the weekend.
- Canada was the second most popular destination on the list, followed by Australia. Hong Kong was 15th. Within the US, the west coast had the greatest allure, particularly Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. New York remained the fourth most popular city. For the fourth year in a row, education and “living environment” were the main forces driving rich Chinese overseas, the report said. Another major reason was access to better medical care.
- Nearly 20 per cent of the respondents said they were not confident about the country’s growth prospects. But the survey also revealed barriers to emigration. Almost 30 per cent of those surveyed said long waiting times were the biggest obstacle, followed by language barriers and difficulty in integrating into mainstream society.
- “U.S. asks nations to provide more traveler data or face sanctions”, The Economic Times, July 14th, 2017
- The U.S. State Department will require all nations to provide extensive data to help it vet visa applicants and determine whether a traveler poses a terrorist threat, according to a cable obtained by the Press.
- Countries that fail to comply with the new protocols or take steps to do so within 50 days could face travel sanctions.
- The memo lays out a series of standards the United States will require of other countries, including that they issue, or have active plans to issue, electronic passports and regularly report lost and stolen passports to INTERPOL.
- Some U.S. allies may worry about privacy protections if Washington is seen as seeking information beyond what is already shared, said John Sandweg, a former senior Homeland Security Department official.
- Countries are also expected to agree to take back citizens ordered removed from the United States.
- Camille Elemia, “China ‘committed’ to ease tourist visas for Filipinos”, Rappler, July 15th, 2017
- Amid the warning of ties between Manila and Beijing, China said it is “committed” to ease visa requirements for Filipino tourists.
- Yan Xu, chief for International Relations Division of the China National Tourism Administration, said China is considering such move to increase twoway tourism in both countries. At present, Filipinos need a tourist visa to enter China. The same thing goes for Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines.
- He said it was among the numerous deals forged by President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping when the former made a state visit to China in October 2016.
- “Indians applying for Green card have 12-year waiting list” The Economic Times, July 11th, 2017
- There is a lengthy 12year waiting period for Indians applying for permanent residency also known as Green Card in the US as skilled employees, according to a new report.
- Since 2004, a total of 7.4 million people who adjusted their status and 5.5 million new arrivals have received lawful permanent residency in the form of a green card, the study said.
- Employmentrelated categories (including workers’ family members) accounted for 14 per cent of 2015 Green Cards.
- “Soon, Filipinos will get visa-free travel to Taiwan”, Khaleej Times, July 11th, 2017
- Filipinos in the UAE and all over the world will soon be able to add another destination to their list of visafree countries. Currently, there are 61 nations that Filipinos can go to either without a visa or with a visa-on-arrival. That number will soon become 62 by September. Taiwan is the new addition.
- Taiwan announced on May 16 that visafree privileges for Filipinos will take effect starting September this year.
- Currently, Filipinos who wish to travel to Taiwan for tourism or a short trip can apply for a free travel authorisation certificate, a payable evisa or a payable visa stamped in the passport.
- “Qatar expands online tourist visa services”, Gulf Times, July 16th, 2017
- In a bid to further facilitate visitors access to the country, Qatar has made its evisa services available to tourism-related businesses as well as individuals arriving to Qatar aboard any airline.
- Hospitality establishments and tourism offices holding a valid licence with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) can now fully complete their guests tourist visa applications online.
- Qatar launched its evisa platform last month allowing travellers to the country to apply directly for tourist and visitor visas.
- Scarlett Chai and Ko Lin, “Taiwan mulling expanded visa privileges for Southeast Asia”, Focus Taiwan, July 14th, 2017
- Taiwan is currently mulling the feasibility of allowing visafree entry for visitors from the Philippines, and the possibility of extending visa privileges for nationals of India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and others covered in the government's New Southbound Policy, a Foreign Ministry official said Friday on condition of anonymity.
- Since implementing Taiwan’s visa waiver program for Brunei and Thailand in August last year, the results have proved very positive, and the government wishes to expand the program to include India, Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia, according to the official.
- The plan to expand Taiwan's visafree program and other privileges follows the recent announcement of visa-free entry for nationals of its 11 diplomatic allies in Latin America and the Caribbean -- Paraguay, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.
