HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 24.09.2018

Sep 26,2018





  1. George Alleyne, “Barbados Welcomes Skilled CARICOM Nationals”, Caribbean Life, September 21, 2018
  • Barbados Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson this week made clear government’s policy on the twinmatters of national security and the opening the island’s borders for easier entry of non-nationals into the island for work, as he stressed Barbados’ need for persons capable of making a contribution.
  • “People who reside in Barbados must be able to have their applications before the Immigrations Department processed in a timelier manner,” said Hinkson who pointed out that allowing more skilled CARICOM nationals to live and work forms part of government’s economic vision. “Our population is too small and we have to widen it and welcome CARICOM citizens who have expertise, who have skills, who can make a contribution to our country.”




  1. Todd Wills, “Colombians Continue to Flock to Schengen Countries”, The Bogota Post, September 18, 2018
  • Over 550,000 Colombians made the most of visafree travel to Schengen countries in 2017 – up from 340,000 in 2015 when the rules were changed. However, while these trips will stay visa-free, they will be subject to new electronic controls beginning in 2021.
  • In a 2018 speech to the European Parliament, former President Juan Manuel Santos said that the move to make Europe more accessible to Colombians had resulted in “more tourism, more business, more integration between Colombia and Europe, and more dignity for Colombians.”
  • From 2021, Colombian citizens will be required to apply for an electronic authorisation called ETIAS before travelling to Schengen countries.




Hong Kong


  1. Kris Cheng, “’Love Wins’: Hong Kong Changes Same-Sex Spouse Visa Policy After Historic Ruling”, Hong Kong Free Press, September 18, 2018
  • Hong Kong’s government has changed its visa policy for samesex spouses following a historic legal ruling this year. The new policy means same-sex spouses will be able to apply for dependent visas to stay with their partners in Hong Kong starting from Wednesday.
  • As samesex unions are not recognised under Hong Kong laws, same-sex spouses were not previously eligible to hold visas as dependents. This changed in July, when the Court of Final Appeal upheld a lower court’s judgment in favour of lesbian expat QT, affirming what legal experts deemed a “landmark decision” for Hong Kong’s LGBTQ community.
  • The government was required to revise its policy after the case. The new policy applies to those who entered legal and officially recognised samesex civil partnerships, civil unions or marriages overseas, whose partners are eligible local sponsors. Under the revised policy, the Director of Immigration will permit same-sex spouses to live as dependants in Hong Kong if the person meets the normal immigration requirements, in addition to three criteria.




  1. Seri Nor Nadiah Koris, “New Immigration Rule for Malaysians Travelling to EU Countries”, Salaam Gateway, September 19, 2018
  • From year 2020, Malaysians who wish to travel to European Union countries may be required to undergo a new immigration process. This new immigration process called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) may become a mandatory requirement for citizens from visafree countries.
  • According to website, citizens from visafree countries can stay in the Schengen Area (all EU states except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and The United Kingdom) for a period up to 90 days.
  • “Once issued, a valid authorisation will allow its holder to stay in the Schengen Area for a period of up to 90 days in any 180day period and it is valid for 3 years from the date of issuance or until the expiry date of the passport, whichever comes first,” it said.




  1. Elyssa Christine Lopez, “Want to Travel the World Visa-Free? This Investment Package Can Let You Do Just That”, Entrepreneur, September 20, 2018
  • The Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) makes this luxury possible. Offered by a number of countries worldwide, the program allows any qualified individual a chance to become a naturalized citizen of a certain country with the right investment amount. The program usually attracts citizens with weak passports, which limit them from traveling around without the hassles of applying for and securing a visa.
  • Naturalized citizens of certain countries are often granted passports that grant visafree access to other countries that would normally require a visa. Some countries that naturalize citizens through such schemes even grant them the same social benefits that locals enjoy in that country—from free education to an extensive health care program.
  • While there a number of CIPs offered worldwide, [Harvey Law Group Managing Partner Bastien Trelcat] said some of the most “affordable” and most efficient ones are those offered by the countries in the Caribbean region. “Most countries that offer CIP require you to stay in the country for a while before you can become a citizen,” Trelcat said. “The Caribbean is much more straightforward: you get the citizenship right away. The whole process takes three to six months.”




  1. Lawrence Chung, “Taiwan May Expand Citizenship to Southeast Asia to Staunch Brain Drain to the Mainland”, South China Morning Post, September 24, 2018
  • Taiwan, battling a severe brain drain to the mainland, plans to offer citizenship to students and skilled workers from Southeast Asian nations under proposed legislation that will head to the selfruled island’s lawmakers for review and a vote next month.
  • It would target Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). If approved, the bill could take effect early next year.
  • Besides allowing Taipei to address the problem of a growing number of Taiwanese professionals surrendering to the lure of mainland jobs and other incentives, the bill is seen as a way for Taiwan to tackle the dilemma of a declining workingage population, officials and analysts said.




