HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 21.01.2019

Jan 21,2019





  1. Global Schengen Visa Application Centre Launched In Rwanda”, Taarifa, January 14, 2019
  • On January 15, 2019, VFS Global launches a Schengen Visa Application Centre in Rwanda.
  • The new centre offers visa-processing services to people looking to travel from Rwanda to Belgium and 19 other Schengen destinations.






  1. Owain Johnston-Barnes, “Cabinet to consider immigration reform plan”, The Royal Gazette, January 17, 2019
  • Bermuda’s the Minister of National Security Wayne Caines announced that Bermuda is considering to reform its immigration laws.
  • The reform is based on the latest report submitted by the bipartisan Immigration Reform Group.
  • Key elements of the reform may be debated and passed in the House of Assembly by the end of July 2019.




  1. Brazil plans to drop visas for Americans to boost tourism – minister”, Channel NewsAsia, January 17, 2019
  • On January 16, 2019, Brazil’s tourism minister Marcelo Alvaro Antonio announced that the country plans to eliminate visitor visas for Americans.
  • Brazil is also planning to eliminate the need for Canadians, Japanese and Australians to apply for visit visas in the future.




  1. Canada planning to welcome more than 1 million new immigrants by end of 2021”, Daily Hive, January 14, 2019
  • Canada’s federal government recently released a multi-year immigration plan to boost foreign immigration into Canada.
  • The plan aims to welcome over 1 million new permanent residents into the country by 2021.
  • The Canadian government believed that the new plan may foster the growth of Canada’s economy.


United States


  1. Chris Morris, “Trump Vows Changes to H1-B Visa Program For Skilled Immigrants”, Fortune, January 11, 2019
  • President Donald Trump recently stated on Twitter that there would soon be changes to United States’ H1-B visa program.
  • The changes shall simplify the H1-B visa program and provided skilled workers with more certainty to their stays in the United States, including their potential paths to citizenship.






  1. New WeChat app to help China's travellers apply for visas”,, 16 January 2019
  • The Global Joint Visa Application Centre and Tencent’s WeChat will soon release a mobile application named “Weifeng Visa” to allow travellers from China apply for visas online,
  • Visa applicants may submit their visa applications with the Weifeng Visa app and pay the associated visa fees using their WeChat digital wallets.


Hong Kong


  1. An Hong, “Hong Kong exempts visa for Vietnamese diplomatic passport holders”, VNExpress January 17, 2019
  • Starting January 17, 2019, people with diplomatic and official Vietnamese passports may visit Hong Kong for fourteen (14) days without a visa.
  • The decision aims to facilitate diplomatic exchanges between Vietnam and Hong Kong.




  1. Cabinet Go-Ahead For Facilitation Of Visa Arrangements With Maldives”, NDTV, January 16, 2019
  • On January 16, 2019, the Union Cabinet in India approved a Visa Facilitation Agreement that grants Maldivians and India nationals travelling between the two countries a 90-day visa-free period for tourism, medical and limited business purposes.
  • The agreement was signed in December 2018 with the goal of facilitating the exchange of people between the Maldives and India.




  1. Visit to Kartapur Gurudwara in Pakistan will be visa-free: PM Narendra Modi”, Zee News, January 13, 2019
  • On January 13, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented that pilgrims would soon be able to acquire visa-free entry at Darbar Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan.
  • The new change permits Indians and Sikhs to go to Narowal, Pakistan without visas.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas”, Arab News, January 15, 2019
  • On January 15, 2019, Saudi Arabia’s minister of media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah announced that Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with the Republic of Korea on the grant of visit visas.
  • While the details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed, Al-Shabanah commented that the agreement was reached after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council.




  1. Exemption of visa on arrival fees to boost Chinese New Year”, The Thaiger, January 17, 2019
  • The National News Bureau of Thailand recently announced that people looking to visit Thailand between now and the end of April this year may have their visa-on-arrival fees waived if they come from one of the following countries: Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
  • The waiver may help boost tourism in Thailand during Chinese New Year in February and Songkran in April.



