- “Botswana Eases Visa Applications to Lure Investors”, Xinhua, July 4, 2018
- The Botswana government announced on Tuesday that they will ease the process of issuing work and residents permits and visa in an effort to reduce impediments of doing business in the country. The ministry had taken a decision to grant visa at the same time with approved work and residence/exemptions permits
- Previously, citizens of countries that require visa to enter Botswana had to apply for work and residence permits, or exemptions and they could only apply for visa once the other documents have been approved, or when they got exemptions.
- The new improvement will apply to applications received from July 1, 2018 while those that applied before the implementation date hereof will follow the current process.
- “Egypt Launches New Electronic Visa Service”, The Financial Tribune, June 27, 2018
- The Egyptian government has introduced a new e-visa service, whereby citizens from 46 countries, including the UK, can now easily obtain an entry visa online which are valid for a maximum of three months. This online application simplifies travel to the country and speeds up the process at border control.
- Amr El Ezabi, director of UK & Ireland for the Egyptian Tourist Authority, said, "We want travel to Egypt to be as seamless as possible and in the digital age this new e-visa system is an important step toward simplifying the process.
- "Latest tourism figures have shown a significant rise in arrivals and we hope that this trend continues as more people are encouraged to visit our diverse nation."
- Kuzeeko Tjitemisa, “Namibia Exempts Jamaica From Visas”, New Era, July 6, 2018
- Cabinet has authorised visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports of Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation famed for its gorgeous beaches. Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa, told a media briefing yesterday that Cabinet has authorised the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to exempt all holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports of Jamaica from visa requirements for visits to Namibia up to 90 days per calendar year.
- At the time, then Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya, said Namibia was ready to implement the diplomatic procedure, although it was waiting for some countries to finalise reciprocal arrangements with Namibia.
- “Angola Waives Visa Requirements for Rwandans”, The New Times, June 28, 2018
- With effect from July 1, 2018, Rwandan citizens travelling to Angola will no longer be required to have visas to enter Angolan territory, but get it on arrival. Whereas, travellers from across the world receive a 30-day visa upon arrival following the establishment of a new visa regime that was passed by a cabinet resolution in November 2017.
- According to the presidential decree, the waiver was because of “excellent relations” between Rwanda and Angola.
- “Canada Speeds Up Student Visa Process for Indians”, The Times of India, June 27, 2018
- Canada has introduced a faster and simpler visa process for students from India, China, Vietnam and Philippines who demonstrate upfront that they have the requisite financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada are eligible to opt for the newly introduce ‘Student Direct Stren’ (SDS) program.
- The number of Indian students opting for studies in Canada is on the rise and this new problem which cuts the processing times for study permits (which are student visas) to within 45 days as opposed to within 60 days will be helpful.
- The SDS compliments the express entry system as these students will be well placed to continue on the path to permanent residence and Canadian citizen after completing their studies in Canada, if they wish too. Applicants can get 15 extra points for a post-secondary education program in Canada which is one to two years duration and 30 points if it is of a duration of three years or more.
- “Haiti: Visa Available for Family Reunification in Chile”, Haiti Libre, July 3, 2018
- Haitians in Chile with a legal status (regularized) can apply for a humanitarian visa for family reunification, confirmed the Chilean Chancellor Roberto Ampuero.
- The quota is set for Haiti at 10,000 visas each year. For a period of 10 months, this visa is renewable once and then allows to apply for permanent residence in Chile.
- The Chancellor said "The application process begins on Chilean soil, where the Haitian parent with legal status, must write a letter requesting family reunification. This letter must be certified in front of a notary. Subsequently, the parent in Chile once his letter has been received in Haiti, will have to communicate with the office in Portau-Prince of IOM, the United Nations Agency that works with Chile in obtaining of this visa and in the verification of all local documents."
- “Feature: Eased Visa Policies Boost Exchanges, Cooperation Between China, Balkan Nations”, Xinhua, July 4, 2018
- Canceling or streamlining visa applications between China and Central and Eastern European countries such as Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Romania and Albania, is a pillar of the cooperation mechanism between sides that has brought tangible benefits to the public.
- While visa liberalization and simplification will undoubtedly lead to the flourishing of tourism industries in CEE countries, the impact will go beyond just that. The constant increase in the number of Chinese tourists will have a direct economic impact, facilitating development, creating jobs, promoting trade, encouraging infrastructure investment while improving the country's capacity in accommodating the tourists.
- Sarajevo Mayor Abdulah Skaka told Xinhua that visa liberalization with China is one of the best decisions made in recent years. "I am convinced that this agreement will open the doors for more Chinese tourists and will improve economic, scientific, cultural and tourist cooperation," Skaka said.
- “Hong Kong Top Court Grants Visa Rights to Same-Sex Partners”, Bloomberg, July 4, 2018
- Hong Kong’s top court handed down a landmark ruling that will pave the way for visas to be granted to same-sex spouses of LGBT expatriate workers in Asia’s biggest financial hub.
