HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 25.03.2019

Mar 25,2019



Antigua & Barbuda


  1. Charmaine Donovan, “The alluring benefits of second citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda”, European CEO, March 22, 2019
  • Bolstered by generous government incentives, foreign direct investment has contributed to the rapid development of the local economy, giving Antigua and Barbuda one of the highest GDPs per capita in the Caribbean. As a result, it has become an ideal jurisdiction for those seeking second citizenship.
  • As of December 2018, more than 1,900 applications have been processed. With its efficient management, rigorous due diligence, wide choice of investment options and sheer physical attraction, Antigua and Barbuda is fast becoming the jurisdiction of choice for second citizenship.




  1. Brazil announces visa-free entry for US, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese citizens”, E-Turbo News, March 19, 2019
  • The Brazilian Government announced that Brazil would allow visa-free entry for citizens of The United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, effective in 90 days (June 17th). Until then, the current e-visa will be required.
  • Citizens of those countries wishing to visit Brazil will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa. They will be able to stay in Brazil for 90 days from the date of first entry in the country, extendable for an equal period, provided that it does not exceed one hundred and eighty days, every twelve months, counted from the date of the first entry into the Country.
  • Brazil has already seen extremely positive results with an increase of about 35% in the visa application in less than a year since implementing e-visa. These four countries are considered strategic for the development of tourism in Brazil.




  1. Monica Nickelsburg, “US immigration policy has employers eyeing Canada for job growth”, Geek Wire, March 20, 2019
  • As the United States cracks down on employment-based immigration programs, Canada has been aggressively marketing itself as a friendly alternative for tech companies seeking international talent in the nation’s quest to become a more influential tech hub.
  • Some 65 percent of employers in a recent Harris Poll said they think Canada has more favorable immigration policies than the U.S. Envoy, a technology firm that helps employers with immigration services, enlisted Harris to survey more than 400 U.S. companies in a variety of industries.
  • In 2017, Toronto added more tech jobs than Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Washington D.C. combined according to a CBRE report. The Candian city’s burgeoning tech scene is no coincidence. Canada has been touting its friendly immigration policy, announcing a plan to bring 350,000 foreign nationals into the country each year until 2021.


  1. Renee Bernard, “CBSA looking to collect information as people leave the country, but raises privacy concerns”, CityNews 1130, March 22, 2019
  • According to a lengthy report released by the Canada Border Services Agency earlier this month, the government doesn’t currently have access to reliable exit information on everyone leaving Canada. It cites a number of reasons why the information would be helpful. For example, exit data would facilitate investigations into people who might be leaving to participate in illegal activities.
  • The data would also allow the CBSA to confirm travel dates when determining what duties are owed by people returning to Canada. The information would also be shared, according to the report. It says exit data would be provided to immigration personnel, to help them determine whether applicants comply with residency requirements.
  • The CBSA report says personal information collected under the Entry/Exit Initiative will be retained for no more than 15 years and says it has completed a privacy impact assessment in consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.


  1. Theophilos Argitis & Erik Hertzberg, “Canada Sees Its Biggest Influx of Immigrants Since World War I”, Bloomberg, March 22, 2019
  • Canada just recorded its biggest influx of immigrants in more than a century. The country added 71,131 immigrants in the final three months of 2018, for a full year increase of 321,065, according to the latest estimates released Thursday by Statistics Canada in Ottawa.
  • The annual increase is the largest since 1913 -- when 401,000 immigrants flocked to the country -- and the fourth largest in historical data going back to 1852.
  • The increase in international migration, for example, has helped fuel a surge in employment -- even amid sluggish indicators in other parts of the economy -- since immigrants tend to be of working age.




