HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 04.01.2018

Jan 04,2018





  1. Lily Jamali, “As Trump Snubs High-Tech Visas, Trudeau’s Program Takes Off”, Bloomberg, December 18, 2017
  • “The process was bang on,” Bryan Smith, chief executive officer of [a] Torontobased company, said. It took less than the government’s target of 10 business days to process the recruit’s application. Previously it could take several months. “If the government says two weeks and it actually is, that will create a whole new process around it.”
  • As President Donald Trump moves to crack down on the immigration of hightech workers to the U.S., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new Global Skills Strategy is taking off. […] “It’s more successful than we predicted,” Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a phone interview. “This program came from the business community. They identified a challenge and said you need to fix it.”
  • Those who are fasttracked can apply to stay as long as three years and also for permanent residency. Computer programmers, systems analysts, and software engineers, are the top three categories of workers to benefit so far. The bulk come from India -- the same country that makes up the majority of U.S. H-1B visas issued -- followed by China and France.


  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “Parents and Grandparents Program Reopening in New Year”, Government of Canada, December 22, 2017
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a new process in 2017 for application intake for sponsoring parents and grandparents to make it fairer and more transparent for applicants. Now, potential sponsors must first notify IRCC that they are interested in sponsoring their parents and grandparents by submitting an “Interest to Sponsor” form. Using a random selection process, IRCC will then invite potential sponsors to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents.
  • Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that the “Interest to Sponsor” form will be available at noon EST on January 2, 2018. Those who wish to apply to sponsor their parents and grandparents in 2018 must first fill out this online form. It will be available until noon February 1, 2018.


  1. Stephanie Levitz, “Ottawa Axes $1,000 Application Fee to Hire Foreign Nannies and Caregivers”, The Toronto Star, December 27, 2017
  • Some families seeking foreign caregivers to look after their children or family members with a disability will be exempt from paying a $1,000 application fee. The federal government published new regulations around hiring foreign caregivers on Wednesday, following through on a budget promise to change a system many felt placed an unfair burden on lower income families.
  • The new regulations apply to those who earn less than $150,000 a year and want to hire someone from abroad to look after their children. Those seeking to hire a caregiver for people with a physical or mental illness will also be exempt from the labour market impact assessment, or LMIA, fee.


  1. Kathleen Harris, “Canadian Citizenship Applications Surge After Government Relaxes Language, Residency Rules”, CBC, December 28, 2017
  • Figures from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship provided to CBC News show there was an average of 3,653 applications a week in the six months before changes were brought in Oct. 11. The number shot up to 17,500 applications the week after the new requirements kicked in. There were 12,530 applications submitted the week after that, but data for subsequent weeks is not yet available.
  • "Reducing the physical presence requirement gives more flexibility to applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship and encourages more immigrants to take the path to citizenship," said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship spokeswoman Nancy Caron. "This helps individuals who have already begun building lives in Canada achieve citizenship faster."


United States


  1. Eleanor Pelta, “US to Begin Accepting Applications Under the International Entrepreneur Rule”, The National Law Review, December 19, 2017
  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will accept applications to comply with a recent court order, but will work concurrently to publish rules to rescind the program entirely. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on December 14 that it will take steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) in compliance with a December 1 ruling from the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
  • Applicants must first file Form I941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, with the required filing fee of $1,200 (including an additional $85 biometric services fees), and supporting documentary evidence that demonstrates eligibility under the above criteria. If this application is approved, the entrepreneur must then visit a US consulate abroad to obtain proper travel documentation before appearing at a US port of entry for a final parole determination.


  1. Alexander Hecht and R. Neal Martin, “EB-5 Program Extended to January 19, 2018”, The National Law Review, December 22, 2017
  • With just hours to spare in order to avoid a government shutdown, the House and Senate approved on December 21 a shortterm continuing resolution (CR) funding federal activities through January 19.
  • The CR extends the current authorization for the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program while congressional leadership and interested stakeholders continue to negotiate a long-term measure to reform and reauthorize the program.
  • A longterm reauthorization is unlikely to move as a stand-alone bill and could be included in any spending measure approved in January. Another option for a legislative vehicle would be immigration reform legislation, which has been highlighted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as an opportunity for bipartisan cooperation in 2018.


