HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 27.11.2017

Nov 27,2017





  1. Visa Waiver Agreement Between Mozambique and Angola”, All Africa, November 20, 2017
  • The Mozambican and Angolan Interior Ministers, Jaime Monteiro and Angela da Veiga Tavares, on Friday signed an agreement in Luanda suppressing entry visas for citizens of the two countries for visits of up to 30 days.
  • The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has long urged its members to sign visa waiver agreements to ease the movement of citizens between the member states, but Angola has dragged its feet. Mozambique already has visa waiver agreements with most other SADC members, including South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Mauritius.
  • “The agreement will be implemented within the shortest period of time possible”, declared Monteiro, while Veiga Tavares said it “satisfies the aspirations of Angolans and Mozambicans”.


  1. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, “Angola – South Africa to Agree to Visa-Free Regime as Lourenco Visits”, Africa News, November 23, 2017
  • Angolan president Joao Lourenco arrives in South Africa for a twoday state visit aimed at bolstering cooperation between the two countries.
  • The visit is seen by political watchers as part of efforts by Lourenco to break way from the rather muted diplomacy of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Reports indicate that the two countries will also scrap visas for all categories of passport holders. The two are members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Equatorial Guinea


  1. Eyong Orlando, “Equatorial Guinea Seals Off Borders With Cameroun”, Cameroon Concord, November 23, 2017
  • Authorized sources revealed that Equatorial Guinea’s government closed the country’s border, with Cameroon, located at KyéOssi in Southern Cameroon, last week.
  • This occurs barely a month after Equatorial Guinea, which was very resilient to freemovement within CEMAC, finally suppressed the visa requirements for citizens of the community for stays that do not exceed 90 days.
  • Up till now, the authorities of Malabo have not explained this decision. This raises questions about the feasibility of freemovement within CEMAC despite the suppression of visa requirements by the member countries.




  1. Rwanda to Issue Visas on Arrival for Visitors From All Countries”, Morocco World News, November 20, 2017
  • After removing visa requirements for several African nationals, Rwanda has announced a new visa system that will issue a 30day visa to citizens of all countries upon arrival without prior application. The visa-on-arrival policy was approved in a cabinet meeting chaired by president Paul Kagame on November 8 and will take effect on January 1, 2018.
  • The measure follows the one already taken by Kigali regarding visa reciprocity policy with several countries. These include Senegal, Benin, the Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Ghana, Indonesia and Haiti, for which nationals do not need a visa to stay on Rwandan soil for a period of 90 days. Nationals from the East African Community, Eastern and Southern African States, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were already exempt from visas for a stay of no more than three months in Rwanda.
  • A Rwandan official said foreign residents will only have to display their resident cards at the border, whereas binationals will only need their identity cards, BBC Africa reported.
  • According to the Africa Visa Openness Report 2016, Rwanda ranked ninth among African countries that facilitate entry into their territory.


  1. Rwanda, 90 Days Without Visa for Haitians”, Haiti Libre, November 22, 2017
  • According to a circular from Rwanda's immigration authorities, the country is now a barrierfree country in the movement of countries and goods. The Circular mentions a new visa regime that provides for the visa on arrival for all citizens of the world for trips not exceeding 30 days. The decision will take effect on January 1, 2018.
  • Another clause provides for a reciprocity policy in the visa waiver with several countries including Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Ghana, Indonesia, Haiti, Senegal, Seychelles and Sao Tome and Principe. The latter, in addition to the countries of the East African Community or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will not need a visa to stay on Rwandan soil for a period of 90 days as for the COMESA Member States, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.






  1. Nelson Belen, “Brazil Unveils E-Visa for Australian Travelers; US, Canada, Japan Next”, The Rio Times, November 23, 2017
  • Beginning this week, Brazil is issuing evisas for visitors from Australia, allowing the entire visa process, from application to delivery, to occur online without needing to show up at the consulate. “Today we celebrate a great victory for Brazilian tourism,” said Brazil’s Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão at the e-visa announcement earlier this week.
  • Under the expedited process, the visa applicant fills out the online application found at the designated government website, uploads all the required documents, and pays the fee. Once the application is approved, the visa will be emailed to the applicant in about four days.
  • At the evisa announcement, government officials also revealed that the program will soon be expanded to include the United States, Canada, and Japan by early 2018.