  1. Singapore Extends Frequent Traveller Programme to Thai Passport Holders”, Business Times, September 20, 2018
  • Eligible holders of Thai international passports will be able to opt into the frequent traveller programme from Monday, Sept 24, onwards, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Thursday. Thai passport holders who are part of the programme will be able to use the automated immigration clearance facilities at Singapore's checkpoints.
  • Thai passport holders who are aged six and above, in possession of a passport with more than six months' validity and have visited Singapore at least twice in the past two years are eligible to apply for the programme. They can do so at the enrolment centres at Changi Airport Terminal 3, visitor services centre at the ICA Building, as well as at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints. Entry to the programme is free and voluntary.




  1. Turkey Lowers Requirements for Citizenship by Investment”, Al-Jazeera, September 19, 2018
  • Turkey has eased the financial and investment criteria for foreigners who want to become Turkish citizens as the country copes with its currency crisis caused by US tariffs.
  • The size of bank deposits was cut from $3m to $500,000 and the amount of required fixed capital investment was reduced to $500,000 from $2m, the decision said. Two other options for receiving a passport by investment were also eased. The applicant could qualify by employing 50 Turkish citizens, down from 100, or by investing $250,000 in the real estate market, half the previously required amount.
  • The new measures come weeks after Turkey's currency, the lira, lost more than 40 percent of its value against the US dollar last month, prompting a 20 percent inflation.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Binsal Abdul Kader, “Over 1M Chinese Tourists to Visit UAE This Year”, Gulf News, September 18, 2018
  • “In 2017, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the UAE exceeded one million for the first time and about 3.5 million Chinese tourists transited through the UAE. The UAE is the first Middle East country whose nationals with ordinary passports enjoy visafree entry to China,” said Ni Jian, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE.
  • “Since two countries share free visa policy, [Chinese visitors to the UAE get visa on arrival] peopleto-people relations and cultural exchanges have considerably improved,” he said in an interview with Gulf News on the occasion of the Chinese National Day celebrated on Monday.
  • The UAE hosts the largest Chinese diaspora in the Middle East, Jian said. Although the exact number of the Chinese population was not available, it would be somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000, he said. Most of them are living in Dubai and there is a small community of around 2,000 in Abu Dhabi, the envoy said.


  1. Waheed Abbas, “These Workers Can Get 10-Year Visa in UAE”, Khaleej Times, September 23, 2018
  • Technology entrepreneurs, influencers, highend individual investors and specialists in certain fields such as science, space and medicine would be eligible for the 10-year visa slated to be implemented by the end of this year, say industry executives.
  • The UAE government recently announced that it would issue 10year visas for professionals and investors and will also allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in mainland companies as part of reforms to attract the best talent available in the world and also to lure foreign direct investment into the country.
  • Speaking at a seminar recently, Dr Raed Safadi, chief economic adviser at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said the key criteria of this new law is to attract investors and would be very generous to bring in all kinds of talent as the emirate seeks a transition towards a knowledgebased economy.






  1. Belarus Cooperates with Russia on Visa-Free Regime for Foreigners Entering Republic”, TASS, September 24, 2018
  • Belarus’ law enforcement authorities are closely cooperating with the Russian side on the 30day visa-free entry to the republic for foreign citizens, said head of the Department for Citizenship and Migration at the Belarusian Interior Ministry Alexei Begun on ONT television channel live on Sunday.
  • On July 24, 2018, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered to prolong the visafree stay for foreign citizens from five to 30 days provided they enter the country and subsequently leave it through the state border at Minsk national airport. The visa-free regime has been operating against citizens from 80 countries, including the EU states. The procedure for visa-free movement through the airport does not affect people who come to Belarus by planes from Russia, as well as those wishing to fly to Russian airports, as these flights are domestic, which do not require border control.




  1. John Detrixhe, “Estonia’s ‘E-Residents’ Are Growing Faster Than Babies Are Being Born in the Country”, Quartz, September 17, 2018
  • In 2014, Estonia started offering eresidencies, available to anyone in the world. The program includes government-issued digital identification and gives holders the right to start and run a virtual business in Estonia. Digital nomads can get access to bank accounts and payment services, while having a physical presence in Estonia is optional. It’s not citizenship, however, and e-residents still have to pay taxes where they are physically based.
  • The program makes sense in a country where just about everything has been digitized. Estonia’s government is paperless, so even its most fundamental records and systems are housed in computer servers, according to Siim Sikkut, Estonia’s chief information officer, in a podcast published by the International Monetary Fund. (The country maintains backups in Luxembourg’s government data center.)
  • Russia, Ukraine, Japan, and the US are among the biggest sources of applicants for eresidency, which gives entrepreneurs access to the European Union’s single market. Even Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has signed up. However, Finland and Germany are also at or near the top of the list of source countries for e-residents, which suggests there’s more to it than EU market access.




