HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 18.03.2019

Mar 18,2019





  1. Ethiopia relaxes visa rules to boost economy”, BBC, March 13, 2019
  • In November, Ethiopia finally opened up its borders by relaxing visa requirements. Previously, the country ranked 50 out of all 54 African nations for visa openness, according to the African Development Bank. All African nationals now receive visas on arrival, as part of efforts to make free movement within Africa possible.
  • "This social bond of interaction of Ethiopians with the rest of Africa systems could be more facilitated, and the flow of business and investment and of course tourism could be easily felt here in Ethiopia," said Sileshi Demisew, a spokesman for Ethiopia's immigration department.






  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Calgary selected as a Welcoming Francophone Community and Launch of the New Francophone Immigration Strategy”, Government of Canada, March 13, 2019
  • Calgary has been selected as a Welcoming Francophone Community as part of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages.
  • Under the Welcoming Francophone Communities initiative, a total of 14 communities across Canada will receive funding so they can create programs and support to help French speaking newcomers feel welcomed and integrated into Francophone minority communities.
  • The new Francophone immigration strategy was also launched today. […] It seeks to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities through immigration and specifically by increasing the proportion of French-speaking permanent residents in francophone minority communities, supporting the integration and retention of French-speaking newcomers, and building the capacity of Francophone communities.


  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Interim Pathway for Caregivers in Canada now open”, Government of Canada, March 15, 2019
  • Caregivers who came to Canada to provide care to Canadian families, in the hope of eventually transitioning to becoming a permanent residents should apply to the Interim Pathway for Caregivers (IPC).
  • Caregivers who have been working in Canada temporarily but who have not qualified for any other current caregiver program are encouraged to review the criteria and begin working on their applications so that they don’t miss the June 4 deadline.
  • Applications for permanent residence through the IPC will be processed in 12 months and there is no cap on the number of caregivers, with their spouses/common-law partners and dependent children, who will be accepted.




  1. Kempinski’s Cabrits Resort in Dominica Will Open for Guests Ahead of Grand Launch This Fall”, Boston Real Estate Times, March 12, 2019
  • During a recent interview on Dominica’s Marpin 2K4 TV channel, it was revealed that the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica would be welcoming guests three weeks prior to its November 2nd opening.
  • As Dominica carves out a reputation for its thriving ecotourism industry, the global brand labels the new resort as the place “where luxury meets nature”. The hotel also operates under Dominica’s world-leading Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI), an initiative that offers foreign investors the country’s citizenship in exchange for a monetary contribution, so long as they fulfil all the other requirements and pass a series of strict security checks.
  1. Dominica PM highlights importance of citizenship by investment”, Caribbean News Now, March 13, 2019
  • Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has highlighted the importance of maintaining absolute integrity of the island’s world-leading citizenship by investment (CBI) programme due to the major role it plays in developing the country.
  • “We recognise its importance,” Skerrit said as he explained how prudent the government is in managing the CBI programme. Indeed, Dominica’s vetting process for CBI applicants is said to be the most thorough amongst all citizenship – if not also residency – by investment programmes worldwide.
  • Financial Times’ experts highlighted this particular aspect when ranking all CBI jurisdictions in their annual CBI Index report, published by its PWM subsidiary. After scoring the island with full marks for due diligence and another four factors, the study concluded that Dominica was the world’s best country for second citizenship by investment.




  1. Grenada to Benefit from Multi-Million Dollar Hotel Development Projects”, TV6 TNT, March 13, 2019
  • Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell Tuesday said that the Dubai-based Range Development is to undertake two new hotel projects here estimated at US$130 million. “We are extremely delighted to welcome such an experienced hospitality developer to Grenada. Range Developments is well known for the high quality of its hotels and for the ability to deliver results in our region,” Mitchell told reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting here.
  • Range Development is an investment and hospitality company, operating across the Eastern Caribbean. It has been involved in the construction of the Park Hyatt in St Kitts and Cabrits Resort Kempinski in Dominica.
  • In a joint statement issued following the news conference, Range Development managing director, Mohammed Asaria, said “we have been very impressed by the welcome and the opportunities in Grenada.


  1. G’da amends CBI programme”, The New Today, March 17, 2019
  • The Lower House of Parliament last week Friday approved amendments to the Act governing its 5-year-old Citizenship by Investment Programme, to offer what it considers to be a more attractive range of benefits to investors.
  • Minister for Trade, Industry, Co-operatives and CARICOM Affairs, Oliver Joseph who presented the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the House of Representatives said that the amendments expand the definition of dependents as it relates to CBI applications to include parents and grandparents who are below the age of 55, unmarried siblings of the main applicant and spouse as well as children born within 12 months of the granting of citizenship.
  • The Bill removes the requirements for dependent children between the ages of 18 and 30 to be enrolled at an institution of higher learning and for parents or grandparents over 55 years to be fully supported. It also provides for the removal of permanent residence as a pre-requisite for citizenship and for secondary purchasers of CBI units in approved projects to acquire citizenship.


