HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 15.07.2019

Jul 15,2019




  1.  “Around 5,400 Visas Issued for Algerian Fans to Attend AFCON Matches: Ambassador”, ahramonline, July 10, 2019
  • Egyptian Ambassador to Algeria Ayman Mosharafa said that the Egyptian embassy in the country has issued 5,400 visas for Algerian fans to help them support their national football team in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), currently held in Egypt.
  • In statements to MENA on Tuesday, Mosharafa said the consular department at the embassy has been working in full swing since June to finalise issuing entry visas to Egypt, which he said have increased after the Algerian team qualified for the quarterfinals.
  • The ambassador added that charter flights will be operated as of Wednesday evening to transport Algerian fans to Egypt to attend the Desert Warriors’ clash against Ivory Coast in the AFCON’s quarterfinals on Thursday.



South Africa

  1.  “7 New Countries Can Now Visit South Africa Visa-Free”, BusinessTech, July 10, 2019
  • The Department of Home Affairs says the country’s new eVisa system will launch in November 2019, and it has added new nations to the list of countries that can enter South Africa visafree.
  • Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, announced that seven new countries will be added to the list of nations that are able to come to South Africa without a visa.
  • The department announced that the following countries will now be able to enter the country, visafree: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe.




United States

  1.  “House Passes Per-country Cap Elimination Bill that Affects Employment-based Visa Programs such as EB-5”, National Law Review, July 12, 2019
  • Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1044, the Fairness for HighSkilled Immigrants Act of 2019, that eliminates per-country quotas for all employment-based immigrant visa petitions by a wide, bipartisan vote of 365-65.
  • This bill increases the percountry cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China.
  • The bill also establishes transition rules for employmentbased visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.





  1. Russia Calls on India to Waive Visas for Tourist Groups”, Tass, July 10, 2019
  • Russia has called on India to waive visas for tourist groups, head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) Zarina Doguzova told reporters on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Second RussianIndian Strategic Economic Dialogue taking place in the Indian capital of New Delhi.
  • "There is an initiative that we are going to put forward on this occasion, which concerns an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and India waiving visas for tourist groups," she said.
  • "Evisas are an option mostly used by individual travelers, young people in particular. At the same time, visa free travel for groups has bright prospects: it may interest older tourists who usually use the services of tour operators. There are a lot of such people out there," Doguzova added.
  • She pointed out that waiving visas was crucial for stepping up tourism ties between the two countries.


  1. Vinod Nedumudy, “Kochi: Visa-At-Doorstep Gaining Traction”, Deccan Chronicle, July 12, 2019
  • The visaat-doorstep facility launched in 2016 is catching up in Kerala with many people availing of the service for securing visas to nearly 20 countries. The facility brings the officials of the visa processing agency deputed by these countries to one’s home or office or the address provided by the visa seeker to process and issue visas.
  • The applicants need not travel to metros or other cities for the purpose. Kochi witnessed a growth of 33 percent in the number of doorstep visa applications while the overall growth across India was 144 percent in 2018 from 2017.
  • The year 2018 not only saw an increase in the number of applicants from cities like Chennai and Kochi, but also first time demand for doorstep visa services from Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Al-lahabad, Amravati, Erode, Surat, Nagercoil, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Tirupur, Muz-zafarpur, Indore, Guwhati, Jodhpur and Chattarpur. The highest number of applications processed was in Nagpur followed by Indore.


  1. Priyanka Kakodkar,  “E-Visas Granted By India On The Rise”, The Times of India, July 11, 2019
  • The number of evisas granted by India has gone up with 24.7 lakh granted in 2018 according to minister of state for home affaits, Nityanand Rai.
  • Evisa services are rendered completely online. ETA (electronic travel authorization) under the scheme is being delivered in a time bound manner. In nearly 90% of the cases, e-visas are processed within 24 hours of the submission of application. A fully equipped 24x7 manned e-visa support centre is operational to answer application related queries.



  1.  “Laos Launches E-Visas to Bolster Tourist Numbers”, The Phnom Penh Post, July 12, 2019
  • Laos is falling in line with other countries by allowing tourists to apply for a visa online, aiming to bolster the number of foreign visitors.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith and representatives of other sectors involved on Tuesday pressed buttons to initiate the evisa service at a special ceremony held at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.
  • Speaking at the launch of the evisa initiative, Mr Saleumxay said the issuing of visas electronically was designed to make it easier for foreign tourists to enter Laos.
  • Through this evisa system travellers can upload their application form and pay the visa fee online at Once they have completed their application, they will receive a visa approval letter from Lao authorities by email. They can then show this to immigration officials upon entry at designated border crossings.



  1. Tourism Ministry Remains Positive As Visa Restrictions Eased”, Eleven Myanmar, July 10, 2019
  • With the easing of some visa restrictions to take effect on October 2019, Myanmar expects to receive more visitors this year, a senior official said.
  • Aung Aye Han, deputy director general at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, said the authorities see a bright outlook for Myanmar's tourism industry thanks to the efforts of key stakeholders.
  • "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.