  1. Economic outlook for Dominica favourable – CDB”, St. Lucia News Online, March 19, 2019
  • The economic outlook for Dominica this year is favourable and growth is being projected at two per cent, the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has said.
  • In its “Country Economic Review 2018-Dominica,” released here ahead of the bank’s annual board of governors meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in June, the region’s premier financial institution noted that the positive economic performance is based on an expected pickup in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
  • According to the CDB, economic growth in Dominica was positive in 2018, exceeding expectations. “Overall, growth was 0.5 per cent. Post Hurricane Maria related construction led the way, and this will likely continue into 2019. Value added in the wholesale and retail sector also increased significantly. “


  1. Dominica’s citizenship by investment programme not a risk to tax reporting, says Ernst and Young”, Caribbean News Now, March 22, 2019
  • A report prepared by multinational accounting firm Ernst and Young (EY) and published on Tuesday, concludes that Dominica’s citizenship by investment (CBI) programme does not facilitate tax avoidance and evasion.
  • The report notes that the programme, by its very nature, awards citizenship and that citizenship is not the basis on which a person’s obligation to pay taxes rests. Instead, the obligation to pay taxes revolves around ‘tax residency’, – a concept “often built around the degree of personal socio-economic links with a country.”
  • The report affirms this first by indicating that “the [CRS] reporting rules are explicit in not using citizenship as a test,” and second by emphasising that “concerns over the scope for CBI to facilitate tax avoidance and evasion, therefore, seem to be based on weaknesses in the tax implementation rather than a feature of CBI programmes themselves.”




  1. Panama establishes Stamped Visa requirements for Cubans with tourism card”, Cuba Headlines, March 18, 2019
  • The Government of Panama authorized, as of this Saturday, the Stamped Visa for those Cubans with a tourism card.
  • Therefore, they should go to the Panamanian diplomatic headquarters in the Island and present the original application form (and photocopy) of the general information of the passport and the respective entry stamps, flight reservation, proof of the fee paid for the flight. dollars and an economic solvency test.
  • In the case of Cubans who already had an entry permit to the Central American nation and have "duly used it or at the request of Cuban authorities," they must also address the Consulate of Panama. But, unlike the previous ones, they will only need to present the application form, the receipt of the amount of the 50 dollars and the passport, with a copy of the general information and the previous Stamped Visa.


United States


  1. Andy J. Semotiuk, “Indian And Chinese Tech Workers Could Go To Front Of Green Card Line Under New Bill”, Forbes, March 18, 2019
  • The U.S. is taking a second shot at removing the per-country limit on green cards through bill HR 1044, a measure that will help certain U.S. immigrant populous source countries, such as India, China and Mexico overcome a current disadvantage in applying for U.S. permanent residence.
  • Bill HR 1044 (formerly HR 392), also known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, aims to have green cards issued by category and date of filing, regardless of the country of birth of the applicant.
  • Advocates for the bill argue that scrapping the per-country limit will help reduce the backlog, help maintain America’s competitive and innovative reputation, and boost opportunity for all. Opponents argue that if HR 1044 were passed, it would be discriminatory because less populated countries would no longer have access to a guaranteed green card pool.






  1. Nandita Natrajkumar, “Indian green card visa holders multiplied 4 times in 2 years; may soon face retrogression”, IB Times, March 21, 2019
  • According to a Times of India report, with only 161 EB-5 visas issued to Indians in 2016 and a massive 585 such visas issued in 2018, there has been a 293 per cent surge in a span of two years. One of the reasons for this increase could be the stricter norms to obtain the more common H1-B visa.
  • The report goes on to state that currently 10,000 EB-5 visas are issued with seven per cent allotted to each country. When the number of visas issued to a country massively increases, it faces a retrogression […].
  • It is predicted that India too will face retrogression in a matter of months. At the moment, the wait for the visa is only 18 to 30 months. The wait time is expected to increase to a few years.




  1. Gad Lior, “Israeli Citizens to Become Eligible for US Investor Visas as of May”, The Algemeiner, March 24, 2019
  • As of May 1, Israeli citizens will be eligible for work permits in the US provided they can commit to investing “a substantial amount of capital” in the US and, in doing so, employ American citizens.
  • The granting of the visa, known as the E-2, was approved last week after seven years of negotiations between both countries and is expected to come into effect in early May, a spokesperson for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Calcalist in a phone call Saturday.
  • The level of investment required for an E-2 visa varies by the nature of the business, but applications must show how the investment will lead to the hiring of US workers, according to the US citizenship and immigration website. The E-2 program also allows investors to man key positions in their companies with people of the same nationality.




