HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 14.05.2019

May 14,2019





  1. Arlana Shikongo, “Ministry faces shortage of passport books”, The Namibian, May 10, 2019
  • The ministry of home affairs announced last week that it is experiencing a low stock of passport books, and appealed to citizens to acquire passports only when absolutely necessary. The public notice issued on 5 May by home affairs executive director Etienne Maritz explained that as part of the ministry's risk management strategy, passports will be rationed according to crucial travel needs.
  • Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi said although the ministry is not in a crisis situation, citizens are advised to only apply for a passport when it is needed. “We have a large number of passports that come back for renewal or replacement, but have never [been stamped] out of the country,” the minister stated.


South Africa


  1. Edgar Batte, “Africa: We're Going to Fix Visa Issue, Says South Africa”, The Monitor, May 6, 2019
  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government was working towards reducing the enormous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists, who want to visit his country, face.
  • "If a tourist is held back by a lot of red tape, they immediately give up and go to another destination. This clearly requires that we should streamline our tourist visa regimes and as South Africa we are committed to working towards the African Union's goal of a visa free travel dispensation and a single African air transport market," Mr Ramaphosa said. He added that his country was in the process of overhauling the visa dispensation and introducing world class e-visa system.




  1. Zambia & Turkey Waives VISA Requirements for Diplomatic Passport Holders”, Lusaka Times, May 8, 2019
  • Zambia and Turkey have waived visa requirements for diplomatic passport holders with effect from May 2, 2019.
  • Zambia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Joseph Chilengi said the visa-free regime for diplomatic passport holders between Zambia and Turkey, which entered into force on May 2, 2019, marks yet another milestone in the existing warm relations between the two countries.


  1. Chris Phiri, “US Visa Waiver Announcement False – American Embassy”, Zambia Reports, May 9, 2019
  • The U.S. Embassy in Zambia is aware of false news reports stating that Zambian nationals can now travel to the United States without a visa. At this time, Zambia is not part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which administers the VWP in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, has not announced any new VWP entrants.






  1. Peter Zimonjic, “Immigration minister details plans to go after unethical immigration consultants”, CBC, May 6, 2019
  • The changes involve the creation of a new College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. The legislation setting out the changes will either allow the ICCRC to evolve into the new college or lead to it being scrapped and replaced by the new college.
  • The college also will have the ability to send cease and desist orders to consultants who do not meet its standards, and to obtain court injunctions to stop the actions of unauthorized consultants.
  • The college also will set education and training requirements for the profession and develop a tiered qualification regime that will license consultants for different types of services.
  • The government will be responsible for enforcing the law. That means providing more resources to the Canada Border Services Agency to pursue criminal investigations and increasing criminal penalties. The federal department also will establish a new administrative regime to penalize non-compliance that doesn't quite break the law — by introducing monetary penalties and bans that will be administered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.


  1. Atlantic Immigration Pilot to allow spouses of servers, drivers to apply for open work permit”, CBC, May 10, 2019
  • The Atlantic Immigration Pilot will now allow spouses of intermediate-skill level workers, including servers and truck drivers, to be able to apply for an open work permit. An open work permit is not specific to a certain job.
  • Originally, only spouses of workers classified as highly-skilled, such as managers, medical doctors and architects, were able to apply for work permits, said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.
  • The pilot was originally scheduled to wrap last March but has been extended until the end of 2021, Casey said. The number of places available within the program has also been increased.


United States


  1. Steve Holland & Richard Cowan, “Trump briefs Republican senators on emerging U.S. immigration plan”, Reuters, May 8, 2019
  • President Donald Trump and aides on Tuesday briefed a group of Republican senators on a merit-based immigration plan that would let more highly-skilled workers into the United States and fewer low-skilled workers, a senior administration official said.
  • The overall effect of the plan, the official told a group of reporters, would be to leave the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States at about the same. “We want to encourage immigration. But it’s got to be through the legal system,” the official said.






