HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 07.03.2018

Mar 07,2018





  1. Seychelles: Visa Waiver for Diplomatic and Official Passport Signed with Thailand”, CNBC Africa, February 27, 2018
  • Following the accreditation of H.E. Mr. Cherdkiat Atthakor, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Republic of Seychelles, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure and the newly appointed Thai Ambassador held a brief bilateral meeting and signed a visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passports between the two countries.
  • Ambassador Faure described the signing as a milestone in the relationship of the two countries which is also a positive step in ensuring visa free travel to Thailand for all passport types.






  1. Brian Major, “Brazil E-Visa Could Dramatically Increase US Visitors”, Travel Pulse, February 27, 2018
  • Since the January 25, 2018 launch of its electronic visa program, the Brazilian Tourism Board (EMBRATUR) reports visa applications by Americans have increased 70 percent compared with the same period in 2017. Brazil hosted 6.6 million visitors in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. Of that number, Americans accounted for 550,000 Brazil visits.
  • “These first results show that implementing the electronic visa should represent a direct impact towards a change of level in the flow of North American tourists to Brazil,” said Vinícius Lummertz, EMBRATUR’s president.
  • Travelers may apply for evisas online; EMBRATUR officials say response time is less than 72 hours. E-Visas cost $40 and are valid for two years; 65 percent of U.S. travelers bound for Brazil now utilize e-visas, officials say.




  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “The Government of Canada Announces the Winning Bid for new Visa Application Centre Contract”, Government of Canada, February 23, 2018
  • The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the winning supplier for the VAC contract: VF Worldwide Holdings Ltd.
  • Canada is expanding the network of Visa Application Centres over the next two years. By November 2019, there will be at least 149 VAC locations in 99 countries. VACs are managed by thirdparty service providers. These companies are authorized to provide specific services to visa applicants under the terms of a formal contract with the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • Canada has one of the most extensive VAC networks in the world—more than 96% of applicants will be able to access a Visa Application Centre in their country of residence by November 2019.


  1. Chantal Da Silva, “H-1B Visa is ‘Over’: Highly Skilled Foreign Workers Look to Canada as Trump Cracks Down on Program”, Newsweek, February 26, 2018
  • Highly skilled foreign workers who have come to the U.S. on H1B visas are looking to take their skills north, as the Trump administration moves to place tighter restrictions on the program.
  • "We have many H1B clients who are in the process of immigrating to Canada," Bruce Allen, an immigration lawyer serving clients in the U.S. and Canada, told Newsweek. "They are motivated in part by the harsher immigration environment in the United States, and in part by the very lengthy wait for Green Cards, which can take 15 years or more, as opposed to six months for permanent residence in Canada."


  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Ministers Responsible for Immigration and the Canadian Francophonie Announce Joint Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration”, Government of Canada, March 2, 2018
  • Federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese, cochairs of the meeting, together with other provincial and territorial ministers, announced a new federal-provincial-territorial FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec.
  • The Action Plan outlines actions that federal, provincial and territorial governments can take individually or collaboratively to increase Francophone immigration.


St. Kitts & Nevis


  1. St. Kitts-Nevis, Republic of Moldova Sign Joint Visa-Waiver Agreement”, St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, March 3, 2018
  • Through their respective diplomatic envoys, the governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of Moldova signed a joint visawaiver agreement Friday in which the two countries agreed to commit to the free movement of their respective citizens.
  • Upon completion of the necessary internal procedures, the agreement will enter into force ensuring that citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of Moldova who hold either a valid diplomatic, official, service and ordinary passport can enter, exit and transit each other’s territories without the need for a visa. They will be able to remain for an uninterrupted period of up to 90 days or for several stays of up to 90 days during any 180day period.


St. Lucia


  1. Chastanet Supports OECS Oversight of Citizenship by Investment”, St. Lucia Times, March 4, 2018
  • Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has said that Saint Lucia supports the idea of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) being run out of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
  • ‘In the absence of it being run out of the OECS, Saint Lucia continues to lobby the other countries to agree on a common pricing structure as well as a common standard as it pertains to the due diligence,’ Chastanet disclosed.
  • ‘Certainly Saint Lucia goes into this programme every day understanding the burden that is upon us to make sure that we have a high enough wall in order to protect all the people that have entrusted their trust with Saint Lucia and we are hoping that everybody is going to do the same thing,’ he stated.


United States


  1. Lawrence Hurley & Andrew Chung, “Supreme Court Rejects Trump Over ‘Dreamers’ Immigrants”, Reuters, February 26, 2018
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a setback to President Donald Trump, requiring his administration to maintain protections he has sought to end for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought illegally into the United States as children.
  • The justices refused to hear the administration’s appeal of a federal judge’s Jan. 9 nationwide injunction that halted Trump’s move to rescind a program that benefits immigrants known as“Dreamers” implemented in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
  • In a brief order, the Supreme Court justices said the appeal was“denied without prejudice,” indicating they will maintain an open mind on the underlying legal issue still being considered by the San Franciscobased 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The justices also said they expect the lower court to“proceed expeditiously to decide this case.”