  1.  “Immigration Requires Foreigners To Present TIN Before Getting Work Visas”, CNN Philippines, July 11, 2019
  • All foreigners planning to work in the Philippines must sign up as a taxpayer with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) before applying for a work visa.
  • In a statement, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that they are making it a requirement for all foreign workers to present have their Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the BIR before they can secure a work visa.
  • The requirement comes as the Duterte government tightens its watch on foreign workers, with the Department of Finance saying foregone taxes amount to billions of pesos yearly.


  1. Evelyn Macairan, “Foreigners Can Apply For Work Visas Before Entering Philippines”,  The Philippine Star, July 13, 2019
  • Foreigners intending to work in the country could already apply for working visas even before they come to the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said yesterday.
  • BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that with the issuance of a joint memorandum circular on the Rules and Procedures Governing Foreign Nationals Intending to Work in the Philippines, aliens would now have the option to apply for their work visas abroad even before they arrive in the country.
  • “In the past, foreign nationals may secure work visas by applying for the conversion of their visa from tourist to working,” said Morente. 
  • “Following this circular, the interagency team will soon craft the implementing rules and regulations that would allow foreigners the option to apply first for a working visa before flying in,” he added.


Sri Lanka

  1.  “Sri Lanka To Revive Visa On Arrival For 39 Countries Except India, China”, India Today, July 10, 2019
  • The Sri Lankan government plans to revive the visa on arrival and free visa programme, which was suspended following the Easter Sunday blasts, for citizens of 39 countries, excluding India and China, from August 1, according to a media report.
  • The visa on arrival pilot programme was part of a larger initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the country during the sixmonths off-season period from May to October.
  • Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga on Tuesday said that his ministry along with the Department of Immigration and Emigration are jointly working on a proposal to seek Cabinet approval to revive the free visa and visa on arrival programme, the Daily Mirror reported.


  1. Immigration Dept. Revises Student And Resident Visa Guidelines”, Times Online, July 10, 2019
  • Student and resident visa guidelines have been revised from this month, Immigration Controller General Pasan Rathnayake told Times Online.
  • Accordingly, student visas will be issued only for one year thereby amending the previous policy which allowed visas to be issued for the full duration of the study programme.
  • Further, individuals who maintain cash deposits to obtain resident visas must invest those funds within onemonth of obtaining the visa, Mr. Rathnayake said. He warned that the visas of those who do not adhere to this regulation would be cancelled.
  • Persons who maintain deposits of USD 500,000 would be offered a 10year resident visa while those having a deposit of USD 300,000 will be given a five-year resident visa.





  1. Rapota: Belarus-Russia Visa Recognition Agreement Ready, Awaits Political Decision”, Belarus News, July 10, 2019
  • The agreement on mutual recognition of visas is technically ready, awaits a political decision, State Secretary of the BelarusRussia Union State Grigory Rapota said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel on 9 July, BelTA has learned.
  • “The document has been drawn up. It just needs signatures,” Grigory Rapota said. According to him, Russia has already expressed its readiness to sign the agreement.
  • “As far as I know, the document is in the process of final coordination in Belarus. Technically we did everything. We are waiting for a political decision,” he noted.
  • The agreement provides for the full mutual recognition of visas (temporary residence permits and residence permits) and allows opening the joint border to foreigners, removing barriers to transit to Russia via Belarus. However, Russia will retain border control on its territory near the border. This principled position of Russia is reflected in the agreement, according to which the parties have the right to take measures to verify the compliance by foreign citizens and persons without citizenship with the rules for entry, exit, transit or stay in their territories according to the laws of their states.



  1. Golden Visa Investment Falls 23%”, The Portugal News, July 12, 2019
  • Investment in socalled “golden” visas, the process whereby non-EU citizens can “buy” residence visas in Portugal, fell 23 percent in the first half of the year.
  • While the programme appears to be attracting fewer investors, figures for the month of June (total €73 million) represent an increase of 38 percent compared to the same period last year.
  • Of this €73 million, almost €64 million came from property purchases (representing 108 visas granted) and €9 million came from capital transfers (nine visas granted). One visa was granted in June for setting up a business to create a minimum of 10 jobs.



  1. Visa Application Centre for Visas to Ukraine Opens in Qatar”, Menafn, July 10, 2019
  • Citizens and expatriate residents of Qatar can apply for visas to Ukraine at a new visa application centre jointly launched by the embassy of Ukraine in Qatar and VFS Global, a leading outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide.
  • With the launch of the centre, applicants no longer need to visit the embassy except for any additional interview based on a request from the consul in each personal case - in Qatar and instead need to submit their visa applications at the VFS Global centre in Doha, a press statement notes.
  • The visa application centre provides outbound travellers from Qatar with "a convenient visa application platform, ensuring enhanced quality of services and seamless procedures". It will provide applicants with pre and post-decision-making services but the decisions on visa issues will continue to be carried out only by the Ukrainian diplomatic mission.





