HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 07.01.2019

Jan 07,2019





  1. William Lubuulwa, “Burundi signs visa waiver with United Arab Emirates”, PML Daily, January 4, 2019
  • Burundi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which their nationals will travel to either country visafree. The MoU was signed on Thursday, January 3 in Dubai between UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh and Burundi’s Ezéchiel Nibigira, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
  • According to Khaleej Times, a local daily, the waiver was signed in the presence of Khalid Al Mana’i, Executive Director at the Political Affairs Office of the UAE Vice President in Dubai, and the Ambassadress of Burundi to France, Dr Christine Nina Niyonsavye, along with a number of officials from both countries.


Cape Verde


  1. European citizens exempt from visas for visits to Cabo Verde of up to 30 days”, Macau Hub, January 2, 2019
  • The shortstay visa (30 days) to enter Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) will no longer be used, as of Wednesday, by citizens of 32 European countries. The list includes all 28 countries that are part of the European Union plus four others that are not part of the Union, namely Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. The Cape Verdean government has already announced its intention to extend the visa waiver to Monaco, San Marino and Andorra.
  • With this measure, the Cape Verdean Government intends to increase competitiveness in the tourism sector and double the number of tourists visiting the country, which is currently around 700,000 a year.
  • In the meantime, the Government has created an Airport Security Tax (TSA), paid by all foreign citizens who land in Cabo Verde or are travelling between the islands and by Cape Verdeans on interisland travel.






  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Canada’s new biometrics rule will soon apply to temporary and permanent resident applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas”, Government of Canada, December 28, 2019
  • Canada is expanding its biometrics collection program. Starting December 31, 2018, nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to give their fingerprints and photo (biometrics) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence. This same rule has applied to applicants from countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa since July 31, 2018.
  • The biometrics requirement adds a new step in the application process. Applicants need to go in person to give their biometrics. Most will do this at a visa application centre (VAC) before they come to Canada.
  • The Government of Canada has been taking steps to make the biometrics process as smooth as possible. This includes expanding its worldwide network of VACs: there are now 152 VACs in 103 countries and allowing applicants to go to any VAC in any country they are legally allowed to enter. If already legally in the United States, applicants can go to one of 135 Application Support Centers.


  1. Elise von Scheel & Evan Dyer, “Immigration Canada preparing to launch revamped family reunification system”, CBC, January 2, 2019
  • The Trudeau government announced in August that it would be dropping a contentious lottery system in favour of quotas and admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents in 2019, up from 17,000 in 2017.
  • The application period is set to reopen at the end of the month. A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the department issued a social media post on the last day of 2018 saying that applications would be accepted again soon.
  • On Thursday, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen weighed in on the program switch, saying a negative reaction from Canadians was part of the reason the lottery system was scrapped. He vowed the government will give applicants ample warning before opening the applications again. "We're not going to surprise anybody."


  1. Natalie Wong et al., “Canada Says, ‘Give Me Your MBAs, Your Entrepreneurs’”, Bloomberg, January 2, 2019
  • In August, there were about 570,000 international students in Canada, a 60 percent jump from three years ago. That surge is helping power the biggest increase in international immigration in more than a century. The country took in 425,000 people in the 12 months through September, boosting population growth to a threedecade high of 1.4 percent, the fastest pace in the Group of Seven club of industrialized nations.
  • Canada’s immigration system has long targeted the highly skilled. More than 65 percent of foreignborn adults had a post-secondary degree in 2017, the highest share tracked by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “We are the biggest talent poachers in the OECD,” says Stéfane Marion, chief economist of the National Bank of Canada. As a result, he says, the country is better equipped to deal with globalization and technological change—“it’s a massive, massive advantage.”


  1. Elise von Scheel, “Ottawa to spend $113 million on pre-arrival services for new immigrants”, CBC, January 3, 2019
  • The Trudeau government has announced $113 million in new money to improve prearrival services for future immigrants to Canada. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen made the announcement this morning at the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Immigrant Settlement and Integration Program office in Vancouver. He also announced that, as part of that funding, the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. program would receive $22.4 million.
  • The money will go to connecting clients to information and services, offering regional and general employment services, encouraging immigrants to take the necessarily steps to convert job licenses prior to their arrival, and linking them to federal and provincial settlement services once they are in Canada.
  • The new federal money will fund the prearrival program for the next four years, up to 2023. The program will cover immigrants in three categories: economic and family class immigrants, Francophone newcomers and refugees. In-person services will be offered in China, India and the Philippines, and online services spanning other countries will be made available as well.






