HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 23.10.2017

Oct 23,2017



African Union


  1. AU Official Urges Action on Free Movement of People in Africa”, Xinhua, October 17, 2017
  • Africa needs to fasttrack the adoption of key policies and legal frameworks to facilitate free movement of migrants in the continent, Khabele Matlosa, director of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission said Monday in Rwanda's capital city Kigali.
  • Management of migration has become one of the critical challenges facing AU member states with growing number of migrants, said director of AU's social affairs department Olawale Maiyegun.
  • AU is expected to launch the effective implementation of the protocol on free movement of persons, right of residence, and right of establishment in 2018.




  1. Morocco, China to Set Up Economic Zone to Boost Bilateral Cooperation”, All Africa, October 17, 2017
  • Morocco and China have agreed to set up an economic zone in Morocco's northern city of Fez, offering a platform for boosting bilateral cooperation in various industries, local media reported Monday. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the FesMeknes Regional Investment Center and the China Industrial Cooperation Association, the financial daily L'Economiste reported.
  • The deal aims to establish an economic zone as a platform to attract Chinese investments in the fields of automobile, aviation, agriculture, health and renewable energy, the report said.
  • Bilateral economic cooperation between Morocco and China has been growing steadily since the establishment of a strategic partnership during the Moroccan king's visit to China in May 2016. In June 2016, Morocco granted Chinese citizens visafree entry to the North African kingdom.




  1. Visa on Arrival for Gulf Residents, Visa-Free Entry for Nationals Travelling to Tunisia”, Khaleej Times, October 22, 2017
  • Tunisia just eased visa rules for residents and citizens of Gulf countries. Residents of Gulf countries will be entitled to an entry visa upon their arrival at a Tunisian airport, Minister of Tourism and Handicraft Selma Elloumi Rekik announced the new rule at a workshop on tourism investment on Thursday.
  • Speaking at the TunisianArab Tourism Investment Forum, she said that "any resident of these countries may have a visa for Tunisia as soon as it presents a residence card in one of the Gulf countries while the nationals of these countries do not need visa for Tunisia."




Antigua & Barbuda


  1. Alicia Buller, “Antigua and Barbuda PM Seeks Saudi Investment After Hurricane”, Arab News, October 21, 2017
  • Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne wants Saudis to visit and invest in his hurricanebattered country. He is considering bringing halal standards to the islands for the first time in a bid to attract more Arabs visitors.
  • “We are looking for high net worth individuals. We already have a lot of interest from Saudi Arabia.” He added: “I want to encourage Saudis to invest in our safe, vibrant country. We are open arms to all cultures and want to please. “We are open to suggestions and would look to build halal restaurants or hotels if that’s what Muslims want or need.”
  • With many countries in the Middle East undergoing political turmoil, citizens of some countries have few visafree travel options. As former British colonies and members of the Commonwealth, Caribbean island passports grant visa-free access to the UK and the Schengen Area, as well as numerous other countries.




  1. Stephanie Levitz, “Conditional Sentences Don’t Count as Jail Time in Immigration Law: Supreme Court”, CTV News, October 19, 2017
  • Equating time served in the community with time spent in jail opens up the door to absurd possibilities within immigration law, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday. In a unanimous decision, the court said conditional sentences do not count as jail time when it comes to deciding whether permanent residents convicted of a crime should lose their status in Canada.
  • The justices also ruled that deciding whether a permanent resident is inadmissible to Canada depends on the maximum sentence on the books at the time they committed the offence and not at the time their immigration proceedings begin.
  • The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act makes it clear that the length of a sentence is a sign of whether a crime is serious, which is why they set a six month bar, but not all sentences are the same, Cote wrote. "It would be an absurd outcome, if, for example, 'less serious and nondangerous offenders' sentenced to seven-month conditional sentences were deported, while more serious offenders receiving six-month jail terms were permitted to remain in Canada," Cote wrote.


