HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 20.08.2019

Aug 20,2019



South Africa

  1. Kgomotso Modise, “Motsoaledi: Lifting Visas Aimed At Boosting Tourism”, EyeWitness News, August 16, 2019
  • The department announced that it has relaxed visa laws for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the move to lift visas for more countries was aimed at boosting the country’s tourism in line with creating jobs.
  • The department announced on Thursday that it has relaxed visa laws for Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.
  • Lifting visa regulations is one of the plans in President Cyril Ramaphosa's stimulus package.
  • Of the four countries, Qatar is the only one that also allows South Africans into the country without a visa.


  1. Ghanaians With Ordinary Passports Need Visas To Enter South Africa – Ayorkor Botchway”, Ghana Web, August 7, 2019
  • The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has revealed that Ghanaians with ordinary passports are required to get visas in order to enter South Africa contrary to claims that it was no longer required.
  • According to her, those with ordinary passports can only have free access once both countries reach an agreement and before that is achieved, parliament will have to give its approval.






  1. Canadian Officials To Conduct Biometric Processing For Visas In The Federation This Month”, St Kitts & Nevis Observer, August 12, 2019
  • Canadian officials will be in the Federation during the week of the of Aug. 26 to carry out biometric processing for persons wishing to obtain visas to travel to Canada, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.
  • “I am pleased that through our diligent efforts, St. Kitts and Nevis has made significant progress on the diplomatic front. Canada has agreed to send a team here to collect biometrics for all wishing to get visas to travel to Canada rather than requiring persons to travel to Barbados or Trinidad,” Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Mark Brantley, said. “I place on record my congratulations to High Commissioner Sherry Tross and her team for their work on this.”
  • Nationals and residents are reminded that nationals from countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean, must provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) when applying for a Canadian visitor visa, study, work or temporary residence permit or for permanent residence, the ministry said.


  1. Canada Reinstate Some Visa Services At The Embassy In Cuba”, Caribbean News Now, August 5, 2019
  • Canada restored some visa services at its Embassy in Havan from August 1, 2019, including visa and biometric services, fingerprints and photos needed for applications done at the embassy, as well as drop off and pick up passports/visas.
  • This new announcement does not restore the full list of restricted services, but Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says it will make the process faster, easier and less expensive for applicants.


United States


  1.  Michael D Shear & Eileen Sullivan, “Trump Policy Favors Wealthier Immigrants for Green Cards”, The New York Times, August 12, 2019
  • President Trump on Monday broadened his assault on the nation’s immigration system, issuing a new rule targeting legal immigrants who want to remain in the United States but whose lack of financial resources is judged likely to make them a burden on taxpayers.
  • The new regulation is aimed at hundreds of thousands of immigrants who enter the country legally every year and then apply to become permanent residents. Starting in October, the government’s decision will be based on an aggressive wealth test to determine whether those immigrants have the means to support themselves.
  • Officials said the program would not apply to people who already have green cards, to certain members of the military, to refugees and asylumseekers, or to pregnant women and children. But immigration advocates warned that vast numbers of immigrants, including those not actually subject to the regulation, may drop out of programs they need because they fear retribution by immigration authorities.


  1. Christia Marie Ramos, “US Visa Application ‘Easy’; Issuance Rate ‘High’ In PH – Embassy”, Inquirer.Net, August 16, 2019
  • The Consular officials at the US Embassy in Manila dismissed the perception that securing a visa is difficult, noting that the process is “easy and transparent” as seen in the “high” approval rate in the Philippines.
  • Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the embassy’s deputy consul general Kimberly Kelly said the number of visas denied in the Philippines is “much lower” than that of the issuance rate.
  • “It’s actually not difficult to apply for a US visa. We saw more than 250,000 applicants last year applying for US visas and our approval rate is quite high. Filipino applicants are actually very good visa applicants,” Kelly pointed out.
  • Figures from the embassy showed that in 2018, its consular section has issued 204,137 nonimmigrant visas, 32,123 immigrant visas, 5,919 fiancé visas, and 929 student visas.


  1. US Ends Visa-Free Entry For Visitors Who Have Been To North Korea”, Aljazeera, August 6, 2019
  • The United States has revoked visafree entry rights for foreigners who have visited North Korea in the past eight years, potentially hampering the latter's tourism industry.
  • The US allows citizens of 38 countries including South Korea, Japan and France - to enter for up to 90 days without a visa under a waiver programme.
  • But visitors who have travelled to eight countries, including North Korea, since March 1, 2011, are "no longer eligible", as details posted on the US Customs and Border Protection website showed on Monday.






  1. China Grants Visas To Indian Kailash Mansarovar Yatris”, The Dispatch, August 8, 2019
  • China has granted travel visas to Indian pilgrims undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, the country’s Embassy in New Delhi said on Wednesday.
  • “Travel visa for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra has been granted to Indian Yatris as usual. There has not been any problem with it,” a statement by the Embassy read, in contrast with reports stating otherwise. Thousands of devotees participated in the Yatra through a treacherous route that crosses territorial boundaries of India, Nepal and China. According to the schedule this year, 18 batches will trek across the Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand while 10 other batches will go via the Nathula route to Sikkim. Each batch will comprise of not more than 50 people.