  1. Jayshal Sood, “H-1B Visa Changes in 2018: Employer Preregistration, Redefining the High Specialty Occupation, and Withdrawal of Work-Permits of H-1B Spouses”, The American Bazaar, December 26, 2017
  • Trump administration will be making several changes to the H1B visa program in the year 2018. Among other things, the administration may introduce a mandatory pre-registration for employers who plan to file H-1B petitions to bring foreign workers, according to a report by Fragomen […].
  • Another change would be in the definition of the specialty occupation, and wage requirements. In order to screen the “best and brightest” foreign workers, the agency is planning to revise the definition of some keywords and these changes are expected to be published by October 2018.
  • A third change might be the cancellation of the employment authorization of H1B spouses. Proposals to rescind the work permit for H-4 visa holders have been made several times. It is expected that decision on this will be announced in February 2018.


  1. US, Turkey Lift Mutual Visa Restrictions – State Department”, Sputnik News, December 28, 2017
  • The United States will allow the full resumption of visa services in Turkey after Ankara provided sufficient assurances that the staff at its diplomatic mission would not be arrested while performing their duties, the US State Department announced in a press release on Thursday. The State Department said that since October, Turkey has complied with assurances it gave to Washington with regard to US diplomatic staff working in the country.
  • “Based on adherence to these assurances, the Department of State is confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey,” the release said.
  • "We welcome the decision," to resume visas services, the Turkish Embassy in Washington said, adding that "within the framework of the principle of reciprocity, the restrictions on our visa regime for US citizens were lifted simultaneously."






  1. Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Offer 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit,” Xinhua, December 28, 2017
  • China extended its visafree period for people transitting through Beijing to 144 hours Thursday, and added neighboring Hebei Province and Tianjin City to the program. Transit air, train, and ship passengers entering either of the six border ports in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei can stay in the region for six days before heading for another destination, according to Beijing's Port Office. A valid travel document and a connecting ticket are required.
  • "We open rail and land ports for the first time and allow passengers to visit more places (Tianjian and Hebei)," she said. "The policy is expected to boost Beijing's economic and cultural exchanges with the world and is good to the city's image." BeijingTianjin-Hebei is the second region in China where transit passengers can stay up to six days. In January 2016, Shanghai and neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu began offering the visa-free service.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Saudi HNWIs Boost Demand for 2nd Passport by 70pc”, Trade Arabia, December 31, 2017
  • High net worth families and residents in Saudi Arabia contributed to over 70 per cent increase in demand for second European and Caribbean nationality in the final quarter (Q4) of 2017, said an industry expert. This demand is mainly driven by political and economic distress in the Middle East, in addition to stringent immigration policies applied by European nations and countries like the US on a number of Arab countries, which is creating an urgency for applicants to obtain a second citizenship […].
  • The increase in demand is also attributed to the latest amendments in the citizenship legislation of countries like Saint Kitts & Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica, and Antigua & Barbuda. The amendments decreased the application costs by 50 per cent, which have made it a much more accessible process.




  1. Elain Hou and Shih Hsiu-chuan, “Visa-Free Privilege Doubles Number of Filipino Arrivals”, Focus Taiwan News Channel, December 24, 2017
  • The visafree privilege granted by Taiwan to the Philippines has doubled the number of visits by Filipinos in November, according to statistic provided by Taiwan's National Immigration Agency (NIA). Since Taiwan granted the visa-free entry on Nov. 1, the country has received 31,747 visitors from the Philippines, up 107.66 percent compared to the same period last year that saw 15,288 trips made by Filipinos, the NIA said.
  • About 23.6 percent of the visitors, or 7,500, traveled visafree with their passports that allowed for a stay of up to 14 days, the NIA said.
  • The measure, part of the government's efforts to enhance Taiwan's bilateral ties with the neighboring Southeast Asian country, one of the 18 target countries under its New Southbound Policy, will undergo a ninemonth trial period that will last until July 31, 2018.


