Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
- “Plans to enact uniform legislation for Citizenship by Investment Programme in OECS”, Dominica News Online, June 21, 2019
- OECS member states are working on implementing measures that they say will allow for a more unified Citizenship by Investment Program within the region.
- Already, they have commenced talks about having uniformed application forms and the setting up of an oversight committee that would audit all programs and according to prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica and the other OECS countries, have agreed to establish uniform legislation for that purpose.
- Skerrit said plans are also underway to provide Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) training for staff at the various CIP units.
Antigua & Barbuda
- Laura Dowrich-Phillips, “Antigua and Russia sign Visa Waiver Agreement”, Loop News Barbados, June 17, 2019
- Speaking on his radio show on Sunday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said he recently traveled to St Petersburg, Russia, and met with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and executed a visa waiver agreement. "Russians, as soon as we gazette this, could travel to Antigua and Barbuda and Antiguans and Barbudans could travel to Russia on a visa-free basis," he said.
- He made it clear though that the visa waiver does not interfere with his country’s relationship with the United States. “We not getting involved in any geopolitics with Russia and the United States. We have a policy we are friends of all, enemies of none. We know where our bread is buttered. Our trade is with the United States and we know we have to protect that relationship,” he said.
- Charmaine Donovan, “Why HNWIs are seeking second citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda”, European CEO, June 21, 2019
- The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua and Barbuda is a parliamentary democracy with a legal system based on English common law. As such, citizenship is particularly attractive to UK nationals and those currently residing in former British Overseas Territories. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda may also stay in the UK – as well as most European countries – without a visa for up to six months. Further, there are no restrictions on dual citizenship and no taxation on worldwide income.
- The turnaround on a CIP submission is just 90 days, during which time the applicant undergoes a thorough vetting and due diligence process that draws on the latest intelligence from international agencies. With more than 40 years of experience in the high-end tourism market, Antigua and Barbuda has continued to set the standard for second citizenship programmes around the world, acting as the blueprint for real estate offerings and escrow arrangements.
- “New Quebec law stresses migrants' skills, thousands must reapply”, Al-Jazeera, June 17, 2019
- Canada's Quebec provincial legislature has approved a controversial immigration bill that will replace a first come, first served standard for accepting migrants with one tied to an applicants' skills.
- The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labour market in Quebec, Canada's second most-populous province.
- Under the new law, about 18,000 applications now on file will be shredded, affecting as many as 50,000 people, many of whom already live in the province. The 18,000 existing applicants will have to restart the immigration process.
- The provincial government promised to expedite processing of their new applications, saying qualified workers would have answers within six months rather than the current 36 months.
- Brittany Bortolon, “Attracting Canadian newcomers with opportunity”, CTV News, June 18, 2019
- The federal government announced Friday that Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Timmins, and their surrounding areas are part of the new Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot Project. Starting in 2020, Ottawa will process immigration applications according to what these communities say their skills needs are.
- Nipissing Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota says for years he has heard from employers the need for more workers. “We're bringing immigrants in, people in, they're people, who are coming and they're coming in to do a job. We need them as much as they need us. It's working together and that's what Canada is about.” said Rota.
- Under the program, a maximum of 250 skilled workers a year would come to the region for three years, and it could be extended to five years.
- Christine Santos, “Canada’s new caregiver program to offer permanent residency to those qualified”, ABS-CBN News, June 20, 2019
- Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the Home Child Care Provider and Home Support Worker, which will open for applications on Tuesday, June 18, are new pilot caregiver programs that would replace existing pilots that are soon expiring. Each will have a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants per year, plus their immediate family.
- Under the new programs, caregivers will only receive a work permit if they have a job offer in Canada and meet standard criteria for economic immigration programs. Once they gain the required 2 years of Canadian work experience, they can apply for permanent residency.
- Other benefits under the new pilots are open work permits and study permits for the caregivers’ immediate family, the elimination of the Labor Market Impact Assessment, and the issuance of caregiver-specific work permits rather than employer-specific.
- “Jamaica and Ghana arrange reciprocal visa-free travel”, Loop News Barbados,
- Jamaica and the Republic of Ghana have agreed to reciprocal visa-free travel between both countries following a bilateral discussion between Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the Ghanaian President Nana Addo Danka Akufo-Addo last Saturday.
- “I am pleased to recall that Jamaica and Ghana have signed an air services agreement and we discussed today ideas of how to utilise that instrument to advance our goal of deeper engagement, as we endeavour to further deepen the relationship between peoples and nations, the President and I have mandated our Ministers of Foreign Affairs to negotiate and conclude” stated Holness.
- Alice Woodhouse, “Hong Kong sees surge in people looking to leave, agents report”, Financial Times, June 24, 2019
- Migration consultants have seen a sharp rise in interest from Hong Kong citizens following recent mass protests against a controversial proposal that would allow extradition to China.
- Canada, which is one of the most popular destination countries according to the migration consultants, approved 1,525 residency applications from Hong Kong in 2018, a 12 per cent increase over the previous year, when 1,360 residency applications were approved, according to government data. The number was unchanged from 2016 but represented a huge jump on the 895 approved in 2015.
- Taiwan has drawn increasing interest in recent years through its introduction of a more affordable investor visa. Official statistics show 231 people from Hong Kong secured permanent residency there through investment visas in 2018, up more than 20 per cent from a year earlier and a steep rise on the 28 people who secured permanent residency in 2015.
- Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, “Launch of Canada’s visa information campaign in India”, Government of Canada, June 17, 2019
- Canada has launched an information campaign in India to help temporary resident visa applicants save their time and money, avoid falling victim to fraud and common immigration scams, and inform them about the best channel to use when applying for a Canadian visa.