  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “IRCC Expands its Presence in China Through New VACs”, Government of Canada, November 17, 2017
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expanding its Visa Application Centre (VAC) Network in China, increasing its geographic reach as Canada looks for new ways to support the growth in applications. So far this year, more than 500,000 applications have been received from China, a 15 per cent increase from 2016.
  • Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, attended the opening ceremony of a VAC in Nanjing this week to mark the opening of seven new centres located in Chengdu, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Nanjing, Shenyang and Wuhan. They join the existing network of VACs in Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
  • VACs offer support to applicants before, during and after their temporary resident visa application is assessed by an IRCC officer. VAC service agents are available by phone, email or in person to answer questions in local languages and to make sure that applications are complete.


  1. Kathleen Harris, “Liberals to Scrap Policy That Rejects Sick, Disabled Immigrants”, CBC News, November 22, 2017
  • Canada is committed to ditching a policy that rejects immigrants because they're sick or disabled and could be a drag on the health system, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says. Calling it an "important and sensitive" issue, Hussen said the government will look at all options to revamp the 40year-old policy, which bars entry to applicants when they could be costly to public health or social service systems.
  • "From a principled perspective, the current excessive demand provision policy simply does not align with our country's values of inclusion of person with disabilities in Canadian society," he said during an appearance at the House of Commons immigration committee Wednesday. Hussen didn't say how the provision would be changed, but said repealing it entirely is one option on the table.
  • He said the policy is currently estimated to save about $135 million for a fiveyear period of medical costs, which represents about 0.1 per cent of all provincial and territorial health spending.


  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “Canada, Ontario to Cooperate on Maximizing the Benefits of Immigration”, Government of Canada, November 24, 2017
  • The CanadaOntario Immigration Agreement (COIA) creates a new framework to strengthen the long-term partnership between Ontario and Canada to welcome and settle immigrants, boost the economy and address shared humanitarian responsibilities […].In addition, Canada and Ontario also announced a joint effort to help internationally trained newcomers meet provincial requirements to work in their profession.
  • Through these initiatives, the Governments of Canada and Ontario are demonstrating a commitment to cooperation to ensure the economic, social and cultural benefits of immigration are maximized in the province.


  1. Nicholas Keung, “Immigration Pilot Program Aims to Draw Newcomers to Atlantic Canada”, The Toronto Star, November 25, 2017
  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is the latest attempt by the four provinces, with a combined population of 2.3 million — or 6.6 per cent of Canada’s total — to revitalize their stagnant population growth, the result of high interprovincial outmigration and low birth rates and immigration levels.
  • Launched in March by the federal Immigration Department, the pilot program allows designated employers in the four provinces to recruit immigrants and recent international graduates to fill job vacancies without the labour market assessment required to prove a labour or skill shortage.
  • To date, Immigration Canada said more than 650 Atlantic employers have been designated for participation in the pilot and they have recommended more than 750 workers to fill jobs in the four provinces, with 122 permanent resident applications having been submitted. “The interest in this program is high,” said Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab, whose department has already designated 247 employers and endorsed 165 job candidates.




  1. Caribbean Prime Ministers Discuss the Recent Citizenship by Investment Prices After the Atlantic Hurricanes Earlier This Year”, PR Newswire, November 26, 2017
  • Earlier this month, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit gave the opening address at the Investment Immigration Summit East Asia in Hong Kong. "What we would like to recognize is that literally days after the hurricane, our Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme was back on the road. While we were receiving 200+ miles wind, stakeholders were processing applications because we were able to advance our programme to ensure that we utilize technology to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our programme."
  • Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St Lucia also made an appearance at the Investment Immigration Summit in Hong Kong. When interviewed by the Investment Migration Insider, he confirmed that St Lucia will be accepting other currencies as part of their CIP programme, and are looking at the possibility of getting their domestic bank, Bank of St Lucia, to open a branch in Dubai as part of the IFC.