  1. Hina Alam, “Alberta Announces Economic Immigration Process Improvements”, Edmonton Journal, October 20, 2017
  • The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is being simplified for applicants beginning Jan. 2, the provincial government said Friday.
  • The multiple AINP streams and subcategories will be consolidated into one stream with one set of standard eligibility criteria, making it easier for both employers and workers, she said. Applicants will need to show they have a job, one that an Albertan could not be found to fill, Gray said. The AINP will also impose yearly caps on the overall number of applications accepted, as well as caps by sector and occupation based on application volumes.


  1. Paola Loriggio, “International Students Won’t Face Immigration Penalties Over College Strike: Officials”, 570 News, October 22, 2017
  • Tens of thousands of international students affected by a faculty strike at Ontario colleges are being reassured by immigration officials that they won’t be penalized for a delay that is beyond their control.
  • Several colleges in the province said they recognized the concerns raised by the strike and hoped it would end before the more than 40,000 international students enrolled in Ontario colleges felt financial — or other — difficulties.




  1. Dominica Showing ‘Great Resilience’ As Rebuilding Strategy Gets Underway”, Caribbean News Now, October 16, 2017
  • Less than a month after the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Dominica, the streets are being cleared, utilities returning, people are going back to work and a degree of normalcy in daily lives is returning. That’s the latest report from Mohammed Asaria, cofounder of Range Developments, a company that specialises in developing luxury hotel projects in the Caribbean.
  • Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is personally leading the entire relief, restoration and rebuilding efforts. He announced recently that water supply has now been restored, as have telecommunications to most areas.
  • Asaria also visited Range Developments’ project, The Cabrits Resort Kempinski, on the northeast of the island near Portsmouth. “I am delighted to see how our team responded to the crisis,” Asaria said. “In the most challenging of circumstances they are already returning to work. Supplies are beginning to get through again as the roads, ports and airports have now reopened.”


St. Kitts & Nevis


  1. Citizenship By Investment CEO Reports Increased Interest in All Three CBI Options in St. Kitts and Nevis”, ZIZ Online, October 19, 2017
  • The CEO of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) in St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Les Khan, says there has been an increase in the level of interest in all three investment options under the Federation’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, since the Team Unity Government announced in September the addition of a temporary Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF) option.
  • Funds raised via the Hurricane Relief Fund investment option will help foot the over $150 million bill that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis faces in regard to rehabilitating key public infrastructure, which suffered damage during the passage of the two category 5 hurricanes – Irma and Maria. Under the Hurricane Relief Fund initiative, which runs for six months, foreign investors under the CBI programme can make a nonrefundable contribution of US$150,000.
  • Mr. Khan said every measure is taken to protect the platinum brand of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, which is one of the world’s longest running and most successful programmes, by employing the most robust due diligence procedures available.




  1. Suriname Due to Become Latest South American Nation to Waive Visas for Russians”, TeleSur, October 19, 2017
  • Suriname and Russia are strengthening their diplomatic ties as they prepare to sign a series of economic and military agreements, including a special travel deal. According to CaribFlame, the Russian Latin American Department director, Alexandr Schetinin, said an “agreement on visafree travel for citizens is about to be signed and after we sign it with Suriname, all of South America will become a visa-free space for Russian nationals.”
  • Schetinin added, “The military cooperation agreement is also ready and the members of the ministry of defence are ready to sign it in the near future.” The two countries already signed a bilateral pact, but they didn't offer any further information on its content.


United States


  1. Paul Bedard, “US Immigration Population Hits Record 60 Million, 1-of-5 in Nation”, Washington Examiner, October 16, 2017
  • A huge boom in immigration, legal and illegal, over the past 16 years has jumped the immigrant population to over 43 million in the United States, according to a new report. And when their U.S.born children are added, the number grows to over 60 million, making the immigrant community nearly one-fifth of the nation's population, according to federal statistics reviewed by the Center for Immigration Studies.
  • The nation's immigrant population (legal and illegal) hit a record 43.7 million in July 2016, an increase of half a million since 2015, 3.8 million since 2010, and 12.6 million since 2000.
  • As a share of the U.S. population, immigrants (legal and illegal) comprised 13.5 percent, or one out of eight U.S. residents in 2016, the highest percentage in 106 years. As recently as 1980, just one out of 16 residents was foreignborn.






