HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 15.04.2019

Apr 15,2019





  1. Daniel Laurence, “Citizenship process in Seychelles could become easier for some former islanders”, Seychelles News Agency, April 8, 2019
  • Seychellois who renounced their nationality after marrying a foreigner from a country that does not accept dual citizenship might soon be able to reapply without undergoing a rigorous process, said a top official.
  • The principal secretary for Immigration and Civil Status, Alain Volcere, said that this will be made possible through a national review that will be made on the issue of acquiring Seychellois citizenship. Volcere said that the review will touch upon Seychellois who have renounced their citizenship especially around the time Seychelles gained independence.
  • “During that time many Seychellois who got married to a foreigner coming from countries such as Sweden or Germany had to renounce their Seychellois citizenship as these countries did not accept dual nationality,” explained Volcere.
  • A committee led by the Attorney General’s office, the Department of Immigration and Civil Society sector will be set up for the review. The process will go through a white paper stage that will lead to further discussions with members of the public.




  1. Chris Corum, “New Tanzania travel ID includes smartphone digital passport”, Secure ID News, April 11, 2019
  • Tanzania’s e-passports are among the newest digital passport documents in the world, and they are getting recognition in part due to the inclusion of an emergency digital passport stored in the citizen’s smartphone. The ID documents, from HID Global, won best new e-passport in late March at the High Security Printing EMEA.
  • That mobile emergency passport was built using HID’s mobile goID technology. According to country authorities, that’s not the only benefit of Tanzania’s e-passport — it also enables citizens to pass through automated border control stations.






  1. Jolson Lim, “Budget bill establishes new body to regulate immigration consultants”, iPolitics, April 9, 2019
  • The budget bill tabled on Monday proposes to create the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants that will govern the practices of such consultants “in the public interest and protect the public.” It will replace the existing Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), the current industry self-regulator that has been criticized as ineffective in tackling unethical consultants exploiting new immigrants.
  • The bill proposes to require licensees to comply with a code of professional conduct established by the federal immigration minister.
  • The provisions also prohibit unlicensed individuals — often known as “ghost” consultants — from using certain titles and representing themselves as licensees, offering the college power to seek an injunction for any violations. The college will also be overseen by a board of directors.
  • The bill proposes doubling the existing maximum fines currently offered for consultants found to be violating existing rules. The college will also establish a fund to compensate victims of exploitative licensees.


  1. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Canada strengthens regulation of immigration and citizenship consultants”, Government of Canada, April 10, 2019
  • The new legislation would make the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants the official watchdog of consultants across the country and give them both the powers and tools they need for vigorous oversight, enforcement, investigations and punishment to root out fraudulent immigration and citizenship consultants and hold them accountable for their actions.
  • In addition, we will work with the College to: implement a mandatory and robust course for those wishing to obtain an immigration and citizenship consulting license; introduce transparency on fees; and provide a better system for people to make formal complaints against a consultant.


  1. Andy Blatchford, “Canada aims to attract more international students by expanding presence overseas”, Global News, April 14, 2019
  • Canada plans to attract more international students by expanding its presence overseas in an effort to advance classroom diversity and boost economic benefits that already amount to billions per year.
  • The economic effects of foreign students nearly doubled between 2010 and 2016, when they reached a total of $15.5 billion in Canada for everything from tuition fees to rent and groceries, according to a federal analysis. To put that in perspective, the document says the sector supported nearly 170,000 jobs in 2016 and had greater economic impacts than Canada’s exports of auto parts, aircraft and lumber.
  • The vast majority of foreign students have been coming from India and China, while recent years have seen surges from countries with fast-growing economies like Vietnam.
  • Officials from universities, colleges and the federal government are now in the early stages of developing an “aligned” strategy that will broaden campaigns in other parts of the world, Universities Canada president Paul Davidson said in an interview.




  1. CBI expert commends new CIU boss”, The New Today, April 13, 2019
  • A Citizenship by Investment Strategist, Johanan Lafeuille-Doughlin has commended the newly installed head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Thomas Anthony, for taking the necessary steps to safeguard the integrity of Grenada’s 6-year-old passporting selling scheme known as Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.
  • Anthony has been engaged in the due diligence field in the CBI from Antigua and is a former Global Head of Exiger’s Immigration, Citizenship, and Visa Practice. He was the Deputy CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda (Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) between 2013 and 2017 and also acted as interim CEO for several months toward the end of his tenure there.
  • Since his arrival to head Grenada’s CIU in September 2018, the unit along with the government have taken several steps deemed important in securing the programme’s integrity and improving its attractiveness, signed an extradition treaty with China, warning potential criminals that a Grenadian passport is no get out of jail free card; approved the sale of CBI-property in the secondary market; and widened the “dependents” definition to include siblings.