  1. Hugh Morris, “Taiwan to Destroy 200,000 Passports After Accidentally Including an Image of a US Airport”, The Telegraph, December 28, 2017
  • Taiwan has been forced to destroy around 200,000 passports after designers accidentally used an image of Washington Dulles International Airport instead of its own Taoyuan International. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mofa) admitted on Tuesday that it would need to recall 285 passports already issued and pulp the remainder.
  • The mistake was somewhat understandable after it emerged that Taoyuan’s Terminal One, finished in 1979, was modelled on the 1962 design of architect Eero Saarinen’s Dulles.
  • Mofa has said all copies of the erroneous passport would be replaced, and a new designed would be printed and ready in January. Applicants without a document in the meantime can apply for an epassport, Mofa said.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Caline Malek, “Emiratis to Get Visa-Free Travel to China in January”, The National, December 21, 2017
  • Emiratis will soon be able to travel to China visafree thanks to an agreement signed between the UAE and China on Tuesday. The deal exempts UAE nationals carrying regular passports from obtaining pre-entry visas, with the possibility of staying for up to 30 days on each visit, starting from January 16, 2018.
  • The UAE is an increasingly popular destination for Chinese tourists, with between 800,000 to a million visiting the country in the past year, up from 600,000 in 2016 and 450,000 in 2015. In contrast only 10 000 Emiratis visited China in 2017, says the Chinese embassy. In September, China opened its first Middle East’s visa application centre in Dubai.


  1. Visa-Waiver for Emiratis Travelling to Chile”, Khaleej Times, December 26, 2017
  • UAE citizens can travel to Chile without prior visa, effective from December 16, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced on Monday. The development comes in pursuance of the MoU signed by the UAE and the Republic of Chile on November 12 to exempt Emirati and Chilean nationals carrying ordinary passports from obtaining preentry visas while travelling to both countries.
  • Ahmed Saeed Ilham Al Dhaheri, Assistant UnderSecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry, said holders of ordinary UAE passports can now enter Chile without pre-entry visa and stay up to 90 days He added that the signing of the MoU would further strengthen cooperation between the UAE and Chile in areas of tourism, trade and investment.


  1. Visa-Free Travel to Rwanda for UAE Citizens”, Arabian Business, January 1, 2018
  • UAE nationals can now travel to Rwanda without prior visa arrangements, the UAE’s government announced on Saturday. The announcement is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, the UAE’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community.
  • The agreement is applicable for UAE nationals holding regular, private, diplomatic and VIP passports, and also exempts Rwandan holders of diplomatic passports to from UAE priorvisa requirements.






  1. Ofer Aderet, “Vienna Says Will Grant Citizenship to Descendants of Austrian Holocaust Victims”, Haaretz, December 19, 2017
  • According to the new Austrian government's work plans, they will give citizenship to the relatives of Austrian victims of the Holocaust. Haaretz has found that at this time, there are no further details regarding this plan, and criteria for the plan have yet to be established. The implications of this plan are also unclear, as it is currently possible in certain situations for families of those stripped of Austrian citizenship during the Nazi regime to regain their citizenship.
  • Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that the plan would grant approximately 200 thousand people with Austrian citizenship, adding that not all of those eligible would necessarily be interested in this option.




  1. Visa-Free Travel Time up to Ten Days in Parts of Brest Oblast, Grodno Oblast as From 1 January”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, December 26, 2017
  • The visafree travel time for foreign citizens will be extended up to ten days in several areas in Brest Oblast and Grodno Oblast as from 1 January. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed relevant decree No. 462 on 26 December, the press service of the head of state told BelTA.
  • In line with the document the number of border checkpoints will be increased in Brest Oblast and the city, in Grodno Oblast and the city via the checkpoints located at railway terminals and in airports in order to allow more foreign tourists to enter Belarus and stay here without visas. Foreign citizens will be able to stay in Belarus without visas for ten days for the purposes of tourism. The areas where tourists are allowed to stay without visas will be expanded.
  • At present in line with presidential decrees No.115 of 9 March 2015 and No.318 of 23 August 2016 the visafree travel option is available in Belovezhskaya Pushcha for up to 72 hours and in the Augustow Canal and its surrounding areas for up to five days.



