HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 28.08.2017

Aug 28,2017





  1. Ghana Signs Visa Waiver Agreement With Equatorial Guinea”, News Ghana, August 24, 2017
  • Ghana and Equatorial Guinea have signed agreement to waive visa requirements for citizens of both countries holding diplomatic, official and service passports, the presidency said on Wednesday. The agreements were signed as part of Ghanaian President Nana AkufoAddo’s official 3-day visit to Equatorial Guinea.
  • Multilaterally, both heads of state expressed their support to global and African initiatives for the prevention of and peaceful settlement of conflicts.






  1. Government of Canada, “Minister Hussen Announces Major Step Forward in Gender Equality by Making Changes to Passports and Immigration Documents”, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, August 24, 2017
  • The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that the Government of Canada will be working to implement an “X” gender designation in Canadian passports, as well as other documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to support LGBTQ2 rights and advance the Government’s agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Starting August 31, 2017, IRCC will be the first Government of Canada department to introduce interim measures, which include allowing individuals to add an observation to their passport stating their sex should be identified as “X,” indicating that it is unspecified. Interim measures will be available until IRCC is able to print documents with an “X.”




  1. OECS Countries Seek to Standardise CIPs”, St. Lucia Times, August 25, 2017
  • Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members that offer Citizenship by Investment Programmes are examining the possibility of developing standardised legislation regarding the initiative, according to regional media reports.
  • Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has been quoted by CMC as saying that countries that have already established programmes in the sub region are holding discussions on the initiative.




  1. Panama to Require Visa for Venezuelans Amid Crisis”, Jamaica Observer, August 22, 2017
  • Panama's president says his country will begin requiring an entry visa for Venezuelans beginning in October as their homeland slips deeper into crisis. [President Juan Carlos] Varela also said Panama will regularise the status of the approximately 25,000 Venezuelans already in the country for humanitarian reasons.
  • Varela says it was a difficult move, but things in Venezuela have gotten worse. He cites the power grab by Venezuela's new constitutional assembly.


St. Kitts & Nevis


  1. Angela H. Cutrer, “Investor Confidence in St. Kitts and Nevis’ Economy Leads to Continued Positive Growth”, St. Kitts & Nevis Obsever, August 24, 2017
  • Regional and international financial institutions have recently commended St. Kitts and Nevis on its strong fiscal and economic management policies.
  • In its 2017 Article IV consultation on the St. Kitts and Nevis economy, the International Monetary Fund said "notwithstanding a difficult international environment, St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy is expected to grow again in 2017 for the [fifth] consecutive year.” It went on to say that St. Kitts and Nevis’ strong macroeconomic performance owed “much to the robust Citizenshipby-Investment (CBI) inflows and their spillovers to the economy, as well as overall prudent macroeconomic policies.”


United States


  1. US Cuts Back on Russian Visas Amid Diplomatic Tensions”, Deutsche Welle, August 21, 2017
  • Beginning Wednesday there will be an eightday suspension of non-immigrant visas from the embassy and its three consulates. They will resume issuing visas on September 1 but only from the embassy in Moscow. Visa services from its consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg in the Urals, and Vladivostok in the far east will remain suspended indefinitely.
  • Earlier this month the Kremlin ordered the US to slash its diplomatic workforce by nearly two-thirds - cutting 755 positions. The cuts will leave the US diplomatic staff at 455 in Russia - the same figure that Moscow has in the US.






  1. Tourists on e-Visa Can Now Stay in India for Up to Two Months”, MENA FN, August 26, 2017
  • Rolled out by the government beginning April 1, 2017, the new eVisa guidelines will permit a traveller to stay in the country for up to 60 days, with double entry for those holding valid business and tourist e-Visas, and triple entry for those holding medical e-Visas.
  • This entitles visitors to explore neighboring countries before returning to #India within a specified time. What is more, the window for application to the eVisa scheme has increaed from 30 days to 120 days.




  1. Immigration to Grant Visa Upon Arrival to Qualified Chinese Nationals”, Phil Star, August 17, 2017
  • The Bureau of Immigration [BI] on Thursday announced that it will issue visas upon arrival to qualified Chinese nationals as part of its drive to draw more tourists and investors to the country. [BI Commissioner Jaime] Morente said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued Department Circular 041 granting the issuance of landed visa, or the visa upon arrival, to Chinese nationals.
  • The applicants should have valid passports and return tickets. The bureau will charge applicants a fee of $25 for the visa and P10 as legal research fee. These applications should be filed at least 10 working days before they arrive in the Philippines.


  1. Philippines Considering Visa on Arrival for Indians”, Khaleej Times, August 27, 2017
  • The Department of Tourism (DOT) is eyeing to expand the Visa upon Approval (VUA) policy for Indian nationals as it seeks to further increase tourist arrivals in the country. DOT Undersecretary Rolando Canizal said the agency is aiming for 100,000 Indian tourists to visit the Philippines this year.
  • The move came after the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it will be issuing "landing visas" in compliance to Department Circular 041 issued by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II granting visa upon arrival to Chinese nationals.
  • The VUA program will be implemented at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and in eight other international airports (Clark, Mactan, and Kalibo) and seaports (Manila, Puerto Princesa, Subic, Laoag, and Caticlan).