  1. Mech Dara & Daphne Chen, ‘Price of Citizenship Could Rise”, The Phnom Penh Post, February 27, 2018
  • Cambodia is one of a few dozen countries where foreigners can, in essence, buy citizenship – in the case of the Kingdom by investing at least 1.25 billion riel (about $312,000) in a governmentapproved project. That figure was set in 1996, when the country’s nationality law was first adopted, but no longer reflects Cambodia’s economic growth, according to Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak.
  • Over the past three years, 1,050 foreigners have obtained Khmer citizenship through investment, according to a report released by the ministry last month. The option is particularly popular among real estate investors from China and South Korea who wish to own land in the Kingdom.


  1. Sen David, “Foreigners Have Month to Obtain Work Permits”, Khmer Times, February 28, 2018
  • The Interior Ministry and Labour Ministry yesterday issued a deadline for foreign employers and foreign workers in Cambodia to obtain a work permit at the Labour Ministry. According to a letter from both ministries yesterday, foreign employers and foreign workers are given 30 days from the date of the letter to get a permit. If they fail to do so, both ministries will come for inspections.
  • Sok Phal, head of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said both ministries have given foreign workers one month to obtain a work permit and if they fail to do so, their employer will be fined $125.


  1. Mech Dara & Daphne Chen, “Government Pledges Documentation for Ethnic Vietnamese”, The Phnom Penh Post, February 28, 2018
  • The government yesterday maintained it was opening a path to citizenship for roughly 70,000 ethnic Vietnamese people living in Cambodia, though many have lived here for generations, and advocates say a current drive to revoke “irregular” government documents is effectively rendering many stateless.
  • Officials described the plan yesterday at the yearend meeting of the Interior Ministry’s Immigration Department. Nouv Leakhena, deputy head of immigration, said the government recognises that many members of the oft-marginalised group have lived in Cambodia since before the Khmer Rouge regime.
  • Leakhena yesterday stressed that granting citizenship was not the department’s main focus, although immigration officials said yesterday that ethnic Vietnamese who get residency cards may apply for citizenship after seven years, in line with the country’s citizenship law. “Now, we are not thinking about nationality. We are thinking about the management of immigrants in Cambodia,” Leakhena said.




  1. Nearly 1 Mln Chinese Tourists Visit Russia Visa-Free in 2017”, Xinhua, February 27, 2018
  • The visafree tourist flow from China to Russia rose 23 percent year on year to 944,000 people in 2017, the Russian travel association "World without borders" said Tuesday. A total of 1.24 million Chinese tourists visited Russia in the first nine months of 2017, it said in a statement. Group tourists from China and Russia can visit each other's country visa-free.
  • "China is our strategic partner in the sphere of tourism and the leader in terms of visitor numbers," the statement quoted Oleg Safonov, head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, as saying.
  • The number of Russians who visited China visafree last year was 415,000, an increase of 20 percent from a year ago, it said, adding that most of them were residents of the bordering regions.


  1. Morocco Sees Leap in Chinese Tourists After Visa-Free Regime”, Xinhua, March 1, 2018
  • The number of Chinese tourists visiting Morocco reached 118,000 in 2017, Khalid Fathi, chief representative of the Moroccan tourist office in China, said on Wednesday. Since King Mohammed VI's decision to grant Chinese citizens visafree access from June 1, 2016, Morocco has witnessed remarkable increase in the number of Chinese tourists, which used to be no more than 20,000 each year.
  • At the ChinaMorocco Tourism Cooperation Forum held in Morocco's northwestern city of Casablanca in February, Morocco's Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicraft and Social Economy Mohamed Sajid said the expectation is to attract 500,000 Chinese tourists annually by 2020.




  1. Talks With Russia on Visa-Free Visits Postponed”, NHK Newsline, March 2, 2018
  • Japan and Russia have failed to reach agreement on this year's visafree visits to 4 Russian-held islands by former Japanese residents.
  • The Japanese delegation proposed that a total of 1,221 Japanese be allowed to visit the islands on 26 occasions between May and October. Some of these people hope to visit their ancestors' graves. But the Russian side withheld approval for some of the proposed visits. The 2 sides will meet again in late March at the earliest.
  • Russia controls the 4 islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.




  1. Mohammad Ghazal, “18 Investors Apply to Obtain Citizenship, Residency Under Incentive Scheme”, The Jordan Times, March 5, 2018’
  • The Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) on Sunday said it had received 18 applications by Arab investors to obtain Jordanian nationality and permanent residency, following a recent Cabinet decision endorsing the new incentive system.
  • "One of these applications received the initial approval and we are receiving inquiries on a daily basis for further clarification of the new instructions," Minister of State for Investment Affairs and JIC Chairman Muhannad Shehadeh told The Jordan Times in a phone interview on Sunday.
  • Last week, the Cabinet endorsed a decision under which investors are offered several options to become eligible for citizenship. They include a zerointerest, five-year $1.5 million deposit at the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ), or buying Treasury bonds of the same value at an interest rate to be decided by CBJ for no less than 10 years. The third option is to buy securities worth $1.5 million from an active investment portfolio, or to invest $1 million in SMEs for at least five years to become a Jordanian national.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Visit Visas Can be Extended for Maximum 180 Days”, Saudi Gazette, February 28, 2018
  • Visit visas cannot be extended for more than 180 days, the Passport Department (Jawazat) announced on Tuesday. Visa extension requests can be made seven days before the expiry of visit visas. The Jawazat said the final exit visa will be valid for 60 days and is issued free of charge.
  • It said dependents and companions of expatriate workers will not be affected by the rule which bans entry of those who go out and do not return on time.
  • The Jawazat urged Haj and Umrah pilgrims to observe the validity of their entry visas. Those who perform Haj without a permit will be banned from entering the Kingdom for 10 years.