- Last year, Canada welcomed 297,000 visitors from India. As this number continues to grow, it is critical that applicants get the true facts on applying for a visa.
- Visit canada.ca/india-visa for more information on how to help a family member or friend in India apply for a visa, find an authorized immigration consultant, and protect yourself against fraud.
- “Taiwan welcomes inclusion in Russian e-visa, protests downgraded name”, Focus Taiwan, June 20, 2019
- Taiwan thanked Russia Thursday for its recent decision to include the country into its e-visa program to visit the free port of Vladivostok, but protested the downgraded name Russia uses to refer to Taiwan as "China (including Taiwan)."
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Andrew Lee said the Russian government informed Taiwan's representative office in Moscow June 19 of its decision to include Taiwan in the e-visa program. […] Russia, however, has not announced when Taiwan's inclusion will officially take effect.
- Russia's decision came after Taiwan granted visa-free entry for Russian nationals in September 2018 that allows them visa-free visits of up to 14 days.
- “Belarus offers Bosnia and Herzegovina to consider visa waiver agreement”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, June 20, 2019
- Belarus offered Bosnia and Herzegovina to sign an agreement on visa-free travel for holders of ordinary passports.
- “We should continue developing the legal framework for bilateral cooperation. One of Belarus' priorities is to sign an agreement on visa-free travel for holders of ordinary passports. The visa waiver already applies to holders of diplomatic and service passports,” [Belarus Prime Minister] Sergei Rumas said.
- “PROPERTY: Cyprus real estate sales reach nine-year high”, Financial Mirror, June 24, 2019
- A PwC survey on the Cyprus Real Estate Market “Year in Review 2018” showed that sale transactions surpassed those of 2017 by 6%. The total number of sale contracts filed at the Land Registry Department during 2018 reached a 9-year high of 9,242 compared to 8,734 in 2017.
- “Following a 2-year period of strong recovery, where total investment value in the real estate sector more than doubled, in 2018, transaction activity levels across the island demonstrated signs of stability,” Constantinos Savvides, director of PwC’s Real Estate Advisory department, told the Financial Mirror.
- Interest from foreigners, and predominantly from non-EU buyers, continued to be a driving force for the market. The high-end residential property segment continued to be momentous, primarily fuelled by the continuation of the government schemes encouraging investments in Cyprus.
- Aidan Lonergan, “More than half a million people have applied for Irish passports so far in 2019 as Brexit looms”, The Irish Post, June 19, 2019
- The demand for Irish passports ahead of Brexit is continuing to surge, with over 533,000 applications so far this year. Figures from the Irish Passport Service show an average of more than 100,000 applications are now being made each month, with March 2019 the highest on record.
- Although a number of factors are thought to be behind the upswell in demand – including an increase in the number of Irish people travelling and a tendency towards early renewal – officials believe Britain's impending departure from the EU on October 31 remains the key motivation for applicants.
- “Russia to Offer Electronic Visas by 2021, Putin Says”, The Moscow Times, June 19, 2019
- Putin has signed a presidential order instructing the prime minister, the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB) to implement the e-visas by Jan. 1, 2021. The e-visa offer will apply to single-entry visas for visits of up to 16 days in length, and can be used for any type of visa.
- Russia will approve the list of countries eligible for the offer. So far, China, South Korea, Japan, European countries and New Zealand are among the countries being considered, the Kommersant business daily reported on Monday.
- The e-visas are expected to cost around $50, Kommersant quoted Oleg Pak, the deputy head of the Communications and Press Ministry, as saying.
- “No more passport stamps for foreign nationals visiting Iran”, Tehran Times, June 24, 2019
- On Sunday, Rouhani ordered Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli to arrange to waive visa-stamping and not to mark passports of foreign nationals visiting the country, IRNA reported.
- The decision is deemed to facilitate travels to the country without fear of possible U.S. penalties as last year Washington announced those travelers who would visit certain countries including Iran would face restrictions to enter the U.S.
- Last November, the Islamic Republic started a pilot project in a select of its airports, issuing electronic visas -- without any entry or exit stamps -- for those traveling to the country, in a bid to facilitate tourist inflow and to cope with sanctions recently reimposed by the U.S.
- “Oman- Long-time residents hail citizenship move”, MENAFN, June 22, 2019
- Long-time residents of Oman have welcomed the move of the Ministry of Interior to invite applications for citizenship.
- At present, Oman's law requires all employers to end the contracts of foreign workers when they reach the age of 60. Now, the new decision allows expatriates who want to stay in Oman even after their retirement to apply for the citizenship as long as they meet the criteria.
- According to the Ministry of Interior, applicants will have to prove that they live and work in Oman, and that they have no legal case against them. They will also need to present a medical certificate to prove that they do not have communicable diseases, or risk not being able to gain a citizenship.
- The expats will have to undergo an Arabic language exam. The exam can be written, or it can be an interview in Arabic, at the ministry itself. Expats who fail the exam can repeat it once six months have passed. They will have four chances to clear the exam.
United Arab Emirates
- “Visa Waiver for Children Under 18 to Boost Tourism in UAE”, Albawaba, June 22, 2019
- According to a Cabinet decision passed in July 2018, tourists do not have to pay visa fee for their children while visiting the UAE between July 15 and September 15. The visa fee exemption is beneficial to children provided they are accompanied by their parents.
- Industry experts said there is a steady increase in Chinese and Indian travellers to the UAE.
- Lauding the visa fee waiver move, Anand Lakshmy, operations manager at International Travel Services (ITS), said the number of families visiting the UAE is expected to increase if the visa fee on children is waived. "The specified period generally see a dip in in-bound tourism, So, any measure by the government to encourage tourism during off-peak season is welcome.
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