HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 10.12.2018

Dec 10,2018



East Africa


  1. East African States Come In Top 20 Most Visa-Open Countries In Africa”, East African Business Week, December 5, 2018
  • The 2018 Visa Openness Index shows eight of the top 20 most visaopen countries come from East Africa making it the highest concentration among all regions. The eight according to a survey by the African Union and the African Development Bank are Kenya, Uganda, Comoros, Djibouti, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, and Tanzania.
  • Kenya is the most improved nation in opening up its borders for free access. According to the report, Kenya moved six places up thanks to the government’s decision to allow citizens from African States to obtain visa on arrival. Nationals from 18 African countries do not require visa to enter Kenya, 33 require visa on arrival while only two countries need to obtain visa before arrival.
  • wanda was also another big mover rising to position three this year up from number nine in 2017. There is liberal access to Rwanda, with no visa required for 15 countries and visa on arrival for 38 countries.




  1. Albertina Nakale, “Namibia to review Kenya visa abolishment”, New Era, December 7, 2018
  • Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration to review the agreement on the abolishment of visas between Namibia and Kenya for implementation on a reciprocal basis.
  • Following President Hage Geingob’s state visit to Kenya in October, Cabinet took note of the report of the inaugural session of the Namibia Kenya Joint Commission of Cooperation and directed affected line ministries to expedite potential cooperation with Kenya in areas of interest. Minister of Information Communication and Technology Stanley Simataa during the Cabinet briefing yesterday said among these ministries is the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, which has been directed to review the agreement on visa abolishment between Namibia and Kenya for implementation on reciprocal basis.






  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “New pilot to address multiple barriers to success for women in Canada’s job market”, Government of Canada, December 5, 2018
  • The goal of the pilot is to improve the employment and career advancement of visible minority newcomer women in Canada by addressing the barriers they may face – gender and race-based discrimination, precarious or low income employment, lack of affordable childcare and weak social supports.
  • As part of the pilot, IRCC is launching an expression of interest process today for new service providers that are not currently funded by the department. IRCC will provide funding of up to $7 million for new, innovative programs and services to support visible minority women in accessing the labour market and to build capacity in smaller organizations that serve or are led by visible minority women.
  • IRCC will also amend existing contribution agreements of select service provider organizations (SPOs) across Canada with funding of up to $5 million. This additional funding will increase SPOs’ capacity and expand their existing employment services to address the needs of visible minority newcomer women.


St. Vincent and the Grenadines


  1. SVG and Ghana sign Bilateral Agreements”, Searchlight, December 4, 2018
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and Ghana signed two important bilateral agreements last week at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana. The first is a General Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of SVG and the second, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ghana and the Government of SVG on Visa Waiver.
  • Ghanaians, before the visa waiver agreement, did not require a Visa for travel to St Vincent and the Grenadines, however there was a visa requirement for citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines to travel to Ghana.


United States


  1. Gregory A. Wald, “USCIS Issues H-1B Cap Registration Proposal”, The National Law Review, December 3, 2018
  • In a proposed rule published in today’s Federal Register, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is resurrecting and modifying a previous proposal from 2011 to implement an electronic preregistration system for H-1B cap petitions.
  • The proposed rule would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H1B petitions under the H-1B cap in order to increase the number of beneficiaries with a Master’s or higher degrees from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number.
  • Exempt from the current H1B cap system and this new registration proposal are 6,800 H-1B1 visas, set aside from the 65,000 regular cap, for Chile and Singapore nationals. Moreover, specialty workers who will be employed at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended) or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity and workers who will be employed at a nonprofit or governmental research organization are exempt from the H-1B cap and this registration proposal.


  1. Robert Y. Maples, “President Signs Extension of Government Funding and Programs, such as EB-5 and Other Critical Immigration Programs, Through Dec 21, 2018”, The National Law Review, December 7, 2018
  • [T]he House passed H.J. Res 143 – FY 2019 Continuing Resolution Through December 21, 2018, by unanimous consent. The measure proceeded to the Senate and was approved by unanimous consent approximately onehour after passing the House.
  • Today, around 10 a.m., the House Appropriations Committee announced on Twitter that the President had signed the CR into la




  1. Joseph Yeh, “Uruguay temporarily halts visa free entry for Taiwanese: MOFA”, Focus Taiwan, December 6, 2018
  • Uruguay has decided to suspend its visafree treatment for Taiwan passport holders due to technical issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.
  • The suspension was decided less than two months after Uruguay included Taiwan in its visawaiver program, with the South American country saying that it had halted the preferential treatment to Taiwan because its online e-visa application system was still under construction, according to MOFA. The decision means that until further notice, Taiwanese travelers to Uruguay will have to apply for a visa at the Uruguayan embassy in Japan, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee said.






  1. China lauds opening of Kartarpur corridor”, The Express Tribune, December 4, 2018
  • A Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson on Monday welcomed the opening of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims and said the Chinese side was pleased to see the interactions between Pakistan and India. “We have noted the relevant report. We are glad to see very good interactions between Pakistan and India,” Geng Shuang said during his regular briefing.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan last week performed the groundbreaking of the 4kmlong corridor which would connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur District. It would provide Indian Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to the shrine.


