- Daniel Mumbere, “United Nations Commends Africa for Continental Free Trade Deal”, Africa News, March 23, 2018
- The United Nations has welcomed the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), congratulating the leaders upon creating one of the world’s largest trading blocs with over 50 countries. In a statement issued by the global body’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations said the move is important towards achieving the sustainable development goals and delivering the African agenda on peace and prosperity.
- 44 countries signed the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, while 43 heads of state signed the Kigali declaration for the launch of AfCFTA and 27 signed protocols relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.
- The AU Protocol on the Free Movement of Person paved the way for citizens of different member states to be issued with African passports in future and establish businesses anywhere in Africa. The AU has set a 2018 deadline for the removal of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries.
- “Africa Gains Chinese Traveller Attention”, TTR Weekly, March 20, 2018
- More Chinese travellers are showing Interest in visiting Africa according to a forecast by Travelzoo. Booking and search trends indicates largest popularity growth for travel to Africa this 2018 based on the company’s latest Travelzoo Travel Trends Survey*. The survey shows a record high number of Chinese respondents, more than 60%, said they were planning socalled in-depth travel in 2018.
- “Indepth travel” is a term used by travel websites in China to describe the type of trips that involve more unconventional journeys beyond the typical tourist experience. For the very first time, Africa moved up to first place as the top in-depth travel destination that Chinese travellers hope to visit in 2018, dethroning the ever-popular Japan and Australia.
- Among the destinations in Africa, Travelzoo’s identified Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania.
- Les Perreaux, “Canadian Attitudes Towards Immigrants, Refugees Remain Positive: Study”, The Globe and Mail, March 22, 2018
- Sixin-10 Canadians chose “disagree” when asked the question “Are immigration levels too high?” in the February survey by the Environics Institute for Survey Research – a finding that has remained relatively stable for a decade. Eight-in-10 said immigrants have a positive economic impact. Compared with last year’s survey, more respondents believed that immigrants adopt Canadian values. Most of the national results extended a steady 30-year trend toward greater acceptance of immigrants.
- On a global scale, Canada still stands out for the public’s positive attitudes toward new comers and in the happiness that immigrants themselves report. When asked about their wellbeing, Canadian immigrants were ranked seventh-happiest out of 140 countries.
St. Kitts & Nevis
- “St. Kitts and Nevis Launch New Fund for Citizenship by Investment Programme”, PR Newswire, March 21, 2018
- The world's first citizenship by investment programme in St Kitts and Nevis has launched a new fund the Sustainable Growth Fund - to boost investment in the prospering Caribbean nation. The Sustainable Growth Fund will be more affordable than the previous ongoing fund - the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation - with a price-point of US$150,000 for a single applicant and US$195,000 for a family of four.
- The Prime Minister […] spoke of the attractive mobility benefits economic citizens will have if they invest in a St Kitts and Nevis second citizenship: "St Kitts and Nevis recently signed historic visa waiver agreements with Russia, India and Indonesia. Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis enjoy visa free entry to more than 140 countries including Germany, France, Holland, Italy and the United Kingdom."
- The Sustainable Growth Fund will be operational and adopted within the St Kitts and Nevis Government legislation from the 2 April.
- “Range Developments Company Praises New CBI Options”, The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, March 22, 2018
- Mohammed Asaria, founder of Range Developments, the company that developed the recently opened and highly internationally acclaimed ultraluxury five star resort Park Hyatt St. Kitts, said “Range Developments applauds the government of St. Kitts and Nevis for its astute repositioning of the island’s Citizenship-by-Investment Programme.”
- Asaria said that he completely endorses the new CBI option. “As the developers of the recently opened Park Hyatt St. Kitts and the newly launched Six Senses St. Kitts, we think this is a very positive step [that] will breathe new life into the country’s real estate market,” he said in a letter to the government.
- Beckie Strum, “U.S.’s EB-5 Program Gets Six-Month Extension”, Mansion Global, March 23, 2018
- The U.S. Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill early Friday morning that, among much else, will extend for another six months the controversial EB5 immigration visa program that finances a number of high-end condo developments. President Donald Trump signed the bill in the afternoon after tweeting earlier that he might veto it.
- Meanwhile, the extension will do nothing to reform the embattled visa program, which has been the subject of negotiations among lawmakers and lobbyists for years. Potential reforms include increasing the minimum investment requirement, setting aside visa specifically for rural investment projects and increasing safeguards against fraudulent projects, Mansion Global has previous reported.