  1. Guangdong ready for visa-free visits”, The Jakarta Post, May 7, 2019
  • Guangdong province in South China will allow overseas travelers from 53 nations and regions to enjoy a 144-hour visa-free visit starting in May, with an aim to further promote the province’s tourism industry.
  • Lin Weixiong, deputy director general of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, said foreign passengers can visit all of Guangdong’s 21 prefecture-level cities when they have entered the province.
  • “In addition to the international airports, foreigners can enter and leave Guangdong through the four railways, the eight land and 15 water ports in the province,” Lin said at a news conference in the Guangdong provincial capital of Guangzhou on April 30.


Hong Kong


  1. Applications for next-generation e-Passport to begin on May 14”, EJ Insight, May 10, 2019
  • Hong Kong citizens and qualified applicants will be able to apply for the next-generation HKSAR electronic passport (e-Passport) and the electronic document of identity for visa purposes (e-Doc/I) from next Tuesday onward, with the processing time to be significantly shortened.
  • To provide applicants with more convenient services, the department has updated related software, shortening the processing time by five working days from 10 at present, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. The processing days will also be reduced to 10 from 14 if the applicant is under the age of 11 and without a Hong Kong identity card.
  • A total of 28 brand new self-service kiosks made for application purposes will be gradually introduced by the department from May 14 to its headquarters in Wan Chai as well as at its six branch offices to replace the existing ones, which will be fully retired on Saturday after they have been put into service for 10 years.




  1. Golnar Motevalli, “Iran Parliament Upholds Women's Rights in 'Mixed Marriage' Citizenship Debate”, TIME, May 12, 2019
  • Iran’s parliament struck a blow for women’s rights by overwhelmingly voting to confer citizenship on children born to an Iranian mother and foreign father. Currently, children of “mixed marriages” are only eligible for citizenship if their Iranian parent is a man.
  • If the decision is approved by the Guardian Council, a powerful body of senior clerics and judges, then the offspring of mixed marriages would be eligible for citizenship, regardless of whether their mother or father is the Iranian national. The parliamentary vote was reported Sunday by state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.
  • Such a law would represent a significant development for women’s rights in Iran, with possible implications for the wider region, where many countries don’t give women the right to pass on citizenship to their children if the father is a foreign national. It would also give tens of thousands of children access to social and health care services.




  1. Thailand extends free visa-on-arrival until 31 October 2019”, Thailand Business News, May 8, 2019
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that the Royal Thai Government has approved the extension of the visa-on-arrival fee waiver for citizens of 20 countries for another six months, until 31 October.
  • The decision was announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on 30 April, reasoning it as a measure to stimulate and promote tourism as well as to enhance the kingdom’s attractiveness among foreign visitors.


  1. Dusida Worrachaddejchai, “Visa fee exemption boosts Indian arrivals”, Bangkok Post, May 14, 2019
  • […] The 2,000-baht fee exemption that runs from Nov 15, 2018 to Oct 31 this year has given a big boost to India, one of the 21 nations eligible for the exemption. Arrivals from China in the first quarter this year dropped slightly by 2.1% year-on-year to 3.1 million visitors, compared with a 25% growth in Indian arrivals to 450,000.
  • Chinnarat Chinburi, a committee member of [the Association of Thai Travel Agents], said the India market has been growing steadily over the past decade, by 5-10% a year thanks to its huge population of some 1.3 billion.




  1. Visa liberalization is Turkey’s top priority: EU Reform Action Group”, Hurriyet Daily News, May 10, 2019
  • Turkey’s top priority in its agenda with the European Union is visa liberalization, which will allow Turkish citizens visa-free travel in the Schengen area, said a joint declaration of the sixth meeting of the Reform Action Group.
  • “In this framework, it has been agreed to accelerate the process of fulfilling remaining benchmarks in this meeting. We have clarified the steps to be taken in the forthcoming period to finalize the Visa Liberalization Dialogue, which will benefit our citizens in many areas, including economy,” said the declaration.
  • The Reform Action Group convened for the first time under the leadership of Erdoğan on Europe Day, May 9, to discuss the government’s political, economic and legal reforms for the stalled EU accession process.