  1. China offers 144-hour visa-free transit in five more cities”, Global Times, January 2, 2019
  • On December 25, 2018, China began to implement its 144hour visa-free transit policy in five more cities for travelers from 53 countries and regions. These cities are Qingdao, a major port city in East China's Shandong Province; Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian Province; Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province; Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province; and Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
  • The visafree transit policy approved by the State Council, applies to people from 53 countries and regions including Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, France, Germany, Russia and the US. Passengers are required to carry effective international travel certificates and have definite onward travel within 144 hours when entering those five cities.
  • In the new move, passengers can enter and exit Qingdao and Xiamen through their air and sea ports. Those who transit through Qingdao are allowed to stay elsewhere in Shandong during the 144hour period, according to Li Zhuqun, deputy head of the Shandong Provincial Public Security Department.




  1. Passport rule that could ruin Bali holidays”, Central Telegraph, January 3, 2019
  • Holidaymakers heading to Bali may get a nasty surprise at the airport if they have a damaged passport. A man with a nineyear-old passport described as "slightly damaged" was stopped from boarding a Batik Air flight from Perth on Christmas Day, according to The West Australian.
  • Indonesian authorities now appear to be enforcing a $US5000 ($AU7131) fine on airlines if they bring passengers into the country with damaged passports. Passengers are also refused entry.
  • While Batik Air has not responded to inquiries, AirAsia has confirmed the tighter travel restrictions are in place.




  1. Japan begins collecting ¥1,000 departure tax to fund inbound tourism promotion plan”, Japan Times, January 7, 2019
  • Japan started collecting a ¥1,000 departure tax Monday from each traveler leaving the country in an effort to fund measures to attract more foreign visitors in the runup to and beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
  • The new tax, which applies to both air and sea travel, will be tacked onto transportation fares of passengers who bought tickets after Monday regardless of their nationality. Toddlers under the age of 2 and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival will be exempted. The levy will also not be imposed on those who depart after entering the country due to bad weather or other unavoidable circumstances.
  • The tax income will be allocated mainly for three purposes — providing smoother travel services, facilitating access to information about the country’s tourist attractions, and improving visitor satisfaction levels by promoting tourism resources in regional areas such as unique local culture and natural features — according to the government’s policy.




  1. A Saleh, “Dependent to work visa ban mulled”, Kuwait Times, January 5, 2019
  • Wellinformed sources at the manpower authority said the authority is about to issue a resolution suspending the transfer of dependent (article 22) visas to article 18 visas to work for the private sector. The sources added that the decision was made following intensive studies with the aim of preventing expats from changing their residency status.
  • The sources explained the aim of this decision is also to limit the spread of marginal labor, including expats who manage to transfer their visas and get work permits and yet work in activities other than those they transfer to, start their own unlicensed businesses or even provide home delivery services.
  • The sources noted that the law currently in effect allows the transfer of a spouse’s visa provided the sponsor approves it and is present at the labor department in person to sign an official waiver and transfer form.




  1. Mariyam Malsa, “Maldivians granted visa-free access to UAE”, The Edition, January 1, 2019
  • State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Haleel, on Monday, announced that Maldivians would be able to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) without acquiring a visa, starting from January 1, 2019. State Minister Haleel stated that any individual who held a valid diplomatic, official or ordinary passport would be granted a onemonth visa upon entry into the UAE.
  • According to the state minister, the UAE has already made all the necessary arrangements and informed airlines of the changes in procedure.




  1. Foreign nationals residing in PH told to report to Immigration office until March 1”, ABS-CBN News, January 3, 2019
  • The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has advised foreign nationals residing in the country to report in person to the agency until March 1 to avoid paying fines or having their registration cancelled. Under the 1950 Alien Registration Act, BIregistered aliens are required to report to the agency's main office in Intramuros, Manila or the nearest participating field, satellite or extension office within the first 60 days of every calendar year.
  • BIregistered aliens are resident foreign nationals who have been issued immigrant or non-immigrant visas and are holders of the alien certificate of registration identity card. Each alien must present his original ACR I-Card and his valid passport and pay a P300 annual report fee and P10 legal research fee during the annual report.
  • Foreigners who are out of the country during the annual reporting period may report within 30 days from the date of their return to the country, as long they have valid reentry permits, said Morente.




  1. 250 apply for Turkish citizenship through investment”, Hurriyet Daily News, January 2, 2019
  • Turkey has received over 250 applications for citizenship through investment worth nearly $100 million as of the end of 2018, according to the head of a mediation firm.
  • A significant amount of foreigners that come to Turkey aim to benefit from the right of citizenship by purchasing houses, he said.
  • The Interior Ministry responds to the citizenship application in 45 days if the documents are complete. He noted that the naturalized Turkish citizens will have equal rights with the other Turkish citizens such as tax and insurance premium discounts as well as government support.
  • Turkey's conditions are easier; foreigners can acquire the citizenship instantly by investing $250,000, he added. Foreigners who invest $500,000 in Turkey, deposit $500,000 in Turkish banks or buy real estate worth $250,000 acquire the right of lifetime citizenship. Foreigners who commit to keep their investments, deposits or real estates for at least three years earn the right for citizenship instantly. Meanwhile, the right for citizenship can also be used for the families spouse and children under 18 - of the investors.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Pedro Goncalves, “UAE begins implementing 10-year visa for expats”, International Investment, January 2, 2019
  • The UAE cabinet has begun the implementation of 100% foreign ownership and 10year residency visas for expats, investors and entrepreneurs. While the full ownership of companies based in the UAE is currently limited to free zones, the new law is expected to attract foreign investors looking to set up or acquire local companies in the Gulf country.
  • This year will also see the introduction of new longterm visas of up to 10 years granted for investors, entrepreneurs and specialists working in fields of medicine, science or research.
  • Expats aged 55 or above can also remain in the UAE following retirement once they secure a fiveyear retirement visa that meets certain criteria including the ownership of property worth at least $545,000 (AED2 million). Other conditions including the ownership of at least $272,260 (AED1m) in savings or an active income of over $5,445 (AED20,000) per month, as reported by International Investment.