- Steve Brusk & Gregory Wallace, “Commerce Department Says Citizenship Question Will Be Reinstated in 2020 Census”, CNN, March 27, 2018
- In a controversial move, the Commerce Department tonight said the question of citizenship will again be included in the 2020 Census. The move comes at the request of the Justice Department, first made in the early days of the administration, saying it was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.
- Census data is used to determine where federal funds are spent and how congressional districts are drawn, among other uses. The Census is intended to count the entire population, not just US citizens.
- The statement said that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross "determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government purpose outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts."
- Mom Sophon, “Cambodia, Thailand Agree on Three Permanent Border Gates”, Khmer Times, March 23, 2018
- Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to support a development project that would convert three border corridors into permanent border gates in order to facilitate trade and the crossing of people from both countries.
- Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Sucheat said he had not received detailed information about the opening of the border gates, but noted that generally, the opening of border gates was conducted in many phases.
- One of the three proposed border gates is in the Ban Khao Din area of Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, next to a rural area in Cambodia’s Battambang province, while the other two border gate locations are in the Gulf of Thailand in Buriram and Trat provinces.
- Zhang Hui, “Shanghai Issues New Policy Against Dual Citizenship”, Global Times, March 21, 2018
- Shanghai citizens who have settled down in foreign countries or acquired a foreign nationality should cancel their hukou registration at a local police station. Police could do a mandatory hukou cancellation on those who refuse to cancel it themselves or fail to cancel it one month upon being informed, according to the new hukou policy released by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau's website. The new policy takes effect on May 1.
- Song Quancheng, director of the Institute of Migration Studies at Shandong University, told the Global Times that the new policy targets those who enjoy dual citizenship, as China does not recognize dual nationality.
- David Rosenberg, “The US Just Made it Easier for Israelis to Visit”, Arutz Sheva, March 22, 2018
- Amid speculation that the US may soon drop its requirement that Israelis wishing to enter the US apply for a tourist visa before their trip by adding Israel to the visa waiver program, the US embassy in Tel Aviv has announced that it is easing the conditions for Israeli citizens who already possess visas to renew them.
- According to a statement released by the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, any Israeli citizen who currently holds a valid tourist visa or a visa which expired within the last 12 months and was over the age of 14 when he or she received the last visa is eligible for the new visa renewal process.
- No interview will be required for those eligible, and the process can be completed without travelling to either the US embassy or consulate.
- Yoolim Lee & Michelle Jamrisko, “Malaysia Tells Tech Entrepreneurs to Give It a Second Look”, Bloomberg, March 22, 2018
- Policy makers are serious about developing the sector that created more than 170,000 new jobs and contributed 18.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2017, said Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive officer of government agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corp.
- MDEC’s initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs to set up shop in the country of 32 million people span new immigration policies and tax incentives, Yasmin said in an interview in Singapore Tuesday. Malaysia grants a oneyear visit pass for tech entrepreneurs based overseas and up to a decade of tax exemption for startups, including those that are fully foreign-owned, she said.
- “Tajikistan Approves Visa-Free Regime with Uzbekistan”, Trend News Agency, March 19, 2018
- Lower Chamber of the Tajik Parliament ratified the agreement between governments of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on mutual visafree visits of citizens.
- The intergovernmental agreement on mutual visafree regime on 30-day long visits for citizens of the two countries was signed during the Uzbek President’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s official visit to Tajikistan.
- “Thailand’s Immigration Police Crackdown on Foreigners Abusing 'Non-Ed' Visas”, Chiang Rai Times, March 24, 2018
- Thailand’s Deputy Chief of the Tourist Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, has announced a swathe of arrests, rooting out foreigners staying on study visas and then committing crime in Thailand. He said that the Tourist police and immigration are working closely with educational establishments to root out foreigners abusing study or “noned” visas.
- Surachet said that there is a cap of nonattendance of classes is being made. If a person with a study visa is absence from a course more than three times and it’s not explained, then that person will lose their student status and face expulsion from Thailand.
- In the latest crackdown Surachet said a joint operation with 191 special branch, immigration Police and several other agencies in Bangkok had resulted in arrests at 108 locations.