United Arab Emirates


  1. UAE grants first batch of new long-term visas”, Arabian Business, January 16, 2019
  • The UAE government recently announced that long-term visas are granted to the winners and finalists of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction.
  • The announcement was made following the second annual meeting of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists (MBRAS).
  • This decision is in line with the UAE Cabinet’s goal to enhance UAE’s status as a talent and innovation hub.






  1. Plans to unite visa-free zones of Grodno Oblast, Brest Oblast”, BelTA, January15, 2019
  • The Sports and Tourism Ministry of Belarus is planning to unite visa-free tourist and recreation zones of Grodno Oblast and Brest Oblast in Belarus.
  • To boost tourism, additional attraction sites would be incorporated into the newly united visa-free zone.




  1. European Parliament backs proposals to help those who lose their passports when travelling outside the EU”, Irish Examiner, January 19, 2019
  • The European Parliament has backed new proposals that will help Irish people who lose their passports when travelling outside the EU.
  • MEPs this week voted on rules to improve emergency help for those who have lost their passports and who may find themselves in a place that doesn't have any embassy from their own country. They'll now be able to get temporary travel documents at another member state consulate.




  1. Portuguese parliament widens residency scheme with 'green visas'”, The Economic Times, January 11, 2019
  • On January 11, 2019, the Portugal parliament extended a residency programme for high net-worth investors who make a minimum of EUR $500,000 investments on organic agriculture, ecotourism, renewable energy projects and other environmental projects that contribute to cut carbon emissions.
  • These “green visas” are expected to promote foreign investments of an ecological nature in Portugal


  1. Alice Cuddy, “Portugal airports to introduce separate passport lanes for Britons after Brexit”, Euro News, January 18, 2019
  • Portugal has announced plans to open separate customs lanes for British tourists at its airports after the UK leaves the European Union, as it seeks to prevent a post-Brexit slump in its tourism industry.
  • Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the new lanes would be opened at Faro airport in the Algarve and Funchal airport on the island of Madeira — both popular destinations for British holidaymakers. The lanes for UK nationals will be similar to those provided to tourists from the EU, he said.


  1. Portugal promises no visas for Britons in any no-deal Brexit”, Channel NewAsia, January 18, 2019
  • Portugal’s Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira Britons announced that Britons living in Portugal could maintain their residency rights and their abilities to visit Portugal under visa-free conditions even without a Brexit deal.
  • The minister further affirmed that, even in the event that a Brexit deal cannot be reached, British citizens living in Portugal would retain their rights to access the Portuguese healthcare system.




  1. No obstructions exist to cancelling visas in Russia-Japan relations, says Lavrov”, TASS Russia News Agency, January 14, 2019
  • Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, announced that Russia and Japan may potentially cancel the need for visa applications for residents travelling between the two countries
  • Lavrov announced the potential visa-free relationship with Japan after the first round of Russian-Japanese negotiations on a peace treaty.


  1. Russia Hopes Group Visa Waiver With Iran To Come Into Force Soon - Russian Deputy Minister”, Urdu Point, January 14, 2019
  • Russia is in negotiations with Iran to introduce 15-day visa waivers for tourist groups
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov commented on Monday that they are in the final stage of the negotiation with Iran.




  1. Ukraine border guards ready for possible introduction of biometric visas with Russia”, UNIAN Information Agency, January 14, 2019
  • Oleh Slobodyan, the spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine recently announced that they are ready for the possible introduction of a biometric visa regime for Russian citizens.
  • Slobodyan mentioned that the border guards have already been collecting fingerprints from foreign nationals that are on the migration risk list since the beginning of 2018.






  1. Fijians seek EU help on visas”, Radio New Zealand, 15 January 2019
  • The Fiji government urged the European Union open up a visa office in Fiji.
  • Currently, the Fijians looking to visit Europe have to travel to Wellington or Vanuatu to apply for a visa.
  • A European Union visa office in Fiji may make it easier for Fijians to travel to Europe.


New Zealand


  1. Jason Walls, “The Govt will soon decide if it will reopen the parent visa, which has been closed since 2016”, New Zealand Herald, January 17, 2019
  • The New Zealand government is considering to reopen the parent visa category after its temporary closure in late 2016.
  • The visa category, if reopens, would permit adult New Zealand residents or citizens to reunite with their parents.