Hong Kong


  1. Ng Kang-chung, “Hong Kong passport is now the world’s 13th most powerful, according to Arton Capital’s global index”, South China Morning Post, December 6, 2018
  • Hongkongers hold the world’s 13th most powerful passport, up five places from its position last year on an index gauging the “power” of passports of various countries and territories, made available this week.
  • Within Asia, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport was placed sixth, according to the report. It was behind those from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – which was also the world number one in the 2018 index – Singapore and South Korea, which were ranked second and third in Asia.




  1. Indian tourism minister welcomes proposal on visa-free entry for Russian tourist groups”, TASS, December 6, 2018
  • Indian minister of tourism Joseph Alphons Kannanthanam welcomes Russia’s proposal to grant its organized tourist groups a visafree entry to India. In an interview with TASS the official said that granting a visa-free entry to Russian tourist is a good idea but in turn Moscow should do the same for the groups of Indian tourist groups visiting Russia.
  • "I think it is a very good idea but as I said earlier it should be on a bilateral basis. If the Russian government allows Indian tourists to come to Russia on similar terms, we would be happy to allow that (a visafree entry - TASS)," the minister said.
  • The official stressed that that his ministry is actively promoting tourism to Russia. "We have just opened office in Moscow. We are hugely interested in the Russian market. I was told that when we put out six new promotional (videos) on social media, the biggest response came from Russia. We had more than 200 mln views in three months," the minister said.


  1. Jen Schulz, “Citizenship by Investment: 70-80 % rise in enquiries from rich Indians”, WIC News, December 10, 2018
  • According to Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Index released today in the edition of Professional Wealth Management (PWM), a publication from the Londonbased Financial Times. The Caribbean islands have held top five positions that offer economic citizenship and Dominica is the most popular among them all. Dominica has been named the best with a score of 90%, followed by St Kitts and Nevis (85%), Grenada (81%), Antigua and Barbuda (80%), and St Lucia (79%).
  • While Rich Chinese and Russians have been among the top buyers of foreign citizenship in recent years, but trends might change as Indians are seeking for schemes that offer citizenship or residence rights in return for the investment. […] The citizenship and residenceby-investment programmes saw global enquiries rise by 320%, and a ‘significant increase’ from India in the past year they said.
  • As India does not allow dual citizenship, many Indians opt for residenceby-investment schemes. “People want access to the EU single market. They want to send their kids to school in another country, or have somewhere safe to park their money — they want political stability. They employ all kinds of methods and strategies to protect their wealth,” said an expert.




  1. 37 expats granted Omani citizenship under royal decree”, Khaleej Times, December 10, 2018
  • About 37 expats in Oman have been granted citizenship under the royal decree issued by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman. This is in addition to the dual nationality granted to six Yemenis. Omani nationality of 41 people was also restored.
  • "After reviewing the statutes of the State issued by Royal Decree No. 96/101 and the Omani Nationality Law issued by Royal Decree No. 38/2014, and in accordance with what is required by the public interest, we have stipulated the following, Omani nationality shall be returned for all those listed in the attached list," Times of Oman quoted the Royal Decree article.




  1. Enus Gunaydin & Alice Tidey, “A €219,000 house could buy you citizenship in Turkey”, Euronews, December 7, 2018
  • Foreigners can now acquire citizenship in Turkey by buying a $250,000 (€219,000) house, after the government dramatically lowered its minimum financial requirement. The new regulation, signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday. It marks a significant change from the previous financial requirement of $1 million (€878,000).
  • The government has also quickened the citizenship procedure, with buyers now allowed to start their applications after signing the lease and paying the money. Previously, they would not have been able to start the process until after the development project had been completed.


United Arab Emirates


  1. UAE passport is world’s strongest for visa-free travel”, The Times of Israel, December 4, 2018
  • The United Arab Emirates has topped the ranking of world passports in 2018 as the document whose bearers can enter the most countries without a visa, according to an indexing site.
  • Passport Index reported on December 1 that UAE passport holders can enter 167 countries without applying for a visa in advance. This puts the country in the numberone spot, ahead of Singapore and Germany, whose citizens are forced to make do with a paltry 166 countries.




  1. Nguyen Quy, “Vietnamese passport remains ‘weak’ despite improvement”, VN Express, December 9, 2018
  • The Vietnamese passport has made insubstantial gains, climbing up three places in a global passport power ranking from 78th to 75th this year. According to the latest ranking, people holding a Vietnamese passport now have free access to 56 countries, compared to 48 last year.
  • In Southeast Asia, a Vietnamese passport has the same clout as one from Laos, is only more powerful than Myanmar. Meanwhile, Cambodia has surpassed Vietnam to claim 73rd position in the global index, climbing four spots from last year.






  1. Armenian diplomats will travel to Mongolia visa-free”, PanArmenian, December 6, 2018
  • Holders of diplomatic and official passports will now be able to travel visafree from Armenia to Mongolia and vice versa, according to a new agreement approved by the government on Thursday, December 6.
  • The agreement was first signed by Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Mongolian counterpart Damdin Tsogtbaatar on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in late September.