United States


  1. Aria Bendix, “New York's $25 billion Hudson Yards development claimed funding from a year's worth of immigrant visas — here's why it was legal”, Business Insider, April 12, 2019
  • As a community bordered by expensive neighborhoods such as Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, Hudson Yards was too wealthy on its own to qualify for the EB-5 program. To solve the problem, the state included a few census tracts from Harlem as part of the overarching TEA.
  • "By utilizing the EB-5 program we were able to finance the critical infrastructure for the project, the platform, where traditional financing is all but non-existent," a spokesperson for Hudson Yards told Business Insider. "This capital, which comes at no cost to the American taxpayers, was the catalyst for the Hudson Yards project."
  • A spokesperson told Business Insider that the EB-5 funding "allowed us to immediately create thousands of jobs all over the city, offering tangible regional economic benefits and direct benefits to areas of high unemployment."






  1. Aarti Nagraj, “New rules for Indians applying for passport services in the UAE”, Gulf Business, April 10, 2019
  • Indian expats who require passport services in the UAE will now need to mandatorily complete their applications online before visiting the processing centres. BLS International will continue to handle all the processing of Indian passport and visa applications on behalf of the Indian consulate and embassy in the UAE. The BLS centres will provide the online form-filling service for applicants if they are unable to do it by themselves for any reason.
  • The new rule came into effect in Dubai and the northern emirates on April 4, according to a statement on website of the Indian Consulate in Dubai. The change is part of the Indian government’s Passport Seva project, which seeks to enable faster delivery of passport services to applicants in India and abroad.


  1. Anjana Sankar, “Indian Embassy assures passport guidelines are hijab-friendly”, Khaleej Times, April 14, 2019
  • Indian Embassy has revoked a controversial move by the BLS to insist Muslim women should show their ears in photos while submitting passport applications. M Rajamurugan, Consular - Passport and Visa section at the embassy, said the existing rules are hijab-friendly and no new guidelines have been issued.
  • "Muslim women who wear head scarf or hijab need not reveal their ears in Indian passport photos. There was some communication gap that caused the confusion. We have clarified the matter and the rules remain the same," Rajamurugan told Khaleej Times.
  • "Both Muslim women who wear hijab and men who wear turban are exempted as the guidelines are clear on exempting people who wear headgear for religious purpose."
  • Rajamurugan said the detailed guidelines for passport photos along with demonstrative pictures will soon be made available on the Indian embassy's website.


  1. To woo West Pakistan refugees, PM promises citizenship”, The Tribune, April 14, 2019
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reiterated commitment of the BJP to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to give rights to religious minorities displaced from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • As refugees from West Pakistan are deciding factor in the prestigious seat, Modi assured to grant citizenship rights to the displaced persons, a majority of whom belong to the the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and other backward classes (OBCs).
  • Victim of the 1947 holocaust, over 90 per cent of West Pakistan refugees are struggling to get constitutional and fundamental rights.




  1. Eytan Halon, “Israelis Eligible for U.S. Investor Visa From May Embassy Confirms”, The Jerusalem Post, April 13, 2019
  • Israelis wishing to invest significant funds or set up a business in the United States will be eligible to receive an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa from May 1, the US Embassy in Israel announced on Friday.
  • “The US Embassy in Israel is pleased to announce the implementation of the US E-2 Investor Visa for Israeli nationals, beginning May 1,” the embassy said in a statement. “The E-2 visa is a temporary (non-immigrant) visa that can be used to develop, direct, or provide specialized skills to an enterprise in which the owner has invested a substantial amount of capital.” A necessary condition of enabling the E-2 visa for all treaty countries is reciprocity, with US citizens already able to obtain a B-5 Israel Investor Visa.”
  • Once in effect, individuals or companies seeking E-2 visas for their employees will need to apply at the US Branch Office in Tel Aviv. The Branch Office already accepts E-2 visa applications for Israelis who hold dual citizenship with countries that maintain a treaty investor agreement with the United States.




  1. Pedro Goncalves, “Kuwait to give citizenship to 4,000 people”, International Investment, April 9, 2019
  • Kuwait's lawmakers have pushed for a proposal that calls on the government to grant Kuwaiti citizenship to up to 4,000 people during the current year. The draft law will now go to the interior and defense committee for approval, then it will be sent to the Assembly for voting. The bill gives the government flexibility on the number of people it wants to naturalize, as it does not oblige it to grant citizenship to the full number.
  • The Assembly has been passing similar laws every year for more than a decade as a means of assisting the government to resolve the decades-old problem of 120,000 stateless people known as bedoons, local media reports.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Saudi citizens can travel visa-free to Albania until October”, Arab News, April 11, 2019
  • Saudi citizens will now be able to travel to Albania without a visa until October 2019, a recent announcement by the country’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sami Shiba revealed.
  • From April 1 to Oct. 31 this year, Saudis — as well as citizens from Bahrain and Oman — will only need a passport to travel to the southern European country and are not required to apply for a visa.