United States


  1. Ted Hesson, “U.S. set to close international immigration offices”, Politico, March 12, 2019
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to close all its international field offices, according to three people familiar with the decision. The offices — which are located in embassies and consulates around the world — handle everything from immigration applications and fraud detection. In addition, the offices provide expertise to other U.S. government agencies and partner with foreign governments.
  • USCIS Director Francis Cissna said in an email to staff that the agency was in preliminary discussions to transfer the international workload to domestic offices and the State Department. He said the shift in resources would allow USCIS to focus on clearing immigration backlogs in the U.S.
  • USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins said in a written statement that the agency would work closely with the State Department and the Homeland Security Department “to ensure no interruption … to affected applicants and petitioners.”


  1. Nguyen Quy, “Vietnamese rich leading procurers of investment-based US green cards”, VN Express, March 18, 2019
  • Data from the U.S. Immigration Fund reveal that the number of Vietnamese nationals issued EB-5 visas climbed to 693 last year, a 47 percent increase from 2017, ranking the country the third fastest-growing market in the world for the U.S. immigrant investor visa program after China and India. Just four years ago, Vietnam made up only 1 percent of all EB-5 visas granted by the U.S. government.
  • Currently, around 20 percent of EB-5 investment in American real estate comes from Vietnam, falling behind China (30 percent) and India (25 percent), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from the U.S. State Department.
  • According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 100,000 Vietnamese people leave the country each year to live in a more developed nation. The trend is apparent in the growing number of Vietnamese investors moving overseas and wealthy families deciding to emigrate, despite the higher costs of living, cultural differences, language barrier and complex visa requirements. The U.S. has become the top choice with many wishing to chase the American Dream.






  1. Iran, Iraq likely to relax visa rules to boost investment, tourism”, Tehran Times, March 11, 2019
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that good news about easing visa requirements between the two neighbors is probable to be heard during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Baghdad.
  • “In today’s negotiations between delegations of the two countries, good agreements were made, including visa issuance,” the foreign minister said, expressing hope that simultaneous with President Rouhani’s presence in Baghdad on Monday, the two nations will hear good news in this regard.




  1. Yerbolat Uatkhanov, “Kazakhstan to introduce tax free system for foreign tourists”, The Astana Times, March 15, 2019
  • Foreign citizens making purchases in Kazakhstan will be exempt from value added tax (VAT) payments in a few years. The Ministry of Culture and Sports will implement the system starting in 2022 and expects to attract more tourists to the country.
  • “The tenth measure (which is implemented under the national programme of tourism development for 2019-2025) includes the introduction of the tax free [system] starting in 2022 using the experience of the countries of the European Union, Australia, Thailand, Singapore and some Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries – Russia, Belarus and Georgia,” said Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly at the government meeting.
  • Reimbursement, with the possible involvement of operators such as GlobalBlue, InnovaTaxfree and PremierTaxFree, will be completed using financing from the national budget at the country’s major airports in the capital, Almaty and Shymkent.




  1. Singapore extends visa-free transit facility to 96 hours”, The New Indian Express, March 13, 2019
  • Singapore extended visa-free transit facility to 96 hours recently so that travellers in transit to or from any third country via Singapore may be eligible for 96 hours’ stay under certain conditions such as the travellers should have a valid ticket or other proof of the destination, said GB Srithar, Regional Director South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.
  • Singapore will open Jewel Changi Airport on April 17. The 10-storey complex will be home to more than 280 shops. This year, there will be a line-up of exciting activities, events and promotions at Singapore’s hill top destination.


Sri Lanka


  1. Charumini de Silva, “Sri Lanka to issue on-arrival visas from 1 May”, Daily FT, March 15, 2019
  • Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga yesterday said work is underway to implement on-arrival visa, free-of-charge for multiple countries from 1 May, to boost tourist arrivals during lean months. “We will start granting a six-month free visa period from 1 May for selected countries during our lean period to boost tourist arrivals,” the Minister told the Daily FT.
  • According to that, visa-free entry to Sri Lanka will be granted to tourists from Thailand, the UK, Australia, South Korea, Canada, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and countries of the EU. In addition to those countries, the Minister hopes to extend the facility to all SAARC countries as well as to China, which includes top source markets for Sri Lanka.




  1. Sophia Yang, “North Macedonia extends visa waiver program to Taiwanese visitors”, Taiwan News, March 14, 2019
  • The Republic of North Macedonia and Taiwan are set to extend the visa waiver program for each other for another year, starting from April 1.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Thursday that North Macedonia is set to extend its program of visa-free entry to Taiwanese citizens for another year from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, meaning Taiwanese citizens can stay in the country situated north of Greece and west of Bulgaria on the Balkan Peninsula for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.


