HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 08.07.2019
- “South Africans Can Now Visit Nearly 100 Countries Visa-Free”, Cape Business News, July 3, 2019
- South Africans are now able to visit 99 countries without a visa due to changes made to the Hensley Passport Index rankings.
- Locals can now travel to Angola, Benin, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Cook Islands, Fiji, Barbados, Dominica, Costa Rica, Brazil, Iran, Armenia, and many more countries listed on the index without a visa.
- “Concourt Recognises Visa Rights of Foreign Spouses and Children in SA”, News 24, July 3, 2019
- The Constitutional Court has given the state 24 months to remedy immigration regulations that require foreign spouses or children of South African citizens to leave the country to renew their visas.
- In a majority judgment, the court found that the requirements were constitutionally invalid because it unjustifiably limited the rights of children and the right to dignity.
- The apex court granted an interim readingin of the regulations. Should the state fail to enact the appropriate legislation within two years, the interim reading-in would become final.
- Sarah Lagan, “Canadian Visa Biometrics Team for Bermuda”, The Royal Gazette, July 4, 2019
- People going to live, work or study in Canada will be able to have their biometric information collected in Bermuda for the first time, it was revealed today.
- The Ministry of National Security has launched a trial programme to allow residents to get their permits finalised in Bermuda rather than having to travel to the US for biometric information to be collected.
- Wayne Caines, the minister of national security, said: “Specific identity criteria is mandatory for some individuals going to Canada for a visitors’ visa, for a work or study permit or for a permanent residency in Canada.” He added that the Government would assess the success of the visit and that more biometrics sessions could be held in the future.
- Nora Walsh, “Brazil Eases Visa Requirements for U.S. Travelers”, The New York Times, July 4, 2019
- For some travelers, visiting Brazil was made a little easier in June, when a decree signed by President Jair Bolsonaro went into effect, eliminating visa requirements for citizens from the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia.
- Residents of those four countries can now enter Brazil with only a valid passport for stays up to 90 days. Trips can be extended another 90 days as long as the total visit doesn’t exceed 180 days within a year, with days counted from the first date of entry into Brazil.
- Stephen Smith et al., “More Than 92,000 Immigrants Admitted to Canada through Express Entry in 2018, Year-End Report Shows”, Philippine Canadian Inquirer, July 7, 2019
- Canada admitted more than 92,000 new permanent residents through its Express Entry system in 2018 — an increase of 41 per cent over the year before, a new federal government report shows.
- The findings are contained in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s 2018 year-end report for the Express Entry system, which was released July 2.
- The increase in admissions is in line with Canada’s rising admissions targets for the three Federal High Skilled economic-class immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class — as well as a portion of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
- Canada’s admissions target for the three programs managed by the Express Entry system rose in 2018 and is slated to continue to rise each year through 2021.
- “Jamaica, Ghana Enter into Visa Waiver Agreement”, Jamaicans, July 8, 2019
- Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that his government will enter into a visa waiver agreement with the Republic of Ghana in Africa.
- According to Holness, the Foreign Affairs Ministers of both Jamaica and Ghana have received mandates to conduct negotiations to complete the agreement. Prime Minister Holness issued a press statement on the matter at Jamaica House on June 15, 2019, together with Ghana’s President His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
- Prime Minister Holness described Ghana’s marketing campaign as being central to the discussion about visa waivers and noted that the program offered excellent opportunities for the countries to build upon their existing bonds and relations to create greater inter-personal links while deepening trade and commercial ties. Holness added that the visit of Ghana’s president to Jamaica reflected the strong bilateral relationship that exists between the nations and also reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to strengthening their ties into the future.
- President Akufo-Addo emphasized that it is time “to give teeth” to the long-time relationship that has existed between Ghana and Jamaica by ensuring areas like education, tourism, and cultural activities are “tied down.” He went on to say that visas should not stand in the way of these relations and that his government is committed to facilitating visa-free arrangements for Jamaicans in Ghana.
- Li Xia, “China to Further Ease Visa Policies in Hainan”, Xinhua Net, July 3, 2019
- In addition to the existing visafree policy covering tourists from 59 countries, greater efforts will be made to ease visa policies for foreigners travelling to and working in south China's island province of Hainan, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced Wednesday.
- The move is among a series of preferential policies and measures focusing on three industrial types - high technologies, tourism and modern services -- to be introduced for supporting the construction of the Hainan pilot free trade zone and a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, according to an MPS press conference.