- The city’s Court of Final Appeal ruled in favor of a British lesbian, known as QT, who applied for a visa to reside in the city with her same-sex spouse.
- The ruling means that the marriage status and civil union partnership of same-sex couples will be recognized in Hong Kong for the specific purpose of a dependent visa. Still, the city’s definition of marriage, between a man and a woman, remains unchanged.
- Financial institutions and foreign chambers of commerce for years have lobbied Hong Kong’s government to grant visas for spouses of expatriate gay employees so that they could attract talent to live and work in the financial hub. Hong Kong, which doesn’t recognize samesex marriage, in 2016 began allowing same-sex spouses or civil partners of consular officials to stay in the city.
- “Hong Kong Businesses Say Same-Sex Spousal Visa Ruling Will Attract Fresh Talent to the City”, South China Morning Post, July 5, 2018
- Hong Kong businesses and headhunters have welcomed a top court’s decision to grant gay couples spousal visas, with some suggesting that it is set to put the city ahead of the game in Asia, including Singapore, in the global talent hunt.
- While international banks and law firms in the city praised the decision for making Hong Kong a more competitive city, headhunters said it would provide those who are offered jobs in the city one less thing to worry about.
- “This will show the world that Hong Kong is one of the cities around the world that accepts everyone,” he said. The ruling sets the city apart from its usual competitors such as Singapore, mainland China and Japan.
- “Visa and Residency Services Now Available Online”, The Jordan Times, July 2, 2018
- The Interior Ministry, in cooperation with the ICT, public sector development ministries and the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), launched 11 e-services related to visas and residency.
- The e-services include issuance and renewal of visit visas, transit visas, leave and return visas and work visas. The services also include issuance and renewal of study visas, annual residency with a job without a bank guarantee, annual residence for members of a family (joining head of the family) and residency for educational purposes, Mubaidin added.
- Other e-services include issuance of emergency travel documents and approval for changing residency location and work residency. The minister noted that Jordanians, foreigners inside and outside the Kingdom, hospitals, universities and tourist agencies, as well as companies and institutions, will all benefit from the new e-services.
- “Major Changes in Oman Visa Rules”, Khaleej Times, June 26, 2018
- The Sultanate of Oman has announced major changes to the visa rules for visitors and expats to bring more tourists as well as to attract more foreign investors to the country.
- The amendments allow foreigners who own certain properties in the Sultanate to receive a visa without a sponsor, as well as enable expatriates working for a government agency to become sponsors themselves.
- Tourist visa can now be availed for as short as 10day visa, one month, and one year- tourist visa.
- The Ministry of Manpower has also issued a decision to extend temporary band on hiring expatriates for 87 jobs in the private sector. The ban will be extended for another six months starting July 30, 2018, the Ministry announced.
United Arab Emirates
- “Visa in 24 Hours for these UAE Workers”, Gulf News, July 2, 2018
- Jafza on Monday signed a deal with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDFRA) that fast track and improves visa processing to within 24 hours for people working in the emirate’s major business hub, as well as in the National Industries Park (NIP).
- The move is expected to benefit more than 150,000 workers employed in at least 7,500 companies. The agreement between GDFRA and Jafza is also seen to boost productivity within the businesses operating in the free zone and NIP.
- “The agreement represents a new phase of cooperation with the GDFRA and integrates business practices as directed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.”
- “Foreign Tourist Happy with Vietnam’s Visa Exemption Policy”, Vietnam Net, June 27, 2018
- From the beginning of July, citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy will enjoy visa exemptions for the next three years, until June 30, 2021, as approved by the Prime Minister.
- Western arrivals to Vietnam soared in recent years, with 720,000 in 2015, 855,000 in 2016, and 1,500,000 in 2017.
- Easier visa application procedures for foreign tourists, as well as visa exemptions for visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have helped attract more tourists from these markets, experts said.
- “Belarusian Parliament Ratifies Visa-Free Travel Agreement with China”, Belarus News, June 28, 2018
- The Council of the Republic ratified the intergovernmental agreement on visafree travel with China on 28 June. In line with the document, Belarusians will be able to stay in China visa free for up to 30 days during one trip, but not more than 90 days a year. The same rule will apply to Chinese citizens. If a person wants to stay in the country for more than 30 days or engage in educational and professional activities, he or she will need a special visa.
- Chairman of the International Affairs and National Security Commission of the Council of the Republic Sergei Rakhmanov told the media. “We will be able step up cooperation in economy, politics, education, science, and technology,” the Senator believes.
- European Parliament, “Reinforcing EU Border Security: Visa-Exempt Travellers Will Be Prescreened”, July 5, 2018
- The new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which should be operational in 2021, will allow for advanced checks on visafree travellers and those considered to pose a security, irregular migration or epidemic risk will be denied access.