  1. Uzbekistan to offer 30-day visa free for German tourists”, Xinhua, January 5, 2019
  • Uzbekistan will offer 30 days of visafree regime for German citizens from Jan. 15, the State Tourism Committee said Friday. The number of tourists from Germany to Uzbekistan reached 4,889 in 2016. The number hit 7,207 in 2017, and skyrocketed 18,094 in 2018, an increase of almost 2.5 times.
  • According to the State Tourism Committee, in JanuaryOctober 2018, the number of visitors to Uzbekistan almost doubled to reach 4.4 million, compared to the same period in 2017.




  1. Fan Chin-yi & Ko Lin, “Vietnamese travel to Taiwan may be affected by visa changes”, Focus Taiwan, December 31, 2018
  • The number of travelers allowed to visit Taiwan will likely be reduced following the country's suspension of visas for groups of Vietnamese tourists, Ho Chi Minh Citybased tour operators said over the weekend.
  • On Thursday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced that it has suspended evisa applications for the Kuan Hung program, but noted that individuals wanting to visit Taiwan can still apply through its representative office in Vietnam.






  1. FM: Belarus ready to offer preferences to Japanese business”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, January 2, 2019
  • Belarus is ready to provide preferences to the Japanese business, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with NHK, Japan's broadcasting organization, on 19 December, BelTA has learned from the website of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • We are interested in closer cooperation between the business communities of Belarus and Japan. We all know how far Japan has advanced in car making, production of household appliances and in high technology. Therefore, we would like to ramp up our cooperation. We are ready to offer ultimate preferences to the Japanese business should it decide to operate in Belarus,” Vladimir Makei said.
  • At the start of the year 2018 Japanese nationals got an opportunity to stay in Belarus without a visa for 30 days. Japan is among the 80 countries whose citizens can take advantage of the visa waiver if they come to Belarus as tourists, on a business trip, for humanitarian purposes, etc.




  1. Padraic Halpin, “Brexit sends Britons seeking Irish passports up 22 percent in 2018”, Reuters, December 31, 2018
  • The number of British citizens applying for Irish passports rose by 22 percent in 2018, Ireland’s foreign office said on Monday, more than doubling the total of annual applications since Britain voted to leave the European Union. Almost 100,000 eligible Britons sought to hang onto their EU citizenship via a passport from their nearest neighbour this year, up from 81,000 last year and 46,000 in 2015, the year before the Brexit vote led to a sharp rise in applications.
  • Anybody born in the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, or with an Irish parent or grandparent, is entitled to an Irish passport a total of about 6 million British citizens. They are able to hold dual citizenship.
  • Registrations for Irish passports in Northern Ireland, whose citizens can hold both an Irish and British passport as the province is part of the United Kingdom, rose by 2 percent in the year to the end of December.




  1. Maja Zuvela, “Montenegro launches scheme offering citizenship for investment”, Channel News Asia, January 4, 2019
  • Montenegro has launched a programme offering citizenship to up to 2,000 foreigners in return for investment over the next three years to help speed up its economic development, the government said on Thursday.
  • A passport from Montenegro, an Adriatic country with a population of 620,000 which has joined NATO and aspires to European Union membership, allows its citizens visafree travel to 117 countries.
  • Under the scheme, potential candidates should donate 100,000 euros (US$113,670) for development of poor communities and invest either 250,000 euros into development projects in northern and central Montenegro or 450,000 euros into projects in the capital Podgorica or along the coastline, the government said.




  1. Two million Ukrainians make use of EU visa-free travel since June 2017”, UNIAN, January 3, 2019
  • Visafree travel to the European Union has already been used by two million Ukrainians since it was launched in June 2017. "Two million Ukrainians have already made use of the visa-free regime with the EU! The visa-free [mode] works!" Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on January 3.
  • Visafree travel to the countries of the European Union with the United Kingdom and Ireland being an exception became available to citizens of Ukraine with biometric passports on June 11, 2017. They can also travel without visas to such non-EU members as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, which are part of the Schengen zone.




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