United Arab Emirates
- “How to get residence visa for your wife, children in UAE”, Khaleej Times, July 10th, 2017
- Your monthly salary should be Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation, in order for you to be eligible to sponsor your wife and children.
- If they are outside the UAE, you should first apply for an entry residence visa, and once they arrive, you have 30 days to apply for the residence stamp.
- An important point to note is that for the family member's residence visa to remain valid, he/she should not be out of UAE for more than six months at a stretch.
- Rick Mitchell, “France New ‘High Tech’ Visas Available”, Bloomberg BNA, July 13th, 2017
- As the U.S. under Donald Trump looks to be closing the door on foreign tech talent, France's new president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to make his country a “startup nation.” Macron promised during his campaign to ease France’s heavy business taxes and red tape as a way to boost the economy and create new jobs and has made clear he thinks foreign tech talent is a key means to achieve his economic goals.
- Macron’s government has announced new “fasttrack” procedures for visas to attract foreign talent. These new visas are valid for four years, renewable, and extend to immediate family members. The “Passeport Talent” (talent passport) is available for three “tech talent profiles”—startup founders, employees, and investors—each with its own requirements: Startup founders, Employees and Investors.
- Anestis Dokas, “’Golden visa’ for investment product buyers”, Ekathimerini, July 11th, 2017
- Senior officials at the Capital Market Commission and Athens Exchange are planning to travel to China in the last week of August to present Chinese investors with the opportunity to obtain a “golden visa” through the acquisition of Greek investment products.
- Now negotiations are taking place – and are on a good course – for Chinese investors to get the chance of obtaining the visa by acquiring Greek investment commodities, with a minimum investment amount of 300,000 euros.
- To that end the Capital Market Commission is discussing with the Shenzhen stock market ways for the Chinese wishing to get the visa to do so via ExchangeTraded Funds (ETFs) from their country or via other institutional investment instruments such as mutual funds.
- Such a move would require a cooperation agreement between the market watchdogs of the two countries, which is why Capital Market Commission officials are planning to travel to China next month.
- Rod James, “Golden Visas and a Changing Lisbon”, City Lab, July 7th, 2017
- Around €2.7 billion ($3.1 billion USD) has been invested in the country through the golden visa scheme, €2.4 billion of this through the purchase of real estate.
- In October 2012, reeling from the global financial crisis and facing harsh austerity measures attached to a €78billion ($89 billion USD) bailout from the European Union and IMF, Portugal’s government needed money. A scheme was created through which wealthy foreign investors could gain a temporary residence permit in exchange for inward investment.
- The scheme has proved popular, particularly in and around Lisbon. According to data from the Portuguese government, 4,423 visas have been granted to foreign investors between 2012 and today, along with 7,038 residence permits for family members. The Chinese make up a big majority of applicants with 3,154, followed far behind by Brazilians with 282. Around €2.7 billion ($3.1 billion USD) has been invested in the country through the golden visa scheme, €2.4 billion of this through the purchase of real estate, the rest by capital transfer.
- “Most top UK ministers back Brexit transition period – Hammond”, Cyprus Mail Online, July 16th, 2017
- Senior British government ministers are becoming convinced of the need for transitional arrangements to reduce disruption as Britain leaves the European Union, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.
- Hammond, who supported remaining in the EU at last year’s referendum, is seen as the voice of a socalled ‘soft Brexit’ within Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, favouring prioritising trade ties with the EU over curbing immigration.
- Hammond said the length of any transitional period would depend on how long is needed to get new systems in place to handle areas such as customs and immigration, but it should be a defined period and was likely to need to be “a couple of years”.
- “M.C.I.L and the Citizenship Investment Act”, Samoa Observer, 15th July, 2017
- The Citizenship Investment Act 2016 has attracted a lot of interest and government officials are now engaging with potential investors.
- The ACT is an initiative by government to attract new businesses to stimulate the economy and create new employment opportunities.
- As the implementing agency of the Act, MCIL have been promoting the new law designed to attract foreigners to receive a Samoan citizenship. However in return they must start a business operation in Samoa that will create new jobs.
- “There are a few mandatory requirements which include a medical and police report as well a proven business record. etc.
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