  1. Greek Passport ranks as one of the most powerful across the globe”, Greek City Times, December 6, 2018
  • According to the Global Passport Power Rank 2018, the Greek passport is among the world’s most powerful, allowing Greek passport holders access to 164 countries.
  • Greece, along with Belgium, Austria, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, UK, Ireland and Canada, hold a passport rank of 4, allowing visefree travel to 164 countries across the globe.




  1. Parliament Approves Dual Citizenship”, News in English, December 6, 2018
  • It was a big day for longterm expatriates in Norway and Norwegians who’ve moved abroad. After years of debate, a majority in Parliament finally approved dual citizenship in Norway on Thursday for all those who have strong ties to both their homeland and their country of residence.
  • It will allow immigrants in Norway to keep the citizenship of their birth while also acquiring Norwegian citizenship and finally being able, for example, to vote in national elections. It will also allow Norwegians who have moved abroad and become citizens of their resident country to retain, or reacquire, their Norwegian passports.
  • Norway has been been one of the few countries in the world, and the only Nordic country, to have banned dual citizenship until now.




  1. Russian Cabinet of Ministers endorses visa-free agreement with Belarus for fans”, TVR, December 6, 2018
  • The document signed by the countries on May 29 will be submitted to the State Duma of Russia for consideration.
  • According to the news agency Sputnik citing the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, the competent authorities of the two countries are actively working on issues of interaction in terms of the visafree regime for fans.




  1. Ukraine plans to arrange visa-free regime with South Korea, - Parubiy”, 112 UA, December 8, 2018
  • Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Andriy Patubiy claimed that he would discuss the matter of a visafree regime between Ukraine and South Korea during his visit to Seoul on December 10-14, reports ‘We are about to make important decisions. I am planning to get to the final stage of the discussion about a visa-free regime between Ukraine and South Korea,’ Parubiy claimed.
  • According to him, the countries will sign an interparliamentary accord. ‘We count on the support and assistance in re-equipping the reform of ‘Rada’ electronic system, which the presidential administration is preparing today. Of course, it will be important to talk about the security aspect and enlist the support of South Korea,’ the speaker claimed.


United Kingdom


  1. Patrick Greenfield, “UK 'golden visa' scheme to be suspended due to corruption fears”, The Guardian, December 6, 2018
  • The tier 1 visa, which provides a fast track route to settlement for people willing to invest millions in the UK, will be suspended from Friday until new rules are put in place in 2019.
  • The reformed visa will require applicants to provide comprehensive audits of their financial and business interests, and show they have had control of the £2m of investment funds required to obtain the tier 1 visa for at least two years. Applicants will no longer be able to invest in government bonds as part of the reforms, and must invest in active and trading UK companies.
  • Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow. However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system.’’


  1. Severin Carrell, “Brexit: UK can unilaterally revoke article 50, says EU court”, The Guardian, December 20, 2018
  • The court concluded that any EU member state can revoke the article 50 process without needing approval from every other member state, in an emergency judgment timed to coincide with Tuesday’s critical Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It said: “The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU.”
  • Coming a day before May will attempt to get the Brexit withdrawal agreement through parliament, the ruling will be reviewed urgently by Scotland’s civil court in Edinburgh. That process will kickstart what is expected to be a lastditch legal battle by the UK government, which is likely to end in the supreme court.







  1. Mosiqi Acharya, “Australian citizenship approvals double compared to last year”, SBS, December 6, 2018
  • The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Mr David Coleman has claimed the new investment in boosting resources within the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) has helped processing citizenship applications effectively.
  • According to the latest government figures, 45,500 citizenship applications were finalised between July and October 2018, of which 39,000 applications were approved. The approvals have more than doubled compared to just 15,500 approvals in the same period in 2017.
  • He attributed the results to Government’s new investment in increasing resources alongside an enduring focus on the security and integrity of Australia's immigration and citizenship programs. "Since 2015 we have introduced a range of measures to ensure the integrity of the program and the good character of those seeking Australian citizenship," Mr Coleman said. "At the same time, the Government is working to make the citizenship processing system as functional and effective as possible for legitimate applicants, and these efforts are showing good results," he said.


  1. Chris Chamberlin, “Taiwan opens fast-track passport e-Gates to Australian travellers”, Australian Business Traveller, December 10, 2018
  • Aussie travellers jetting to Taiwan or stopping over in Taipei on journeys with China Airlines and EVA Air can now expedite their crossing at Taiwanese passport control by registering for access to the country’s automated eGates.
  • To use the eGates, Australian travellers will need a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of registration, and to visit the dedicated e-Gate Enrolment Counters at the airport, found next to the e-Gate lanes at passport control (before crossing the border). Here, your photo will be taken and your index fingerprints scanned, and you’ll then have access to the e-Gates immediately and for the next five years on both arrival and departure at a range of Taiwanese airports.
  • As you won't be manually processed by an immigration official at the border, you'll need to complete and submit a digital copy of the Taiwanese passenger card prior to your arrival, rather than completing a written form on your flight or at the airport. This needs to be done every time you travel via Taiwan's National Immigration Agency website […].




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