  1. Emirates Offers Bangladeshis Free 96-Hour UAE Visa”, Albawaba, October 19, 2017
  • Emirates airline is now offering a complimentary 96hour UAE entry visa to economy-class passengers travelling from Dhaka to destinations in Africa, Canada, Europe or US, a report said. The stopover scheme is valid for bookings made between October 8 and October 22, 2017, for outbound travel from October 15 to November 30, 2017, said a report in Khaleej Times.
  • Passengers booking a business or first-class service will also get a two-night stay at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, along with the complimentary visa facility, the airline announced. Only one stopover in either outbound or inbound direction is permitted, and the stopover needs to be availed by November 30, the report added.




  1. India-Myanmar Talk on Free Movement”, Daily News & Analysis, October 17, 2017
  • India and Myanmar are deliberating to standardise the Free Movement Regime along the border areas amid the Rohingya influx scare from across the border. Measures to facilitate movement of people on both sides of the border are being discussed, government sources said.
  • According to the free movement regime people living with 16 km of the border on are allowed visa free access on either side and can stay up to 72 hours with effective and valid permits issued by the designated authorities on either side.
  • The Home Minister had earlier said that the practice has been in place keeping in view the social relations among the border people but it is misused by militants and criminals who smuggle weapons, narcotics, contraband goods and fake Indian currency notes.




  1. Mohamed Rehan, “Passport Cards Not Compulsory, Says Immigration”, Avas, October 17, 2017
  • The recently introduced Passport Card by Department of Immigration is not a compulsory item for citizens in order to travel, according to the department. Immigration will commence servicing the creation of Passport Cards for customers or travelers from October 24 for a fee of MVR 450.
  • The newly introduced passport card grants users to withdraw cash from ATMs and settle payments at POS machines. The card can also be identified as a license card as well. Immigration has furthermore confirmed no additional charges would be incurred from customers for losing or misplacing the passport card. Meanwhile they had also urged to carry conventional passports despite carrying the passport cards to avoid any hindrances or complications at foreign checkin posts.




  1. Taiwan Announces Visa-Free Travel for Pinoys Starting November 1”, CNN Philippines, October 16, 2017
  • It's official — Filipinos can travel visafree to the Republic of China, or Taiwan, starting November 1 this year. The trial period for the visa-free entry covers only visits for up to 14 days for activities such as tourism, business, visiting relatives, and attending functions or events. The period will run until July 31 next year.
  • To take advantage of visafree entry, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) says Philippine passport holders must meet [a number of] requirements [see article for more details]. Diplomatic and official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free privilege, TECO said. Visitors who intend to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days to study, work, or engage in other activities must still acquire an appropriate visa, it added.


  1. Bernadette E. Tamayo, “Passport Processing in All Consular Offices Remains Suspended – DFA”, The Manila Times, October 17, 2017
  • Passport processing in all consular offices remains suspended on Tuesday due to the nationwide transport strike, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in an advisory. The DFA said applicants with confirmed passport appointments on October 17 may be accommodated on any day until Oct. 30 without need for a new appointment.
  • The DFAAseana office in Parañaque City is open from Monday to Friday while mall-based DFA consular offices are open from Monday to Saturday. All applicants whose passports are processed on Saturdays will be charged P1,200.00 as these are provided beyond the regular work schedule. Applicants are advised to bring a printout of their confirmed passport appointment, along with the other requirements.