  1. Hairianto Diman, “Iris and facial ID for immigration clearance goes on trial at Tuas Checkpoint”, The Straits Times, April 15, 2019
  • A trial is under way at Tuas Checkpoint to use iris and facial images of Singaporean travellers for immigration clearance at automated lanes.
  • With this new contactless immigration clearance system, travellers with faded fingerprints also do not need to worry about having difficulty clearing immigration.
  • The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is currently conducting a six-month trial, which began last Monday (April 8) and uses one of the automated arrival lanes in the immigration hall at the checkpoint.
  • Singaporeans who have previously enrolled their iris images with the ICA will be the first group to participate in this trial, said [Superintendent Derrick Soong, who is head of operations development in the ICA].


Sri Lanka


  1. Joseph Bindloss, “Sri Lanka rolls out free visas on arrival for more than 30 nationalities”, Lonely Planet, April 12, 2019
  • Bucking a general trend for soaring visa fees across South Asia, Sri Lanka is set to roll out free visas on arrival for citizens of more than 30 countries from 1 May 2019. The move will save the average tourist US$20-40 in visa fees, making it easier and cheaper than ever to visit this idyllic Indian Ocean island.
  • While visitors to neighbouring India currently pay between US$80 and US$100 for an electronic visa, from May, tourists from the UK, the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea will be able to obtain a free visa for Sri Lanka on arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport. The scheme will initially run for six months, but there are plans to make the scheme permanent if it is successful in boosting tourism to the island.




  1. Lee Hsin-fang, “Tourists from New Southbound Policy countries up 17.4%”, Taipei Times, April 9, 2019
  • The number of tourists from the 18 nations targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy in the first two months of this year increased 17.4 percent from a year earlier, with the number of Thai and Philippine visitors rising more than 30 percent, official data showed.
  • The policy aims to increase cultural and economic exchanges with the 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), as well as Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
  • Taiwan offers visa waiver programs to visitors from the target nations.


  1. Keoni Everington, “Filipinos appeal for extension of visa-free treatment in Taiwan”, Taiwan News, April 12, 2019
  • As visa-free treatment for Filipinos is set to expire in July, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines has been receiving hundreds of emails every month from Filipinos expressing their hope that the visa-free policy will be extended as soon as possible, reported CNA.
  • During a meeting of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce a few days ago, Taiwan Representative to the Philippines Michael Peiyung Hsu said that EVA Air, China Airlines, and Philippine Airlines expressed their hopes that the visa-free treatment for Filipinos would be extended.
  • According to the Ministry of Transport's Tourism Bureau, 70,803 Filipino tourists arrived in Taiwan between January and February this year, representing an increase of 31.37 percent over the same period last year.






  1. Re-entry visa system to be abolished next month”, Irish Legal News, April 12, 2019
  • Ireland’s re-entry visa system will be abolished with effect from next month, the Government announced today.
  • Under the system, visa-required nationals who live in Ireland and who wish to travel to and from the country have been obliged to apply for a re-entry visa in advance of travel. From 13 May 2019, such individuals will be exempt from the requirement to hold a visa if they have registered for an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card.
  • The abolition will not take effect until 13 May 2019 due to the need to notify airlines, ferry companies and immigration authorities in other countries.




  1. Russia backs visa-free travel with Arab countries, says Kremlin envoy”, TASS, April 8, 2019
  • Russia is interested in having the visa restrictions with Arab countries lifted and is doing everything possible to accelerate this process through negotiations, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday on the sidelines of the Russian-Arab Business Council’s expo dubbed Russia - Arab World: Time to Cooperate for our Future.
  • According to the diplomat, the talks on relaxing the visa regime are being conducted with all the Arab countries, these issues are regularly discussed at the highest political level.




  1. Ukrainians to visit Thailand visa-free from April 14, - Poroshenko”, 112 UA, April 14, 2019
  • Ukrainians can visit Thailand without visas from today. President Petro Poroshenko posted this on his Facebook. “Great country! Ukrainian citizens can travel to the Kingdom of Thailand for tourist purposes without a visa. One will need a foreign passport (biometric or non-biometric); the period of visa-free stay amounts up to 30 days. The amount of free-visa countries is increasing greatly!” Poroshenko wrote.
  • Besides, according to the press service of the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, regardless the purpose of the visit, one will need to get a visa in the respective diplomatic office or the consulate for staying in Thailand.




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