- “Plans to Extend Visa-Free Travel Period in Belarus Up to Ten Days This Year”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, March 22, 2018
- Plans have been made to extend the visafree travel period in Belarus up to ten days by the end of the year, BelTA learned from Vitaly Gritsevich, Deputy Head of the Tourism Department of the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Ministry, on 22 March.
- The Sports and Tourism Ministry representative specified that the visafree travel period can be extended up to ten days after a number of other matters, including those relating to migration laws, are taken care of.
- “Georgia-Belarus Sign Bilateral Visa Free Deal”, Agenda.ge, March 23, 2018
- The Georgian and Belarus foreign ministers signed bilateral visa free deal late on Thursday during Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s visit to Georgia.
- The former travel agreement, which also provided for visa free travel and dates back to 2014, included Belarus as one of 24 countries with which Georgia introduced visafree travel.
- Misha Savic & Boris Cerni, “Kosovo Approves Border Deal in Bid to Gain EU Visa-Free Regime”, Bloomberg, March 22, 2018
- Kosovo lawmakers approved a border demarcation deal with Montenegro, meeting a European Union condition needed to gain a visafree regime for its citizens.
- The deal “represents a real achievement, welcome and concrete progress, very much in the spirit of good neighborly relations,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs said in a statement on Wednesday. “The ratification is also the fulfillment of one of the key criteria for Kosovo’s visa liberalization. It’s a crucial step toward visa liberalization which will first and foremost benefit the people.”
- “Russia, Japan Discussing Visa Waiver”, TASS, March 21, 2018
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japanese top diplomat Taro Kono have discussed the possibility of a visa waiver between the two countries.
- "We have discussed humanitarian and educational contacts, as well as visafree travels for Russian and Japanese citizens, including trips by the former residents of the [South Kuril] Islands who wish to visit the graves of their family members," Lavrov said on Wednesday at a press conference following talks with Taro Kono.
- "Last year, visa restrictions were eased for such travelers in accordance with an agreements reached by our leaders," Lavrov noted. According to him, Japan has requested that the same practice continue in 2018. "We have promised to consider this request," Lavrov said.
- “Minister Calls on North Korea to Ease Visa Requirements for Russians”, TASS, March 22, 2018
- Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Galushka has called on North Korea to ease visa requirements for Russian citizens to boost tourism and enhance bilateral cooperation, the ministry’s press service said on Thursday.
- "This year our diplomatic relations mark the 70th anniversary. Our country was the first one to officially recognize the independence of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Tourism may become one of the new growth areas of bilateral cooperation. The Russians’ potential interest in your country is very high," Galushka told an intergovernmental commission for trade and economic and scientific and technical cooperation.
- North Korea is among the countries where citizens may obtain evisa to travel to the Far East’s Primorye, Kamchatka and Sakhalin under a simplified visa regime as part of the free port of Vladivostok.
- “Ukraine, Qatar Sign Visa-Free Agreement”, Ukrinform, March 20, 2018
- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has signed an agreement on the introduction of a visafree regime with the State of Qatar.
- "I would like to congratulate all Ukrainians on the fact that we finally managed to reach an agreement on the visafree travel between Ukraine and Qatar. It gives even more value to the Ukrainian passport. It means more respect for Ukrainians. Unique tourist opportunities for Ukrainians in Qatar will be created and there will be a large number of Qatari citizens [who will visit Ukraine]," the press service of the head of state reported.
- “New Visa Scheme to Attract Highly Skilled Global Talent”, Government of Australia, March 19, 2018
- The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million will be able to sponsor highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia. The employers will need to be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.
- […] Four year Temporary Skill Shortage visa will be issued with permanent residence applications available after three years. The Government will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months, before piloting it for 12 months, starting 1 July 2018. An industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.
- “NZ Immigration Launches Annual Pacific Access”, Radio New Zealand, March 27, 2018
- The Samoan Quota and the Pacific Access Category resident visas allow for a number of people from five Pacific countries to be selected for New Zealand residence each year, provided they meet the necessary requirements.
- Each year up to 1100 Samoan citizens, 250 Tongan and Fijian citizens and 75 Kiribati and Tuvaluan citizens can be selected by ballot to be considered, but a number of applicants who do win a place often have to forfeit it after failing to secure an acceptable job offer.
- The Pacific Access Category quota ballots will be drawn on 8 June and results will be announced on 15 June and the Samoa Quota will be drawn on the 29 June and announced on 6 July.
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