  1. Thailand approves visa-free entry for Maldivians”, Maldives Independent, March 24, 2019
  • Thailand has approved visa-free entry for a 30-day period to Maldivian tourists with effect from April 14, the Maldives foreign ministry announced Saturday. Maldivians are presently required to apply for 30-day visas with an MVR1,000 (US$65) fee to the Thai consulate in Malé.
  • Thailand is among the top five destinations for Maldivians to travel for vacation, business or medical purposes, according to an annual survey by the central bank.
  • Thailand is the third country to ease visa requirements for Maldivians since the new administration took office in November.




  1. Property sales to foreigners see their best February ever”, Daily Sabah, March 19, 2019
  • House sales to foreigners maintained an upward trend and saw their best February ever, reaching 3,321 units, a 92.1 percent year-on-year increase, the national statistical body, Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) announced yesterday. The same figure was 1,729 in February last year.
  • Iraqi citizens, which bought around 8,205 houses in total last year, maintained leadership among nations and purchased 628 houses in Turkey in February, while the same figure stood at 308 in the same month of last year. Iraqi citizens were followed by Iranian, Russian, Afghan and Jordanian nationals with 307, 236, 166 and 150 house sales, respectively, the data showed.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Uzbekistan introduces 30-day visa-free regime for UAE citizens”, Xinhua, March 19, 2019
  • Uzbekistan has introduced a 30-day visa-free regime for citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) starting from March 20, according to a Uzbek presidential decree published on Tuesday. The decree issued by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also instructs the Uzbek foreign office to issue multiple-entry visas for up to one year to UAE citizens visiting Uzbekistan for business purposes.
  • In February, the Central Asian nation has offered 45 more countries 30-day visa-free travel and the list of countries eligible for Uzbekistan's e-visa system was expanded to 76 countries.


  1. Cleofe Maceda, “More US-bound flyers can skip immigration queues as UAE's Etihad, Bahrain's Gulf Air sign codeshare deal”, Gulf News, March 20, 2019
  • More travellers will be able to skip long immigration queues in the United States, as Etihad has just sealed a codeshare deal with Bahrain’s Gulf Air.
  • With the new agreement, Gulf Air’s US-bound flyers travelling with Etihad through Abu Dhabi can now avail themselves of Etihad’s pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi airport, the airline told Gulf News.
  • The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility at Terminal 3 in Abu Dhabi Airport allows US-bound passengers to process all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi before they depart.
  • The country's most populous city, Istanbul was again the top choice for foreign citizens in February as 1,440 houses were sold in the country's largest city, corresponding to an increase of 138.4 percent compared to the same period of last year, when 604 houses were sold to foreign buyers.




  1. Mark Ashwill, “The shift of Vietnamese students to Canada marches on”, University World News, March 23, 2019
  • As of the end of last year, there were 20,330 Vietnamese studying at all levels in Canada. This means that Vietnam has taken sole possession of fifth place among sending countries. Rounding out the top five – in ascending order – are France (22,745), South Korea (24,195), China (142,985), and India (172,625).
  • At this rate, and if the number of Vietnamese students in the US continues to decline – as is indicated by the number of visas issued in the first three months of the 2019 US government fiscal year – it is possible that Canada will surpass the US in the number of Vietnamese students within its borders in the next few years. Canada now has 68% of the number of Vietnamese students in the US.
  • The Canadian government is doing everything right. It recognises the pressing need for well-educated and highly trained immigrants and its immigration policy reflects that priority […]. Canada’s population growth is the highest among the G7 countries due mainly to international migration. One in five Canadians is an immigrant, including many who earned a degree from a Canadian post-secondary institution and many more who began their studies at a Canadian high school.




Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


  1. Julie Nguyen, “OECD Clampdown on RCBI: Rooted in Factual Analysis or Baseless Allegations?”, Investment Migration Insider, March 24, 2019
  • In 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) introduced its Model Mandatory Disclosure Rules, which imposed disclosure obligations on investment immigration intermediaries, and a practical guidance for Financial Institutions, including a List of Potentially High-Risk Residency/Citizenship by Investment (“R/CBI”) Schemes […].
  • Proponents of the OECD’s RCBI-clampdown suggest that the implementation of these dual initiatives will combat abuse by criminals, including money laundering and tax evasion […]. Opponents of the OECD’s approach, however, consider it to be problematic largely because of the lack of empirical evidence demonstrating the damage done to the integrity of CRS in these allegedly high-risk countries.
  • This general lack of information concerning the OECD’s “analysis”, including why those countries were removed, has made it particularly difficult for industry professionals to make sense of the OECD’s initiatives and for governments to concretely remedy their situation.