  1. Sotiris Nikas, Paul Tugwell, and Eleni Chrepa, “Russian and Chinese Buyers Are Snapping Up Greek Properties”, Bloomberg, December 20, 2017
  • The average price per square meter in Greece is 2,846 euros ($3,369), according to Germanybased statistics company Statista. That’s almost 1,000 euros cheaper than Portugal, which has a similar golden visa program for property buyers, one and a half times cheaper than in Spain and Germany, and almost three times cheaper than in Italy and Austria. Greece is more expensive than Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Estonia.
  • Greece awarded 2,053 golden visas between 2013 and October 2017, with Chinese investors accounting for 43 percent of them, according to Enterprise Greece, the state agency responsible for promoting investments and exports. Russians are in second place with 18.6 percent and investors from neighboring Turkey third at 8.4 percent. Greece has raised more than 513 million euros in foreign investments from the visa program.


  1. Philip Chrysopoulos, “Rich Turks Buy EU Resident Rights by Purchasing Property in Greece”, Greek Reporter, December 29, 2017
  • Many prosperous Turkish citizens acquire free movement in Europe, by purchasing real estate property in Greece; an act that gives them full EU resident rights, according to Deutsche Welle.
  • The “golden visa” that the Greek government offers to foreigners who buy real estate property upwards of 250,000 euros, has lured many nonEU nationals to seek this pathway into Europe. The residence permit for the buyer and their immediate family is for five years, and is renewable. The “golden visa” gives the buyer the right to work in Greece and move freely around EU member states.
  • “Many Turks regard Greece as a safe haven from the uncertainty that prevails in their homeland. By paying the corresponding price, they can ensure a “fire exit” to the EU. The “golden visa” is their security for the worst circumstance,” the German report says, noting that since the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, more and more Turks want to leave the country.




  1. Lisa O’Carroll, “Record Number of Irish Passports Issued As Brexit Vote Spurs Demand”, The Guardian, December 29, 2017
  • The number of Irish passports issued has hit record levels since the Brexit vote, with applications from Britain and Northern Ireland continuing to rise, the Irish government has announced. More than 160,000 Irish passports were issued to people in Northern Ireland and Britain in 2017. At the same time, the number of people born in Britain registering as Irish rocketed by 95%.
  • According to statistics issued by Ireland’s department of foreign affairs on Friday, 779,000 Irish passports were issued in 2017, the highest number since records began.




  1. Russia Approves Visa-Free Entry for Spectators During FIFA World Cup 2018”, Sputnik News, December 27, 2017
  • The Russian government has approved a bill that allows foreign nationals to enter Russia without a visa, using a personalized spectator card for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup, the official statement read on Wednesday.
  • The bill also proposes to provide a free pass on railway transport for the accredited representatives of mass media on the basis of an identity document and accreditation card, according to the statement. Following the cabinet’s approval, the bill will be submitted to the Russian lower house.




  1. Ukraine, UAE Launch Visa-Free Travel on New Year’s Eve”, UNIAN, December 31, 2017
  • The official says citizens of Ukraine with biometric passports can travel to the UAE without visas for up to 30 days. Read also Poroshenko announces visa waivers with UAE Earlier, the foreign ministry reported on holding talks with 20 more countries on the introduction of a visafree regime.
  • On December 14, the ministry informed about the conditions for the visafree regime with the UAE, in particular, the passport requirements and the duration of Ukrainian citizens' stay there.


United Kingdom


  1. Patrick Greenfield, “British Passports Will Be Navy Blue After Brexit, Says Home Office”, The Guardian, December 22, 2017
  • Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, said: “Leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world. “That is why I am delighted to announce that the British passport will be returning to the iconic blue and gold design after we have left the European Union in 2019.”
  • After the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, burgundy passports will continue to be issued but with no reference to the trade bloc. The blue and gold passports will be issued from October 2019, when the £490m passport contract begins, to British nationals renewing or applying for a new passport.
  • After the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, burgundy passports will continue to be issued but with no reference to the trade bloc. The blue and gold passports will be issued from October 2019, when the £490m passport contract begins, to British nationals renewing or applying for a new passport.





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