- Among the measures is an expanded scope of visafree entry purposes, with foreigners to be allowed to enter Hainan visa-free for business, visit, relative visit, medical treatment, exhibition, sports and other purposes, said Qu Yunhai, deputy head of the National Immigration Administration, a government body administrated by the MPS.
- Qu said foreign technical and skilled personnel employed in Hainan might be granted work residence permits with a period of validity consistent with their work contracts.
- Yang Yi, “China's embassy in Egypt opens visa issuing center in Alexandria”, Xinhua Net, July 5, 2019
- China's embassy in Egypt on Thursday opened a Chinese visa application center in the coastal city of Alexandria due to the increasing number of applicants for visas to China.
- "In order to provide better and more convenient services to Egyptian citizens, the visa application service center in Alexandria has been established after another one has been operated in Cairo in December," said Zhao Liying, consul general of China in Alexandria.
- The Chinese diplomat said the choice of Alexandria was based on its importance as Egypt's largest port and the second largest city.
- Danny Mok, “Hong Kong and Italy Sign Agreement to Allow Young People Spend Time in Each Other’s Countries as Part of Working Holiday Scheme”, South China Morning Post, July 5, 2019
- Young people from Hong Kong and Italy will have a new option for their working holiday after both governments signed an agreement on Friday.
- The bilateral working holiday scheme agreement with Italy would allow young people aged between 18 and 30 to apply for a visa which would allow them to stay for up to 12 months.
- During their stay, they could work or study shortterm courses. The annual quota from each side for the scheme would be 500.
- The agreement was signed by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chikwong and Italy’s undersecretary of state in the foreign ministry Manlio Di Stefano at Hong Kong’s government headquarters in Admiralty.
- “Myanmar Counts on Tourism Surge After Eased Visa Restrictions Come In”, The Nation Thailand, July 3, 2019
- Myanmar expects to receive more visitors this year after eased visa restrictions for Western tourists take effect in October, a senior official said.
- "Our recent visa relaxation will take effect soon. Starting from October 1, visitors from Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland no longer need to apply for a visa in advance," he said.
- With the relaxation, Myanmar is allowing visafree travel for visitors from 12 countries and the issuance of visas-on-arrival for those from 55 countries and territories.
- “Taiwan Extends 14-Day Visa-Free Entry for Pinoys”, Manila Standard, July 3, 2019
- Taiwan has extended its 14day visa-free entry privilege for Filipinos until July 2020, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila announced Tuesday night.
- “The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) announced on July 2, 2019 that the visafree privilege for the nationals of the Philippines will continue for another year from Aug. 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020,” TECO said in a statement.
- “This privilege is a display of Taiwan’s amity with the Philippines as the country continues to boost the travel convenience for Filipinos to visit Taiwan for leisure, business, or other shortterm purposes,” it added.
- “The Wait is Over, Greece-Australia Work and Holiday Visa Agreement in Effect”, Neos Kosmos, July 6, 2019
- The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) welcomed the announcement of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Terens Quick and the Minister for Immigration of Australia David Coleman about the implementation of the bilateral agreement for the Working Holiday Visa between Australia and Greece.
- This visa allows young people to visit each country respectively with the right to work. The reciprocal agreement was implemented on 1 July, 2019.
- It has been a long journey; the arrangement has been in the works since May 2014, and was ratified by the Greek Parliament in December 2015 by law No 4353/2015 (National Gazette No 173, Issue A, 14-12-2015).
- The bilateral agreement will make it easier for 500 young Australians between 18 and 30 years to work and study in Greece and vice versa for 12 months.
- “Lithuania Eager to Relax Visa Regulations with Belarus”, Belsat, July 4, 2019
- According to the diplomat, Lithuania, as a member of the Schengen area, is very interested in the speedy signing of the visa facilitation agreement between Belarus and the European Union.
- “This is very important because it will simplify some procedures, and, most importantly, there will be a reduction in the cost of consular fees. It is also important because a new Visa Code has been prepared in the Schengen area itself. And we should bear in mind that after the new code comes into force, the cost of the consular fee will increase to €80 for all countries that will not have a visa facilitation agreement. I wouldn’t like to get into a situation when the new Visa Code comes into force, but there is no agreement with Belarus,” said Andrius Pulokas.