Costa Rica


  1. Costa Rica Opens Embassy in Abu Dhabi”, The National, November 24, 2017
  • Costa Rica's UAE embassy was officially opened in Abu Dhabi yesterday by foreign affairs minister Manuel Gonzalez Sanz, in the presence of UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh. Mr Sanz said the presence of the embassy in the UAE signifies the friendship bonds between the UAE and Costa Rica, which ''we hope to grow stronger by time".
  • ''The UAE will be Costa Rica's hub for relations with the region. The new Promotion Office in Dubai, set to be open next year, will complete Costa Rica's presence in the UAE. It will contribute to promote tourism and investment climate in Costa Rica and leverage joint cooperation in renewable energy,'' he added.


St. Kitts & Nevis


  1. St. Kitts and Nevis, Russian Federation Visa Waiver Agreement Expected to Strengthen Bilateral Relationship”, The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, November 22, 2017
  • This came as a result of the historic signed visa waiver agreement, which took place in New York Sept. 21. The Honourable Mark Brantley, minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement with the Russian Federation’s Foreign Minister His Excellency Serguey Lavrov. The agreement allows citizens of both St. Kitts and Nevis and the Russian Federation to travel for up to 90 days to each other’s countries without the need for a visa.
  • During the reception that was hosted by the ambassador of the Russian Federation to St. Kitts and Nevis, His Excellency Vladimir Vinokurov, Minister Brantley thanked the Russian Ambassador for ensuring that St. Kitts and Nevis and his country were able to strengthen relations


United States


  1. Trump Transgender and Immigration Policies Meet Legal Defeat”, BBC News, November 21, 2017
  • The Trump administration has suffered twin legal defeats on its immigration and transgender policies. A California judge permanently blocked a presidential order to cut funding from US cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. And a Maryland judge blocked the administration's ban on transgender people from serving in the military.
  • California US District Judge William Orrick ruled that the immigration order was "unconstitutional on its face".
  • Meanwhile, in Baltimore on Tuesday, US District Judge Marvin Garbis delivered another blow to the Trump administration by blocking its ban on transgender people serving in the military. Judge Garbis ruled that the policy "cannot possibly constitute a legitimate government interest".


  1. US to Scrap Haitian Immigrants’ Protected Status”, BBC News, November 21, 2017
  • Immigrants from the Caribbean nation received protected status in 2010 after a devastating earthquake. But the Trump administration says conditions there have now improved and its nationals can return safely. It says their protected status will end in July 2019, giving Haitians 18 months to return or otherwise legalise their immigration status in the US.
  • "Those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist," a statement from the US Department of Homeland Security said. "Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens," the statement added.





  1. Azerbaijani Citizens to Travel to Benelux Countries Without Visas”, Trend News Agency, November 23, 2017
  • As part of working visit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to Belgium, an agreement was signed between the government of Azerbaijan and the governments of the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) to free the service passports holders from visa requirements, said the Azerbaijani Embassy in Belgium in a message Nov. 23.
  • The agreement was signed by Azerbaijani Ambassador Fuad Iskandarov, the Dutch ambassador in Belgium, the Belgian permanent representative in the EU, and the Luxembourg permanent representative in the EU.




  1. Jonathan M. Hicap, “Korean Culture Ministry Details Visa-Free Entry Policy for Pinoys”, Manila Bulletin, November 24, 2017
  • Group tourists from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam going to Jeju Island will be allowed to stay and visit Seoul, Busan, and other areas in South Korea for five days without a visa under a new policy.
  • Hyeji Kim, deputy director of MCST’s International Tourism Policy Bureau, said the new measure “will allow and provide a chance for group tourists bound for Jeju Island from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia to visit the Metropolitan area (including Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi Province) and other tourist destinations located near each transit point (airport) in Korea.”
  • “The group tourists will be given a visafree entrance to the Republic of Korea for a maximum of 15 days on the premise that Jeju Island is included in the tour itinerary and 5 days (10 days for Yangyang Airport transfer tourists) will be spent on other optional domestic destinations,” she added.