  1. Afghan refugee entrepreneurs thrive in business-friendly Turkey”, Daily Sabah, May 13, 2019
  • Afghan refugee entrepreneurs appear to be increasingly finding success in Turkey, where they bring to the local economy not only their savings, but sought-after know-how, whether in restaurants, commerce or skilled crafts and specialties. In turn, Turkey offers refugees simplified administrative procedures for setting up a new business.
  • To attract more investments, the government in September slashed the threshold for Turkish citizenship offered to foreigners who buy property from $1 million down to $250,000.
  • Boosted by private sector campaigns and legal amendments, the Turkish property market has enjoyed the best first quarter performance in sales to foreigners this year. A total of 9,618 houses were sold to foreigners in the first quarter of the year, the best first quarter figure in history, according to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).






  1. Armenia approves visa waiver with Chile for diplomatic, official passport holders”, ArmenPress, May 10, 2019
  • The Cabinet approved the agreement on abolishing visa requirements between Armenia and Chile for diplomatic and official passport holders.
  • According to FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, the agreement’s purpose is to boost the development of political dialogue, and development in other sectors between the two countries.




  1. George Psyillides, “European Commission sees economic growth staying strong”, Cyprus Mail, May 7, 2019
  • According to the forecast for the Cypriot economy, GDP will continue to grow at 3.9 per cent in 2018, 3.1 per cent in 2019, and 2.7 per cent in 2020. Unemployment will drop from 8.4 per cent last year to 6.7 per cent in 2019 and 5.9 per cent in 2020.
  • Investment is forecast to be robust, growing more strongly than the overall economic activity. An important part of investment comes from ongoing tourism-related projects. Other investment projects relate to residential construction, with half of all transactions in the sector driven by foreign demand, which in turn is supported by the Citizenship by Investment programme.


  1. Two-month extension to certain Cyprus citizenship applicants”, In Cyprus, May 8, 2019
  • Although the Mediterranean island’s new criteria for the citizenship-by-investment scheme start applying on May 15, the Council of Ministers has given the green light for a two-month extension to be granted to certain applicants.
  • Specifically, to those who already possess a bill of sale for a property but have not managed to file all the required paperwork by that deadline, informed sources told INSIDER.
  • In these cases, if an applicant submits the bill of sale prior to May 15, but not the other documentation, his or her application for naturalisation could be assessed based on the existing, looser criteria.




  1. Alice Tidey, “Lithuanians back dual citizenship with 43 countries but not Russia”, Euro News, May 13, 2019
  • Lithuanians overwhelmingly backed amending the constitution to allow for dual citizenship with certain countries during a referendum on Sunday. The motion was approved with about 71.9% of votes and opposed by just over 26%, preliminary results showed. Turnout was more than 52.6%.
  • If passed into law, it would amend Article 12 of the country's constitution so that Lithuanians can acquire a second citizenship without losing their birth nationality.
  • Currently, dual citizenship is only granted on a case-by-case basis and is very difficult to get but could now be allowed, although only with 43 countries which meet "the criteria of European and transatlantic integration".
  • It, however, excludes Russia despite Russian being spoken by more than 8% of the Lithuanian population.




  1. Ukraine's Embassy in Britain condemns opening of 'passport office' in Luhansk”, Ukrinform, May 7, 2019
  • "We condemn the decision to open an illegal 'passport office' receiving applications to obtain Russian passports in Luhansk, a Ukrainian city in occupied Donbas. We expect our international partners to further strengthen sanctions against the Kremlin regime," the statement said.
  • Russian media reported earlier that an office receiving documents to obtain Russian passports opened in the occupied city of Luhansk on May 6.


United Kingdom


  1. Ben Quinn & Niamh McIntyre, “Nearly 900 stateless children forced to pay UK citizenship fees”, The Guardian, May 6, 2019
  • Nearly 900 children classified as stateless were obliged to pay Home Office immigration fees last year as part of their applications to become British citizens, figures show. They also reveal that nearly half (46%) of the 39,000 citizenship applications made for children came from those whose parents are from Commonwealth backgrounds.
  • An official watchdog has recommended that the Home Office, which is making a profit of £2m a month from charging children for citizenship, should consider scrapping immigration fees for children from poorer families.
  • It shows that in the 12 months to September 2018 the Home Office received almost 40,000 British citizenship applications for children. Children of Indian origin accounted for nearly 5,000 applications, the largest group proportionally. Nigeria and Pakistan were the second and third largest nationalities.




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