- Amendments to the EU Visa Code were adopted by the European Council on June 6. They will probably come into force in July. It will be put into practice six months after that.
- “Omani, American Business People Hail New Visa System”, Menafn, July 5, 2019
- After Oman and the US announced a new scheme which allows the citizens of both the countries to get ten-year multiple-entry visas replacing the earlier system where the visas were valid for only two years, Omanis and Americans alike have welcomed the decision saying it will further boost trade relations and open up more opportunities between the two countries.
- While Omanis have been getting ten-year visas since January this year, US citizens started getting the same from last week onwards.
- Talal al Subhi, executive director of Rohn Products International Arabia, said, 'The new system will obviously bring more businesses between both the countries. It is a good move because before we used to get visas every two years but now we will do so once in ten years.'
- Agewa Magut, “UK to Extend Kenyan Students' Visas for Field Experience”, Daily Nation, July 4, 2019
- The United Kingdom’s immigration laws will soon be changed to allow Kenyan students to enjoy more time for industrial attachments and internships after they complete their courses.
- In a statement on Thursday, outgoing British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said student visas will be extended to allow them time to gain more field experience abroad.
- “Dependent Visa Transfers Eased”, Kuwait Times, July 7, 2019
- Wellinformed security sources said the interior ministry’s residency affairs department has given the manpower authority the green light to immediately transfer expats’ dependent residencies to work visas without checking with it.
- The sources explained that the new decision will help accelerate procedures by allowing transfers from article 22 to article 18 for expats reaching the age of 21, which will save the time that used to be wasted to complete the procedure.
- “Saudi Simplifies Visa for Nigerian Pilgrims”, Pulse, July 4, 2019
- The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says the Saudi Arabian authorities has simplified visa processing for 2019 hajj season through its e-visa.
- The head of Public Affairs Division of NAHCON, Fatima Usara, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
- Usara said the introduction of the new system of processing and obtaining e-Visa does not require intending pilgrims to undergo any physical screening in Saudi embassies which was in contrast to the 2018 hajj.
United Arab Emirates
- “Free UAE Visas for Tourists Under the Age of 18 from July 15 to September 15”, Gulf News, July 3, 2019
- As of July 15, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will enforce a decision waiving the tourist visa fees of children under the age of 18 who are travelling to the UAE accompanied by their parents.
- This comes in line with a cabinet decision issued in July of last year, which stipulates this waiver for the Under18 category from July 15 to September 15 every year.
- The waiver is for children under the age of 18 on the condition that they are accompanied by one of their parents coming to the UAE on a tourist visa irrespective of the validity of the visa, be it a short or longterm visa.
- The authority called on tourists planning to visit the UAE this summer to benefit from this waiver, which saves money and encourages people to choose the UAE as a tourist destination.
- Ismall Sebugwaawa & Abu Dhabi, “Now, free SIM card for UAE visitors”, Khaleej Times, July 6, 2019
- All UAE tourists will now get free SIM cards as soon as they arrive in the country, authorities have announced.
- The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) on Friday said the free prepaid SIM cards loaded with a three-minute talk time, five SMS and 20MB mobile data - would be given to tourists upon their arrival at any of the UAE's entry points. Earlier in June, a similar initiative was rolled out in Dubai.
- The SIM cards will initially be valid for 30 days, and they will be automatically renewed if the tourist or visitor extends his or her visa.
- Col Khamees Al Kaabi, executive director for Musanada Services at the ICA, and Charbel Fawaz Litany, chairman and CEO of TeleKomNow, signed the agreement to introduce the initiative last week.
- Mosiqi Acharya, “Australian Citizenship Approvals See an 88 Per Cent Increase in a Year”, SBS, July 5, 2019
- Waiting time for Australian citizenship has dropped, queues have decreased and there has been a significant increase in citizenship approvals in last one year, according to the latest figures by the Department of Home Affairs.
- ‘Between 1 July 2018 and 31 May 2019, more than 132,000 citizenship by conferral applications have been approved, up from 70,000 in the same period last year. This represents an increase of 88 per cent,’ Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said.
- Minister Coleman attributed these outcomes to a range of reforms implemented by the Department of Home Affairs. These measures include the establishment of task forces within the Department of Home Affairs to focus on complex citizenship cases, system enhancements to automate processes and a $9 million investment in the recruitment and training of extra staff to ensure applications are dealt with as efficiently as possible.
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