  1. Nikos Krinis, “Hotel Investments in Greece on the Up”, GTP Headlines, September 19, 2018
  • “Having an unparalleled momentum in tourism, which goes higher day by day, Greece is now attracting such highlevel conferences that create a story, an image, an international perception of the country’s business status,” Enterprise Greece Chairman Grigoris Stergioulis said.
  • According to figures announced during the press conference, Greece is expected in 2018 to welcome 32 million arrivals and revenue growth of 15 percent, following the record year of 2017, which saw 30 million arrivals and revenues of more than 15 billion euros.
  • Enterprise Greece’s chairman Stergioulis underlined that the field of tourism investments in Greece has been active lately, following the creation of an attractive framework for new investments in tourism. “Over the past three years, 350 investment plans for 45-star high-capacity units have been licensed and more than 26,000 new high-class beds have been added to the country’s hotel capacity,” he said.


  1. Tasos Kokkinidis, “Record Number of Foreign Investors Use ‘Golden Visa’ Scheme in Greece”, Greek Reporter, September 20, 2018
  • Record numbers of nonEU investors are granted the “Golden Visa” scheme that entitles them to a Greek residence permit in return for major investments, new data show. Chinese top the list with 1,395 permits, followed by Russians at 429, and Turks with 337. Overall, 2,968 permits have been issued to non-EU investors since the scheme began in 2013.
  • A spokesman for Enterprise Greece, the agency that runs the Golden Visa scheme, said that in 2018 there has been a significant rise in the number of Turkish citizens who have applied and granted the permit mainly to invest in real estate.




  1. Steven Trypsteen, “Portugal: On Track for Another Good Year”, ING, September 17, 2018
  • The government continues to focus on reducing public debt and the deficit however strong house price growth is becoming a concern. We expect the economy to continue to perform well in 2018, although growth will be slower than last year and forecast annual growth of 2.1% in 2018 and 1.8% in 2019
  • One issue that gets more and more attention is the sharp increase in house prices, which have been accelerating since early 2015 and reached 12.2% in the first quarter of 2018. This is almost twice as fast than Spain and three times as fast as the Eurozone. The strong growth rate is caused by surging domestic and foreign demand, while supply cannot keep up.




  1. Ukraine, Uruguay to Sign Visa-Free Agreement”, Kyiv Post, September 19, 2018
  • Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved a draft agreement with Uruguay on the mutual abolition of visa requirements.
  • The provisions of this document stipulate that citizens of Ukraine will be able to stay in the territory of Uruguay for a period not exceeding 90 days, renewable for another period of 90 days. Citizens of Uruguay will be able to stay in Ukraine for a period not exceeding 90 days over a 180day period.


  1. Ukraine to Issue 10 Millionth Biometric Passport on Sept 21”, UNIAN, September 20, 2018
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the 10 millionth biometric passport is expected to be issued tomorrow, September 21.
  • As UNIAN reported earlier, a decision by the Council of the European Union to introduce a visafree regime came into force on June 11, 2017, allowing Ukrainian citizens to make short trips to 30 EU countries and the Schengen zone.
  •  Ukrainians are eligible to stay in the EU states for up to 90 days during each 180day period. As of today, citizens of Ukraine who are holders of biometric passports can visit 117 countries without a visa.




New Zealand


  1. Lincoln Tan, “INZ: Ex-Sex Workers Can Be Granted NZ Residency, Despite Immigration Rules Saying No”, New Zealand Herald, September 19, 2018
  • Former foreign sex workers can be granted New Zealand residency despite immigration rules stating no visas shall be granted to current or former sex workers, Immigration New Zealand says.
  • INZ's operations support manager Michael Carley said the Prostitution Reform Act had decriminalised prostitution, and several restrictions relating to immigration were set out. Under current rules, no visa might be granted to anyone who has provided, or intends to provide commercial sexual services. This also applies to anyone who has acted, or intends to act as an operator or investor of a business of prostitution.
  • "However, this does not mean that a provider of commercial sexual services in the past cannot be granted a visa, but that providing those services must not be the reason for granting the visa," Carley said.




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