  1. Sajila Saseendran, “India Announces 5-Year Visas For Emiratis”, Gulf News, August 15, 2019
  • The India has started issuing fiveyear multiple entry business and tourist visas for UAE citizens, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri announced on Thursday.
  • Speaking at the 73rd Indian Independence Day celebrations held at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Suri said the embassy has also started implementing a new biometric system for facilitating the fiveyear multiple entry visa applications.
  • “The new biometric system for visa applicants and the introduction of five years’ multiple entry tourist and business visas for the UAE citizens are aimed at further strengthening trade and investment and peopleto-people links between the two countries,” he said during his speech after hoisting the Indian national flag at the mission.
  • Speaking to Gulf News later, the ambassador further said that the infrastructure to issue fiveyear multiple-entry business and tourist visas for Emiratis had been recently installed at all centres of the service provider in the UAE [BLS International].




  1. Nur Yasmin, “Indonesia Will Make It Easier for Foreign Investors, Workers to Obtain Visas, Residence Permits”, Jakarta Globe, August 14, 2019
  • The Indonesian government has promised to make it quicker and easier for overseas investors and foreign workers to obtain visas and residence permits.
  • The Directorate General of Immigration informed foreign representatives in Jakarta on Tuesday of regulatory changes, including the availability of online applications and a simplified bureaucratic process to obtain visas and residence permits.
  • The updated regulations introduced to foreign representatives on Tuesday include immigration service tariffs, employment of foreign workers and visa and residence permit application procedures, among others.




  1. Nadia Riva, “Japan To Issue Visas To Iraqis Through Offices In Baghdad, Erbil”, Kurdistan 24, August 16, 2019
  • People with an Iraqi passport will soon be able to apply for a Japanese travel visa through the country’s embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil, Japan’s mission in Baghdad recently announced.
  • The statement noted that their offices in Erbil and Baghdad would directly accept applications should individuals be travelling for “diplomatic and official purposes,” invited by Tokyo or an independent Japanese institution, Japanese government awardees, or “those who need imminent humanitarian assistance.”
  • Such applicants previously had to seek to obtain a travel document through Japan’s missions in Jordan or Dubai. However, as the country’s Baghdad embassy noted in the statement, from Aug. 20, those offices would “no longer be accepting visa applications of Iraqi nationals unless they have proper resident visas for Jordan or the UAE.”
  • “The Embassy of Japan in Iraq and the Consular Office in Erbil will charge a “Visa Fee” once a visa is granted. In addition, said agencies will charge an “Application Fee”” for all applicants, the statement added.




  1. Patricia Lourdes Viray, “Philippine Visa To Be Stamped On Passports Of Chinese Nationals”, PhilStar Global, August 6, 2019
  • The Philippine visa will now be stamped on passports of Chinese nationals wishing to enter the country.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte has approved Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s proposal to replace the practice of putting the visa on a piece of paper, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
  • Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, vowed that the Department of Justice will monitor the stay of Chinese tourists in the country.


Sri Lanka


  1.  “Sri Lanka Offers Free Tourist Visas To Boost Tourism”, Deccan Herald, August 15, 2019
  • Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Board (STPB) flaunted the recent notification to issue free tourist visas to Indian nationals among others to attract a greater number of tourists from the neighbouring country, which shares cultural ties with Sri Lanka.
  • “For a period of six months, citizens belonging to countries like India can visit Sri Lanka without paying any additional fee for the visa. This is one of the steps that we have taken to promote tourism which has been badly disrupted due to Easter attacks. Sri Lanka is absolutely safe now and there is no problem whatsoever,” John Amaratunga, Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, told a press conference in Chennai.




  1.  “Chinese And Indians To Be Offered Visa Free Arrival For 15 days In Thailand”, The Thaiger, August 18, 2019
  • The Tourism and Sports Minister says he’ll seek cabinet approval to offer visa exemptions to visitors from China and India for one year. Already Chinese tourists have a visaon-arrival fees exemption. The current promotion is set to end on October 31 this year.
  • If the new visa exemption is approved by cabinet it will start on November 1 and run through to at least October 31, 2020.
  • The Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says the visa exemption will allow travel in Thailand for up to 15 days.






  1. Bulgarian Students In Serbia Will No Longer Need A Visa To Study In The Country”, Sovia News Agency, August 13, 2019
  • Visas for foreign student applicants of Bulgarian origin are eliminated. This became clear after a letter has been sent from the Bulgarian Embassy in Belgrade to the high school and to the Cultural and Information Center in Bosilegrad.
  • It is reported that the requirement for type D visas for foreigners of Bulgarian origin who have been accepted as fulltime students at higher education institutions in Bulgaria has been abolished. The high school director Vladimir Grigorov said this to the BNR.
  • The amendment is in line with Bulgaria's policy of facilitating the entry and residence of foreigners of Bulgarian origin on the territory of the country for the purpose of training, the letter said.