  1. Permanent Residency Draft Law to be Presented to Advisory Council in Dec”, Gulf Times, November 23, 2017
  • A draft law on the Permanent Residency Law, which would allow beneficiaries to undertake commercial activities and own residential and investment properties, will be presented to the Advisory Council (Shura) next month in preparation for its issuance, HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa alThani said yesterday.
  • “His Highness the Emir also gave directions to prepare a draft law for the ownership of real estate for nonQataris. The project will be completed within one month of its date and will be implemented during the coming year,” he said in an interview to Qatar TV.


  1. Qatar, Japan Exchange Visa Waiver for Passport Holders”, The Peninsula, November 23, 2017
  • The State of Qatar and Japan announced yesterday the beginning of mutual visa exemption’s procedures for holders of diplomatic and special passports from the two countries and the granting of entry permits to airports for 90 days as of January 2018.
  • The official minutes were exchanged between the two countries during an official ceremony held at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in the presence of SecretaryGeneral of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs H E Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi and Director General of the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Hiroshi Oka.


United Arab Emirates


  1. UAE, Grenada Sign Entry-Visa Exemption Pact”, Khaleej Times, November 21, 2017
  • Emiratis now have another exotic destination on their visafree list with the UAE and Grenada announcing on Tuesday the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries for entry-visa exemption. According to this exemption, UAE citizens with valid passports will be able to enter the Caribbean destination without an entry visa, and vice versa.
  • The UAE passport is currently ranked 25th strongest in the world, and has a visafree score of 129. In other words, UAE passport holders can travel to 129 countries without a visa.






  1. Kurt Sansone, “Malta’s Due Diligence of Rich Passport Buyers Gets Glowing Review”, Malta Today, November 24, 2017
  • Malta’s due diligence of people applying to buy citizenship has been held up as “a textbook example” of effectiveness and reliability by Thomson Reuters. Peter Vincent, general counsel at the Canadian company that provides intelligence services, said Malta’s Individual Investor Programme provided a high standard of due diligence.
  • "Malta has a reputation for having a very solid programme for citizenship and residency that has very secure due diligence processes in place and transparency. It's by no means perfect but there is no completely secure system in the world but if you are looking for a model, not just for the EU but for the entire world, I would look to a country like Malta," Vincent said in an interview with Investment Migration Insider, an industry journal.




  1. India, Russia Agree on Visa Free Entry of Flight Crew”, Sputnik News, November 21, 2017
  • The IndiaRussia agreement will facilitate visa-free entry, stay and exit of the crew of aircraft of the designated airlines as well as other aircraft companies operating chartered and special flights in the respective territories on reciprocity. A formal agreement in this regard was signed recently by officials of the two countries, a home ministry official said on Tuesday.
  • The deal comes close on the heels of Indian commerce minister Suresh Prabhu's recent visit to Russia where he discussed measures to boost trade and investment between the two countries, particularly in the field of manufacturing.


United Kingdom


  1. Alan Travis, “Immigration Minister Pledges ‘Swift’ Processing of EU Citizens’ Status”, The Guardian, November 21, 2017
  • The immigration minister has promised that the processing of an individual application by an EU national for settled status in Britain “should take no more than a couple of weeks” when registration starts in the second half of next year.
  • The minister, Brandon Lewis, told the Commons home affairs select committee that an extra 1,200 UK visas and immigration staff were being recruited to process an expected 3.5m applications from EU nationals over two and a half years.
  • The Home Office minister did confirm that those refused “settled status” and classed as nonEU nationals in Britain illegally could have their bank accounts frozen and face deportation before the hearing of any appeal in British courts.




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