United Arab Emirates


  1. UAE, Montenegro Extend Visa Exemption For All Passport Holders”, Khaleej Times, October 17, 2017
  • The UAE and Montenegro on Monday extended their mutual visa exemption deal to ordinary passport holders. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, Prof. Dr. Srdjan Darmanovic, signed a protocol to amend the mutual visa exemption agreement between the UAE and Montenegro for holders of diplomatic and private (service) passports, to include the ordinary passports.
  • This came during the meeting held between Sheikh Abdullah and his counterpart, at the ministry in Abu Dhabi. They discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation in all domains between the UAE and Montenegro, which would contribute to achieving joint interest of the two friendly countries.






  1. Balkans Citizens Need Permit for Visa-Free Schengen Zone”, ANSAmed, October 20, 2017
  • Under a European Commission proposal, citizens of the western Balkans will in future have to apply for permission to travel within the borderless Schengen area even though their countries are part of the visafree scheme, Serbian media reported on Friday.
  • Under the new regime permission will be given electronically on compilation of an online form within a maximum of 72 hours of making the application. People considered to be a security threat to the European Union will be denied entry.




  1. Elias Hazou, “Passport Investment Scheme a ‘Useful Tool’ to Boost Economy”, Cyprus Mail, October 16, 2017
  • The government does not directly receive any cash from the citizenshipthrough-investment scheme, the finance minister said on Monday. “The state does not collect a single euro. The benefit is an indirect one, and has to do with invigorating the economy through a series of investments in various sectors,” Harris Georgiades told MPs.
  • Whereas the scheme does inject muchneeded cash into the economy, he added, one should not overestimate its impact.
  • Asked whether the government is considering revising the scheme – following pressure from the EU and IMF – Georgiades said they saw no need for tightening up the eligibility criteria. Any changes would probably involve tweaks to how the programme is promoted and advertised, he said.




  1. Moscow Welcomes Visa-Free Entry for FIFA World Cup Fans”, eTurbo News, October 18, 2017
  • “We can say that now Moscow is a capital of world football,” said Inessa Grig [Head of tourist activities coordination office of Moscow Department of Sport and Tourism]. “More then 152 000 people visited the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017. We place importance on the visafree project for foreign tourists.
  • Moscow is to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup next year and is making preparations to host more than one million of football fans. A new ID card scheme will allow football fans to enter the country without a visa during long period – from 10 days before and 10 days after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
  • The spectator’s personalized card is mandatory for each ticket holder. FAN ID will let foreign tourists visafree entry to Russia and free public transit during match days and free special trains circulating between the World Cup host cities.


  1. Russia ‘Optimistic’ About Visa-Free Travel for Turks”, Daily Sabah, October 22, 2017
  • Russia may reinstate its visafree travel policy for Turkish citizens, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said Sunday. "We are optimistic that efforts to provide visa liberalization to passport holders will soon be effective," Novak said during the 15th Term Meeting of the Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Joint Economic Commission (KEK) in the city of Kazan in Russia's Tatarstan province.
  • The visa discussion accompanies motions to eliminate trade barriers between Russia and Turkey. Necessary steps were taken to achieve the $100 billion trade volume set forth by the Turkish and Russian leaders, but more areas of partnership are possible, said Novak.






  1. Ben Moshinsky, “Vanuatu Denies It Will Accept Bitcoin for its $200,000 Citizenship Program”, Business Insider, October 18, 2017
  • “The Citizenship Office, representing the Citizenship Commission, is presenting to the media and other agencies in Vanuatu, that the Citizenship Office has not got any legal confirmation on any so called Bitcoin payments as stated in the media outlets,” Acting General Secretary Samuel Garae said, according to the Vila Times.
  • “The Office of the Citizenship is giving an assurance to all the Citizenship Designated Agents, that all the payments concerning the DSP program will still be in US dollars as prescribed by the Citizenship Regulations,” he said. “Any other arrangement made by any subagent will not be considered by the Citizenship Office.”
  • Vanuatu is a member of the Commonwealth and citizenship provides visafree travel to 113 countries including the UK, Russia and European Union states. Vanuatu also advertises its low taxes for citizenship buyers, offering a second passport in a country that levies no capital gains or income taxes. Potential citizens don't need to live in Vanuatu, or even visit the country once.



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