- Nationals of the more than 60 countries and territories exempt from visa requirements to enter the EU will have to fill in an electronic form prior to their intended travel with their personal data (including name, date and place of birth, sex and nationality), travel document information (validity, country of issue), home address and contact information, and the European country of first intended entry.
- Each application will automatically be checked against all relevant databases to verify, among other issues, whether the travel document used has been reported lost or stolen and whether the person is wanted for arrest. The vast majority of applicants will get their authorisation almost immediately.
- “Russia is Ready to Discuss Agreement on Visa-Free Travel with Japan”, TASS, July 6, 2018
- Russia is ready to discuss an agreement on abolishing visas for short-term trips of Japanese citizens to Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told journalists on Friday.
- "We offer Japan various ways to facilitate the visa regime, for example, consider the opportunity of visa-free group tourism. We have a similar agreement with China. We are waiting for the response of our Japanese colleagues," the deputy foreign ministry said.
- “Russia, United Arab Emirates Sign Visa-Free Travel Agreement”, TASS, July 6, 2018
- Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to abandon entry visas for each other’s nationals, a TASS correspondent reported on Friday. A visa-free travel agreement was signed at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission in Kazan.
- Following the signing ceremony, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said visa-free travel between the two countries will encourage business mobility and will help boost tourist flows.
- “Slovenia Lifts Work Restrictions on Croatian Workers”, The Dubrovnik Times, June 30, 2018
- Slovenia has become the latest European Union member country to open its borders to Croatian workers. As of July 1st this year, Croatians will no longer require a work visa for neighboring Slovenia.
- The Ministry commented that “Considering the current situation on Slovenia's labour market, low unemployment rates and a big workforce shortage, there was no need to extend the restriction on Croatian workers for another two years.”
- It is believed that between 1,000 and 2,000 Croatians with work permits were employed in Slovenia last year, however with a lifting of restrictions this number is sure to increase.
- “Turkey Must Recognize Cyprus to Gain Visa-Free EU Travel – EU Report”, Ahval, July 4, 2018
- A vote passed the European Parliament on Wednesday that will prevent Turkey from obtaining visa exemptions for travel to Europe unless it recognises the Republic of Cyprus, German state international broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
- The vote came ahead of talks between the European Union police force, Europol, and Turkish officials over how Turkey can meet the personal data exchange requirements necessary to obtain visafree travel to Europe, one of the conditional incentives offered to Turkey in exchange for controlling the flow of migrants to Europe in the 2016 EU-Turkey deal.
- This would in effect mean diplomatic recognition of the Greek Republic of Cyprus, which Turkey has refused to acknowledge as a legitimate state since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and division of the island into Greek and Turkish Cypriot states in the mid1970s.
- “Ukrainians May Stay in Serbia for Up to 90 Days Without a Visa”, Unian, July 3, 2018
- Ukrainians will be able to stay in Serbia without a visa for up to 90 days within 180 days, according to a new deal reached between Ukraine and Serbia. The same visa-free rules will be applicable to Serbian citizens in Ukraine.
- “An agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of Serbia on amendments to the agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of Serbia regarding the waiving of visa requirements for the citizens of May 31, 2011 was signed on July 3 as part of President Petro Poroshenko's official visit to Serbia".
- The main objective of the agreement is to further facilitate trips of citizens of both countries, which will contribute to the development of tourism, intensification of contacts in the economic, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres.
- “Hiring Foreigners to be Easier for Business”, Financial Review, June 28, 2018
- An openended number of visas will be issued through the Global Talent Scheme for technology, science and engineering businesses, and other companies that generate at least $4 million a year in revenue, or are listed on the share market.
- When announced in March the scheme was going to be limited to staff paid more than $180,000 a year. Since then the government has decided to cut the salary level to $145,000, a change that means more people will be eligible.
- The scheme is slated to initially run for 12 months. Workers admitted under the scheme will be granted a temporary skills shortage visa and become eligible for permanent residence after three years.
- “PM Endorses Visa Free Entry to Israel”, Samoa Observer, July 9, 2018
- Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has endorsed the plan for Samoa to be granted visa entry to Israel. In recent months, officials from Israel and the Government have been engaged in negotiations for Samoans to be granted free visitor’s visa access to the Holy Land. And the Prime Minister has given the green light for local officials to “execute the necessary documents for visa free entry for Samoans to enter Israel,” says Tuilaepa.
- Tuilaepa has already assured the Israeli Ambassador to Samoa based in Wellington New Zealand, Dr. Itzhak Gerberg, that the visa issue is a done deal subject to official endorsement. “Samoans visiting Israel has increased slowly but surely in recent months,” says Dr. Gerberg, who was in the country last week to finalise details of a training next October in Samoa as well as to negotiate future activities which includes a State Visit by Prime Minister Tuilaepa to Israel and Celebrating Israel’s National (Independence Day) in Samoa next year.
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