  1. Pedro Goncalves, “Cyprus gives expats more time to sort out post-Brexit residency status”, International Investment, March 18, 2019
  • Cyprus is preparing legislation to allow Britons already living in the country a grace period of one year to get their residency status sorted out after the official ‘Brexit Day' on March 29, according to the British High Commission in Nicosia.
  • Around 70,000 British expats live in Cyprus, although this includes many who live on the island for only part of the year.
  • There are three main residency statuses that British expats are entitled to: an MEU1 (registration for residents living in Cyprus for more than three months), the MEU3 (for residents who have lived in Cyprus for more than five years), while residents who have lived in Cyprus for more than seven years can apply for citizenship.
  • All Britons living in Cyprus should apply for either an MEU1 or MEU3 to ensure that they are lawfully resident and that their rights continue to be protected post-Brexit.




  1. Aljosa Drobnjak, “Citizenship by Investment Programme by End of 2019”, Total Montenegro News, March 23, 2019
  • We expect to have the first applications for Montenegrin Citizenship by the Investment Programme by the end of this year, while the Programme itself will be entirely in place in 2020, head of Secretariat for Development Projects, Dejan Medojevic, said in an interview with Dnevne Novine daily.
  • The Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Programme started on 1 January 2019, and it will be limited to 2,000 investors over three years. According to Medojevic, there will not be a place either for those working with dirty money nor persons of interests to the security services in this Programme.
  • He reminded of the investment requirements, that is, 100,000 EUR donation in a Government Funds plus.




  1. Ukrainians to enjoy visa free regime with Thailand since April 14”, 112 UA, March 22, 2019
  • Since April 14, Ukrainian citizens will be able to visit Thailand without the need to process visas - granted that the period of visa-free stay does not exceed 30 days. The Department of Consulate Service of Ukraine's foreign ministry posted that on Facebook.
  • 'One will need a foreign passport (biometric or non-biometric); the period of visa-free stay amounts up to 30 days', the authority reported. 'For the period of stay of more than 30 days, regardless the purpose of the visit, one will need to get a visa in the respective diplomatic office or the consulate', the Foreign Ministry reported.


United Kingdom


  1. Confirmed: UK nationals won't need visas for Switzerland after Brexit”, The Local, March 22, 2019
  • UK nationals will not be required to obtain a visa for Switzerland after Brexit, even for lengthy stays, the Swiss government announced on Friday. The visa exemption will come into force on the day on the day that the current Swiss–EU bilateral agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) ceases to apply in the case of Brexit, the Swiss government said in a statement.
  • At the same time, the UK has confirmed Swiss nationals will not be required to obtain a visa once the UK leaves the EU – both for short and longer stays in the UK.
  • On Friday, the Swiss government also gave its final sign-off for changes to employment laws which will allow for a separate quota of permits for British citizens hoping to come and work in Switzerland after March 30th in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Under the scheme, a total of 3,500 ‘extra’ permits would be granted to UK citizens who are new to Switzerland for the period from March 30th to the end of this year.






  1. Colin Packham, “Australia cuts annual immigrant cap, puts key cities off-limits to some”, Reuters, March 20, 2019
  • “This is a practical problem that Australians wanted addressed,” [Prime Minister Scott Morrison] told reporters in Canberra, the capital, after announcing the annual immigration intake would be cut to 160,000 people, with effect from July 1, versus 190,000 before.
  • Morrison said the cap would include places for up to 23,000 people who could migrate to Australia under a new skilled visa. Such arrivals could gain permanent residency after living outside of Australia’s largest cities for three years, he added.
  • They will be barred from living in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney or the Gold Coast, where infrastructure is overutilised, said immigration minister David Coleman. Authorities will require proof of residential and work addresses in future applications for permanent residency, he added, as a way of enforcing the requirement.





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