HLG Weekly Newsletter

May 15,2017

1. Farirai Machivenyika, ‘’Govt to abolish dual citizenship’’, The Herald, May 12th, 2017

  • Government will not seek to re-align the Citizenship Act with the new Constitution, but will instead move for amendment of the supreme law to abolish provisions allowing dual citizenship. This was said by the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede while making a presentation on the Constitution and dual citizenship to the Zanu-PF parliamentary caucus at the party’s headquarters on Wednesday.
  • The new Constitution allows for one to hold dual citizenship and Mr Mudede said this posed a number of security challenges to the country.



2. ‘’Initiatives implemented place to improve processing time in customs and immigration’’, The Daily Observer, May 9th, 2017

  • Passengers using Barbados’ ports of entry should soon see an improvement in the time it takes to get through Customs and Immigration.
  • Minister with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Darcy Boyce, on Monday announced a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring “quick though secure passage through border control”.
  • He said the Ministry is also continuing to work on an initiative which involves the installation of 14 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in the Arrivals Hall at the Grantley Adams International Airport, aimed at significantly decreasing the waiting times of arriving passengers in the terminal.



3. Alison Crawford, ‘’Federal Court strikes down key provisions of Citizenship Act’’, CBC News, May 10th, 2017

  • The Federal Court has struck down several sections of the Citizenship Act relating to how the government may revoke someone's citizenship.
  • In a decision today, Justice Jocelyne Gagné said the provisions in question, which don't violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, do violate Canada's Bill of Rights "in a way that can not be avoided by interpretation."
  • She noted that citizenship revocation is an important decision that bars applicants from re-applying for 10 years while some could even be rendered stateless.


4. ‘’Government of Canada expands passport services to Service Canada Centres across Canada’’, Newswire, May 11th, 2017

  • Passport services have now expanded from 151 to over 300 Service Canada Centres, providing Canadians with more options when applying for or renewing a passport. The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, made the announcement today. Service Canada Centre locations across the country are now receiving passport applications and validating citizenship documents, making it more convenient and accessible for Canadians to submit passport applications.
  • Canadians applying for passports at a Service Canada Centre are able to submit their applications and have their citizenship documents, like birth certificates and certificates of citizenship, validated and returned to them while they are in the office. Service Canada Centres will also assist citizens with their standard passport application by reviewing it on site for completeness, accepting payment and forwarding it on for processing


St. Kitts & Nevis

5. ‘’PM Harris: Multi-Layered Due Diligence Ensures The Credibility Of CBI Applicants And The Legitimacy Of Their Funds’’, National Broadcasting Corporation of St. Kitts & Nevis, May 12th, 2017

  • At his monthly press conference on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris spoke of the multiple layers of due diligence that go into ensuring the credibility of applicants – as well as the source and legitimacy of their funds – received through the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program.
  • “We have always said and we continue to reiterate that our CBI under the Team Unity Government is only open to legitimate persons to participate. For us, it is an honour and a privilege for anyone to be able to become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis and we want the most worthy of personalities from around the world to come and help us build a greater St. Kitts and Nevis than we now have,” Prime Minister Harris said.
  • Dr. Harris continued: “To be sure, we have been very satisfied about the extent of our due diligence process…It is an ongoing exercise of review. It is an ongoing exercise of collaboration. It is an ongoing exercise of ensuring that we are aware of best practices.”


6. Seb Kelly, ‘’Our Citizenship by Investment is platinum standard – St Kitts-Nevis PM’’, WIC News, May 10th, 2017

  • The government of St Kitts and Nevis works together with a “positive spirit of cooperation” to ensure the country’s Citizenship by Investment programme is “the platinum standard of the global industry”, the prime minister has said.
  • St Kitts and Nevis’ passports are now ranked number one in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), number two in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and number 50 in the world out of 199 countries and territories, according to the Nomad Passport Index 2017.
  • Speaking during a national address, Timothy Harris said his administration’s “responsible and engaged approach” is in stark contrast to the previous government.


United States

7. Chuck Epstein, ‘’EB-5 Visa Program Faces Calls for Reform Even as it is Extended by Congress’’, Chief Investment Officer, May 9th, 2017

  • Key issues include reforming minimum investment amounts, stricter oversight and reclassification of targeted employment areas (TEAs), and visa-processing inefficiencies. 
  • A stopgap funding bill passed by Congress April 28 to provide funds for the US  government to continue operating has given the EB-5 investor visa program a new lease on life and set the stage for potential reforms.
  • The decision by Congress to extend the program in its current form through September 30, 2017, is being accompanied by a flurry of proposals for reforming its minimum investment amounts, stricter oversight and reclassification of targeted employment areas (TEAs), and visa-processing inefficiencies. Congressional reform also wanted to address the minimum investments amounts that must be made to qualify for the program.
  • While various proposals are being floated by members of both parties, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to accept Form I-526 petitions based on investments through EB-5 regional centers through that date.