  1. Elly Blake, “Saudi Arabia Issues Tourist Visas for the First Time – Including for Lone Women”, Express, March 5, 2018
  • This deeply conservative nation is hoping to welcome 30 million visitors annually by 2030. To meet this target, the first tourism visas will be issued to travellers from 1 April 2018, alongside business travellers, pilgrims making religious journeys and people visiting relatives.
  • For the first time, women aged 25 and above will be issued a 30day single-entry tourist visa without a male chaperone. The plan to issue new tourist visas was revealed in a new report ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018 which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25.
  • The change in attitude comes after Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s promises of a “moderate, open Islam.”




  1. Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar, “Taiwan Aims to Woo ASEAN Visitors with Visa Waiver Programs”, The Scoop, March 3, 2018
  • Taiwan’s trial visa waiver programme for five ASEAN countries, including Brunei, may be extended pending a review by the Taiwanese government this August. Since August 2016, Brunei — along with the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia — has enjoyed visafree travel to Taiwan for up to 30 days.
  • The relaxation of visa rules aims to promote peopleto-people exchanges as part of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), said Alan Hao Yang, CEO of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at National Chengchi University.
  • The NSP currently grants visafree travel to five ASEAN countries and simplified visa regulations for the other five — Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam.






  1. Stelios Orphanides, “Confidentiality for Investors Buying Passports”, Cyprus Mail, February 28, 2018
  • Leaking a list of names who are beneficiaries of Cyprus’ citizenshipby-investment scheme to the media is possibly a criminal offence, commissioner for personal data protection, Irini Loizidou said on Wednesday after reports named several individuals and law firms involved in the scheme. In a statement, Loizidou said it was in the hands of the attorney-general whether there were grounds for a criminal investigation.
  • “The law for citizenships does not provide publishing data on the people who have obtained citizenship whether it be for investment or other reasons, such as a marriage with a Cypriot citizen.” As such, “there is no legal basis for publishing such data,” Loizidou added.
  • “If it comes to my attention that the list is being republished I will exercise my authority provided by the law against media outlets that do so.”




  1. Foreign Ministry: Demand for Latvian Visas on Rise in 2017 Year”, The Baltic Course, March 2, 2018
  • Foreign Ministry’s state secretary Andrejs Pildegovics said that last year 171,087 visa applications were received compared to 169,301 applications in 2016. As in 2017 the visafree regime for citizens of Georgia and Ukraine holding biometric passports came into effect, the increase in the number of visa applications suggest that interest of foreigners in Latvia has stabilized.
  • "An especially large rise, by 48%, in the number of visa applicants from India can be explained with the attempts of Latvian universities and vocations schools to export Latvia’s education. The number of rejections has also risen due to security and illegal migration risks," the ministry representatives said.
  • In relation to other consular services, there is a rise for the services to Latvian nationals living abroad.




  1. HS Manjunath, “Russia to Offer Free Visas for 2018 World Cup”, The Phnom Penh Post, February 26, 2018
  • “We offer visafree entry, free transport between cities and in cities, and a wide range of other facilities for fans to visit and enjoy the unique experience of witnessing the 32 of the best teams play in the World Cup, which is watched by an estimated audience that exceeds even the Olympics” [Dmitry Yudin, the Counsellor (Political) at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Phnom Penh] told a press conference at the Embassy today.
  • “We are introducing a Fan Card, where a ticket holder will be registered and issued with an ID that will enable the holder of the ticket to access free public transport within the city or from one city to another.






  1. Shamsher Kainth, “Australia to introduce New Visa to Boost Economy, Jobs”, SBS, March 5, 2018
  • The Federal Government says, to increase job opportunities, it will start a new visa to foster entrepreneurship and improve the state’s economy before its national roll out next year. "The Turnbull Government is focussed on increasing job opportunities and standards of living for Australians and we are doing this by fostering business growth and investment in Australia," Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.
  • Under the proposed visa, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary visa to establish their venture in Australia. The existing entrepreneur visa requires a mandatory capital backing of $200,000 which will not be required for the proposed visa. […]Entrepreneurs who are successful in establishing their business venture in Australia will become eligible to apply for permanent residence.
  • Revealing further details of the proposed visa, the South Australian Liberal leader Steven Marshall said all applicants must be under 45 years of age and have vocational level English which is band 5 in each four components of the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS).



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