  1. Matthew Strong, “Taiwan to Continue Effort to Obtain Visa Waiver from Thailand”, Taiwan News, August 26, 2017
  • The government of President Tsai Ingwen has conducted an active “New Southbound Policy” to intensify ties with South and Southeast Asian nations, including Thailand. However, Minister without Portfolio Chang Jing-sen’s order to abolish the visa requirement for Thai citizens has left Taiwan without a card to play in its negotiations, according to a report in the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
  • While Taiwanese travelers can obtain a landing visa upon arrival at a Thai airport, MOFA would continue to talk to Bangkok about a visa waiver, Wang said.




  1. Don Ross, “Thai Tourism Trends Positive”, TTR Weekly, August 21, 2017
  • Foreign tourist visits to Thailand increase 4.81% in July to reach 3,088,042 according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, permanent secretary Pongpanun Svetarundra. The top region was East Asia followed by Europe, South Asia, Americas and the Middle East.
  • For the seven months, January to July, tourist arrivals reached 20,411,682 up 4.47% over the same period last year.
  • [T]he main driver for Thai tourism is the China market that continues to expand and will soon represent more than 40% of Thailand’s arrivals, when Hong Kong, Taiwan are included.


  1. Automatic Channel for Foreigners Launched at Suvarnabhumi Airport”, Pattaya Mail, August 21, 2017
  • The Immigration Bureau has launched the Automatic Channel to register foreign passengers for the first time at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
  • Singapore is the first nation allowed to use the Automatic Channels under the mutual cooperation between Thailand and Singapore. Meanwhile, Singaporean immigration authorities are also considering the use of Automatic Channel for Thai passengers traveling to their country.
  • In addition, Automatic Channel Passport for foreigners will be extended to other international airports nationwide, and will soon provide services to more foreign passengers such as Japan and Hong Kong.


  1. Thailand Okays 90-Day Visa-Free Stay for Medical Tourists from Myanmar”, The Myanmar Times, August 21, 2017
  • Thailand has approved 90day visa free stay in the kingdom for medical tourists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV countries) and China, a Thai official informed the government on Thursday. Medical tourists and four companions will be exempted to stay in Thailand for medical treatment only, the Royal Thai Government Gazette announced on March 15.
  • On March 22, it laid down the Ministerial Regulations on Rules, Procedure and Condition in Diagnosis, Exemption and Changes in Visa (2012), according to the statement. To receive medical treatment in Thailand, patients have to prepare and follow some procedures, such as going to hospitals accredited by the Ministry of Public Health and providing data and a confirmation letter for 90 days stay on medical grounds.






  1. Visa-Free Travel Agreement for Russian and Vatican Diplomats Signed in Moscow”, TASS, August 22, 2017
  • The Russian government and the Vatican’s Secretariat of State have sealed an agreement on visafree travel for the holders of diplomatic passports in Moscow on Tuesday, a correspondent reported from the signing ceremony. The document was signed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov and Apostolic Nuncio to Russia, Archbishop Celestino Migliore.
  • "I would like to point out that our bilateral relations have reached a very high and positive level," Cardinal Parolin said hoping that talks with the Russian top diplomat would provide the parties with an opportunity to exchange opinions and strengthen bilateral ties.


  1. Iran, Russia Waive Visas for Tours”, Financial Tribune, August 26, 2017
  • According to Ali Rafiei, the deputy head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, based on the agreement, teams and tours involving 5 to 50 people are not required to apply for visas, IRNA reported.
  • Levan Dzhagaryan, Russia’s ambassador to Iran, had earlier said in July that visa rules would be relaxed for Iranian travelers within three months, but his pledge has been fulfilled much sooner.
  • Total visafree travel is the third and final phase of the scheme, which is expected to be implemented soon. Iran issues visa on arrival at 10 airports to citizens of over 180 countries.


United Kingdom


  1. Costas Pitas and Kate Holton, “EU Citizens Leaving UK Pushes Down Net Migration After Brexit Vote”, Reuters, August 24, 2017
  • Net migration to Britain fell to its lowest level in three years in the 12 months to the end of March, with more than half the drop caused by European Union citizens leaving and fewer arriving since the Brexit vote.
  • According to the Office for National Statistics, it stood at 246,000 in the 12 months to the end of March, down 81,000 from the previous year and compared with the 336,000 record number that was published just before the Brexit referendum.
  • The government has said it is still committed to an election promise to reduce the numbers to the "tens of thousands", first made in 2010 and designed to reassure Britons who were worried about the impact immigration had on public services.






  1. Timoci Vula, “Fiji Party to Visa Free Travel to Brazil”, The Fiji Times, August 28, 2017
  • FIJIANS holding an ordinary or official passport will no longer require a visa when entering Brazil. This follows the sgining of the Visa Exemption Agreement by Fiji's Ambassador to Brazil Cama Tuiloma and Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Aloysio Nunes Ferreira.
  • Fiji's Ministry of Foreign Affairs acting permanent secretary Yogesh Karan commended this new development and highlighted the opportunities that a visa exemption agreement could bring.


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