  1. Requirements for New Zealand travel to change”, Taipei Times, March 14, 2019
  • Taiwanese travelers will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) if they want to travel to New Zealand starting from October, the Bureau of Consular Affairs said on Tuesday.
  • An ETA is valid for two years, the bureau said. The requirement is to be mandatory for all sea and air travelers from 60 visa-free countries, which includes Taiwan, the bureau said. Those transiting through New Zealand would also be required to hold an ETA, the bureau added.
  • According to the New Zealand immigration Web site, the ETA is a “new security and facilitation measure that will help to speed things up at the border” by making a number of improvements, including enhancing security and reducing immigration risks, addressing smuggling and biosecurity risks, and improving traveler experience.


United Arab Emirates


  1. UAE nationals to be granted visa on arrival in Pakistan”, Arabian Business, March 14, 2019
  • The UAE is to be included on a list of countries to be granted visas on arrival in Pakistan as part of new relaxed policies, according to government officials. According to Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Pakistan’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to formally announce the new scheme later on Thursday.
  • Hussain said that the new visa on arrival policies will initially be rolled out to citizens of the UAE, Turkey, China, Malaysia and the UK. He added that eventually, 45 other countries will be included, including all the member states of the GCC.


  1. UAE citizens get visa free entry to Colombia”, Khaleej Times, March 16, 2019
  • The UAE and Colombia have signed an agreement on the mutual exemption of prior visa requirements for ordinary passport holders from both countries.
  • The agreement was signed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Luz Stella Jara Portilla, Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Colombia, following their meeting here as part of Sheikh Abdullah's current visit to Colombia.
  • "There are 4000 Colombians living in the UAE and actively contributing to the country's economic development drive," Sheikh Abdullah added.




  1. Naubet Bisenov, “Joint visa plan opens doors for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan”, Nikkei Asian Review, March 16, 2019
  • Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are set to launch a joint visa that will allow tourists to travel fuss-free from one country to the other, a plan that has drawn much interest from their neighbors. The so-called "Silk Visa" has been delayed from a February launch but officials said that they had received all necessary approvals, leaving just technicalities and equipment to be sorted out.
  • Ulugbek Qasimxojayev, acting first deputy chairman of Uzbekistan's state committee for tourism, said in December that neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan had also shown interest in the idea and that Kazakhstan wanted to involve Azerbaijan and Turkey in what could become a region-wide initiative.
  • One of the key groups the Silk Visa is targeting is Chinese tourists. Indeed, there seems to be demand for such a visa. "I would have popped into Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan if it meant less hassle for me," said a Chinese student in Almaty who would like to travel in Central Asia.






  1. Lila MacLellan, “Ireland is averaging a record 3,000 passport applications per day this year”, Quartz, March 17, 2019
  • You might expect some fresh energy in the air this Saint Patrick’s Day: A record 230,000 people have applied for Irish passports since the beginning of the year, Ireland’s foreign ministry announced today (March 16). Some 5,000 more are expected to submit claims online this weekend alone.
  • In 2018, Ireland, a member of the EU, issued 860,000 passports, including renewals, the highest number in the country’s history. Of those, 84,855 went to applicants in Northern Ireland, part of the UK, representing a 2% increase compared to 2017. (For now, citizens of Northern Ireland can hold both an Irish and British passport.)
  • Another 98,544 went to residents of Great Britain, representing a 22% rise over the previous year, but an even larger jump since 2015, the year before the UK voted to leave the European Union: At that time, only 46,000 people in Great Britain submitted applications for Irish papers.




  1. Turkey Intends to Fulfil 6 Final Benchmarks for Visa-Free Entry to EU”, Sputnik, March 15, 2019
  • Turkey intends to fulfil the six remaining requirements for its visa liberalization agreement with the European Union, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.
  • The situation around the EU membership of Ankara, long-awaited by the country, has recently reached a new low, as earlier in the week European Parliament's lawmakers adopted a non-binding resolution calling on the bloc to suspend admission negotiations with Turkey, whom Western countries have repeatedly accused of human rights violations.
  • The European Union launched the visa liberalization dialogue with Turkey in 2013. The bloc outlined 72 conditions for Ankara to meet in order to eliminate visa requirements for Turkish nationals wishing to enter the European Union. Recognizing Cyprus as an independent country and revising its anti-terrorism laws are conditions that are yet to be fulfilled by Turkey.


United Kingdom


  1. Jen Kirby, “The UK Parliament has voted to delay Brexit”, Vox, March 14, 2019
  • The UK Parliament has voted to postpone the Brexit deadline — but it’s now up to the European Union to agree to an extension. Prime Minister Theresa May put forward a measure Thursday that sought to delay the UK’s exit from the EU beyond the current March 29 deadline. Parliament voted 412 to 202 in favor.
  • Parliament approved the extension a day after it voted against leaving the European Union without some sort of deal in place, and two days after members of Parliament rejected the prime minister’s Brexit deal by an overwhelming margin for the second time.
  • The EU has been reluctant to grant the UK an extension unless it has a solution to break the political impasse. Parliament agrees it doesn’t like May’s deal, and says it doesn’t want to leave the EU without an agreement — but it hasn’t come to a consensus beyond that.




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