8. ‘’US Issues New Fraud-proof Green Cards”, Voa News, May 1st, 2017

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun issuing new tamper-resistant green cards.
  • The redesigned cards, which have enhanced graphics and additional security features, are more secure than the old ones.
  • "The new card designs demonstrate USCIS' commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud," according to USCIS.


9. Rajesh Kurup, ‘’EB-5 visas: expensive but preferred route to US’’, The Hindu Business Line, May 10th, 2017

  • The demand for EB-5 visas is surging, riding mostly on the fabled American dream of equal opportunity for prosperity and success. The number of Indians applying for the EB-5 programme is expected to more than double to 300 this year.
  • The EB-5 is an investor visa, wherein applicants have to invest minimum $5,00,000 to migrate to the US. The proceeds are mainly invested in real estate, construction and other sectors to create jobs, with a mezzanine debt raised under the EB-5 project and then provided to the developer with a four-year term and two one-year extensions.
  • The money is returned then after the period to the investor. The investor, who gets a green card, can choose any kind of work to do.



10. Shoshanna Solomon, ‘’Israel soon to announce Innovation Visa program hosts’’, The Times of Israel, May 11th, 2017

  • The idea, announced in December, is to enable foreign entrepreneurs to learn from the Israeli ecosystem and eventually also benefit from government support should they set up a startup in Israel. Entrepreneurs who want to come and work in Israel need to apply for an expert visa and be sponsored by a company they work for.
  • The entrepreneurs will be able to stay in Israel for 24 months while receiving support from the authority’s Tnufa program, which aims to help inventors with good ideas at a pre-seed stage.



11. ‘’Malaysia, Australia to share intel on immigration matters’’, Borneo Post, May 9th, 2017

  • Malaysia and Australia will share intelligence information  to tackle  immigration issues that are of mutual benefit, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
  • Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said such sharing of information would enable both countries to respond speedily if there was a need to do so.
  • “We will share intelligence information on illegal immigrants in Australia who used Malaysia as a transit point.  This information will be very useful for follow-up action,” he told Bernama here yesterday.



12. ‘’Viet Nam, New Zealand strengthen ties’’, Viet Nam News, May 9th, 2017

  • [Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc] expressed hope that the visit will contribute to promoting bilateral trade relations between Việt Nam and New Zealand. 
  • The PM suggested the two nations continue their co-ordination to promote common benefits within APEC and other multilateral economic links, towards a successful APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting slated for May 20-21 in Hà Nội. 
  • He said he hopes that two-way trade will increase in the future, with more investors from New Zealand in Việt Nam.



13. ‘’Estonia’s startup visa programme has brought applications from 29 countries’’, Estonian World, May 12th, 2017

  • A new startup visa programme Estonia launched in January 2017 has in its first three months brought a total of 106 applications from 29 countries.
  • The startup visa programme, initiated by the local startup community and the Estonian ministry of interior, allows non-EU nationals to come and work for Estonian startups, relocate their existing startups or start new ones in Estonia on preferential terms.
  • In order to qualify for the startup visa, startups must fill out an application detailing their business and team, which will then be evaluated by a startup committee consisting of members of the Estonian startup community. 



14. ‘’Cyprus Golden Visa program raises 4 bln euros’’, Ekathimerini, May 15th, 2017

  • A Golden Visa program, granting residence status to foreign nationals who purchase property, has brought some 4 billion euros in revenue to Cyprus, outperforming by far a similar program that has been operating in Greece for the past three years.
  • Cypriot authorities raised the revenue over the past year thanks chiefly to purchases by wealthy Russians, according to sources. The condition for the acquisition of a Cypriot residence permit is for an investor to spend at least 2 million euros on real estate or 2.5 million euros on Cypriot government bonds or a company.



15. ‘’Finland Grants Citizenship to Record Number of Foreigners in 2016’’, Sputnik News, May 13th, 2017

  • More than 9,000 people were granted Finnish citizenship in 2016, making it the largest number since the European country gained independence in 1917, the Statistics Finland agency said in a statement.
  • The statement added that 96 percent of new Finnish nationals retained their former citizenship, bringing a total number of the Finnish nationals with dual citizenship to 104,997.