  1. ASAN Discloses Number of Issued Visas”, Menafn, July 12, 2019
  • Foreigners are able to obtain evisa in three steps within Azerbaijan's ASAN Visa system (apply, pay and download e-visa).
  • Evisa is a one-entry document with a period of 30 days. E-visas are documented to foreigners from 95 countries.
  • Via ASAN Visa selfservice terminals operating in seven languages ​​at the airports, as well as with the help of the service staff, citizens of the UAE, South Korea, China, Iran, Israel, Indonesia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bahrain, Turkey and Japan can obtain electronic visas.
  • ASAN Visa system also applies group visas for foreigners. Evisas can be created for an individual, for a family (minimum of 2 and maximum of 10 persons) or for a group (minimum of 10 and maximum of 300 persons).



  1.  “Bahraini Nationals May Soon Travel to EU Countries Without Schengen Visa”, Albawaba, July 10, 2019
  • Bahraini citizens may soon receive visa waiver for travelling to European countries amidst the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stepping up the campaign. Following a proposal by the House, the ministry has been putting in full efforts to secure a visa waiver for its citizens from the part of European Union. It is learnt that the ministry would be successful in securing onarrival visas for Bahrainis when they land in the EU or to have the citizens exempted from pre-entry visas to European countries.
  • Recently, the Foreign Minister also confirmed that it has been trying to obtain visa waiver from the European Union. The proposal aimed to add to the convenience of Bahraini travellers by saving time.
  • The announcement was made by the Albanian Foreign Ministry. In a statement, the ministry elaborated that the change will only be applied for a few months. The ministry stated that this is a decision taken by the Albanian Council of Ministers on February 27. This allows the citizens of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Qatar, Oman, Thailand and Bahrain to enter Albania by using only their passports.




  1.  “Iran Grants Additional Visas to Iraqis to Boost Its Economy”, Al-Monitor, July 10, 2019
  • Tehran is seeking to boost its income and hard currency by hosting the largest possible number of Iraqi tourists it can.
  • Iran’s economic charge d'affaires in Najaf, Arif Abbasi, said June 22, “The number of Iranian visas issued from Najaf will increase to 5,000 visas daily.”
  • Until May, 2,500 entry visas were issued daily by the Consulate General of Iran in Najaf, which began issuing 5,000 a day in July. Abbasi said he believes this increase in the number of visas issued is due to “Iraqis preferring to arrive in Iran for tourism, shopping and treatment as a result of the prevailing security there.”


  1. Iran to Implement Visa-Free Regime For Chinese Tourists From July 16”, MEHR, July 9, 2019
  • In late June, the Cabinet approved no visa policy for Chinese tourists visiting Iran. The decision is made to attract more foreign tourists to the country; however, it is a unilateral measure i.e. Iranian tourists visiting China still need visas.
  • According to ISNA, the new decision will be implemented from July 16 and Chinese tourists can have a 15day stay in Iran without obtaining visas.
  • Iran is seeking to boost its tourism industry; last month, an order was issued by the President Rouhani according to which Iran will not put stamps on the passports of the visiting foreigners.


United Arab Emirate

  1. Sam Bridge, “Dubai Property Investors Win Five-Year Visas After $54m Commitment”, Arabian Business July 12, 2019
  • Dubai Land Department (DLD), in coordination and cooperation with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), has granted fiveyear renewable visas to 20 foreign investors from across the world.
  • The investors, from Tunisia, the US, Commonwealth of Dominica, India, Iraq, China, Libya, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, are responsible for direct real estate investments in Dubai exceeding AED200 million ($54.4 million).
  • This visa also benefits their family members including wives and children, DLD said in a statement, adding that the conditions for obtaining the golden visa without a sponsor includes investing in one or more existing properties that satisfy the total value condition, regardless of whether the property is owned by an individual or a group of investors.


  1. Sam Bridge, “UAE's Gold Card Visa Improving Investment Sentiment - Survey”, Arabian Business July 11, 2019
  • A survey of UAE investors and residents show that the recently implemented Gold Card permanent residency scheme has created a positive sentiment.
  • The poll of over 1,000 respondents indicated that existing investors have more appetite to increase their portfolio, while wouldbe investors are now more open to start investing.
  • Seventynine percent of UAE investors say that with the launch of the permanent residency scheme, they will consider expanding their investments in the country, according to a survey conducted by Lootah Real Estate Development, the real estate development arm of Lootah Holding.
  • Sixtyeight percent of the UAE expat investors said they plan to grow their investment portfolio by investing in property, more specifically in properties located in Dubai.




New Zealand

  1. Greg Ninness, “NZ is Gaining Just Over 50,000 People A Year From Migration, Down 20% Compared to Three Years Ago”,, July 15, 2019
  • Population growth from migration seems to have settled at around 50,000 a year.
  • The latest figures from Statistics NZ show an estimated net gain (the excess of long term arrivals over long term departures) of 50,541 in the 12 months to the end of May, up by 1.2% compared to the the net gain of 49,903 in the 12 months to May last year.
  • However that was down 20% from the peak of 63,145 in the year to May 2016.
  • The biggest source country for new arrivals in the 12 months to May was China, with 17,426 from that country and another 1037 from Hong Kong, followed by India 13,106, Australia 8680, South Africa 8451, Philippines 8128 and UK 7118.



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