16. Stephen Fuchs, ‘’Why Record Number of American Jews are Reclaiming German Citizenship’’, German Pulse, May 10th, 2017

  • According to new figures released to DW by the German consulate in New York, the typical number of applications submitted to their office in a given year might only reach 50 to 70. Just after November’s election, the New York office was flooded with 124 new requests to reclaim their ancestral German citizenship. Since then the numbers have steadily risen. In March, the consulate processed 235 new requests.
  • Many of the applicants have been upfront about their need for dual citizenship, and while there are some who have no political motive for doing so, there’s a growing number who do. “It was 99 percent motivated by wanting to have a way out,” Terry Mandel, a 63-year-old resident of Berkeley, California told DW. “It’s about having a plan B. I’ve always referred to it as plan B.”



17. Julian Bonnici, ‘’PN’s proposed IIP scheme reform will not sell citizenship – Busuttil’’, Malta Independent, May 11th, 2017

  • PN Leader Simon Busuttil today clarified his position on the controversial IIP scheme, telling journalists in Qrendi that he maintained that citizenship should not be sold and that he would reform the iniative to better reflect the investor programme it is meant to be.
  • This comes after a number of doubts were raised concerning Dr Busuttil’s change in position on the sale of citizenship scheme.
  • Dr Busuttil had formerly said that he was against the initiative in principle. However, he recently announced he would keep the scheme should he be elected.


18. ‘’Citizenship scheme drives up property prices’’, Times of Malta, May 10th, 2017

  • Property prices went up by an impressive 8.4 per cent between October and December 2016, thanks to buoyant labour market conditions and growth in disposable income, together with the rise in foreign workers and the Individual Investor Programme - the so-called Citizenship Scheme.
  • The Central Bank of Malta said in its quarterly review that the increase in prices was even steeper than the 5.5 per cent recorded between June and September.
  • The data was based on figures published by the National Statistics Office, taken from actual transactions involving apartments, maisonettes and terraced houses.



19. ‘’EU approves visa-free travel for Ukrainians’’, AFP, May 12th, 2017

  • The European Union approved visa-free travel for Ukrainians on Thursday, fulfilling a key promise to cement ties with Kiev as it remains embroiled in a deadly conflict with pro-Russian insurgents.
  • A statement by the European Council, which groups the 28 EU member states, said visa liberalisation was "an important development which will help strengthen ties between the people of Ukraine and the EU".
  • Under the new scheme, Ukrainians with biometric passports can travel in the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, business or family visits -- but not to work.


United Kingdom

20. ‘’Recruitment Experts Call for 'Agile' Immigration System’’, BBC News, May 9th, 2017

  • The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said whichever party formed a government after the general election on 8 June must safeguard access to workers the country needs from abroad, as well as invest in UK jobseekers.
  • The jobs report found growth in permanent appointments continued for the third month running in April, with the fastest rate of expansion for 21 months.
  • [REC chief executive Kevin Green said: ] "It is vital that the future immigration system is agile enough to reflect and adapt to evolving labour market needs."



21. ‘’Budget 2017: foreign worker levy will hit business’’, Australia Financial Review, May 9th, 2017

  • Businesses that use temporary visa workers will have to fork out up to $1800 a worker per year as part of a new visa tax expected to raise more than a billion dollars towards training local workers.
  • The 2017 budget revealed the government will impose an annual foreign worker levy on employers from March 2018 to fund its new Skilling Australians Fund, which aims to support 300,000 apprenticeships and traineeships in high-demand occupations that rely on skilled migration.
  • However, the fund could struggle to raise money as figures in the budget reveal the government is expecting a massive drop in new skilled visa applications due to its new restrictions on 457 visas and permanent residency.


22. Mosiqi Acharya, ‘’2017 - 2018 Skilled migration intake announced’’, SBS, May 10th, 2017

  • Australia’s permanent migration programme for 2017-18 will remain at a ceiling of 190,000 places.
  • After recent announcements of abolishing the 457 visas and strengthening the requirement to gain Australia’s citizenship, all eyes were on government to see if the skilled migrant intake would be reduced or would it be maintained.
  • However, despite a huge rejig with work visa programs, the government has decided not to cut the migrant intake for 2017-18.


23. Shamsher Kainth, ‘’Australian visas to cost more from 1 July 2017’’, SBS, May 11th, 2017

  • All the Australian visas will be more expensive from 1 July this year.
  • Treasurer Scott Morrison, in his budget speech, announced that visa fees will be indexed in line with inflation to generate $410 million over the next four years.
  • This means, from 1 July 2017, the fee for all the visas will rise in line with the forecast Consumer Price Index and become more expensive.



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