  1. Estonian Govt Okays Plan For Youth Tourist Visas With Right To Employment With Japan”, The Baltic Times, August 15, 2019
  • The Estonian government at its Thursday sitting endorsed a draft agreement whereby Estonia and Japan would be able to issue to young people of ages 1830 from the other country multiple entry visas with the right to employment for a period of up to 12 months.
  • The agreement will be signed after ratification of its draft by the Riigikogu.
  • The intergovernmental agreement will entitle holders of the visa to enter into employment without prior registration with the Police and Border Guard Board, spokespeople for the Estonian government said.


European Union


  1.  “After Crimea, EU Is Working to No Longer Grant Visas to Donbass Residents with Russian Passports”, Schengen Visa Info, August 14, 2019
  • A previous decision of the European Union to no longer grant Schengen visas to Crimean citizens that received their passports after the annexation of the peninsula, may soon be followed by another, affecting Russian passport holders. This time, the EU is working on recommendations to no longer grant shortterm visas to nationals of Donbass with Russian passports.
  • According to DW, the EU is working on guidelines for the identification and possible nonrecognition of passports issued by Russia in the Donbass.
  • After Moscow decided to begin simplified issuance of Russian citizenship to inhabitants of the Donbass, the EU started working on undertaking the necessary measures to object Moscow’s move, what they believe “undermines the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements.”
  • According to Izvetia, while all members of the European Union are actively participating in the discussion, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Lithuania have already decided to deny Schengen visas to residents of Donbass holding Russian passports, even without the EU adopting a unified decision.




  1. Financial Requirement For German Study Visa Increases”, SI News, August 5, 2019
  • Germany has increased the financial requirement for nonEU international students, who must provide proof of their their financial means as part of their visa application to carry out their planned programme of study.
  • The 20 percent increase will raise the minimum deposit for a German study visa from €8,640 to €10,236, and will take effect from September 1, 2019, according to ICEF Monitor.
  • “The increase, which is the first in years, is meant to keep up with inflation and intended to reduce incidences in which students jeopardise their academic performance by taking on too much paid work during their studies,” notes the report.




  1. Ronald Lewis, “From Oct 1, Enter Russia On Free E-Visa Up To 8 days”, Stock New Brief, August 13, 2019
  • Russia is increasing the number of entry points from where foreign visitors, including Indians, can enter the country on a free evisa and stay there for up to eight days. From October 1, 2019, “foreign citizens can enter and leave Russia through checkpoints… in St Petersburg and Leningrad region… on the basis of single-entry business, tourist and humanitarian visas (on) electronic documents,” says a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.
  • Vladimir Poluektov, press secretary of the in Delhi, said evisas are issued “on the basis of a decision of the ministry of foreign affairs of Russia at the request of a foreign citizen, filled out on the ministry‘s website” at least four days before intended date of entry into the country. Once granted, the e-visa will be valid for 30 days and can be used to stay there up to 8 days. The e-application has to be accompanied with a digital photo and “no other documents will be required to receive an e-visa.”




  1.  “Switzerland Becomes the First Schengen Member to Adopt Increased Visa Fees”, Schengen Visa Info, August 15, 2019
  • After the European Parliament adopted a proposal on the amendment of the EU Visa Code, the Federal Council of Switzerland has moved on to become the first Schengen member to align its corresponding regulations with the updated visa code.
  • According to a press release of the Swiss Federal Council, the conditions for issuing visas will be adjusted, including higher visa fees.
  • “At its meeting on 14 August 2019, the Federal Council decided to align the corresponding regulations with the amended European Visa Code. Key changes include linking the visa and return policy, increasing visa fees and accelerating visa procedures,” the press release reads.
  • It further explains that starting from February 2, 2020, applicants for a Schengen visa to Switzerland will need to pay higher fees.




  1.  “Govt Approves Short-Term Visa Abolishment agreement With Commonwealth Of Dominica”, Interfax-Ukraine, August 14, 2019
  • Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has approved an agreement with the Commonwealth of Dominica on abolishment of visas for the period of staying up to 90 days.
  • An InterfaxUkraine correspondent reported that the respective decision was made at a government meeting on Wednesday.
  • According to the provisions of the agreement, citizens of the states of the parties to the agreement enter, stay and cross the territory of the state of the other party without visas, provided that the duration of their stay does not exceed 90 days in the period of 180 days.
  • At the same time, it is stipulated that if citizens of the signatory states intend to enter for a period of more than 90 days, regardless of the purpose of the trip, they must obtain a visa, which is issued without paying a fee, at the diplomatic mission or consulate of the state of the other party before entering its territory.


United Kingdom


  1.  “New UK Visa Changes Are Good News for Skilled South Africans”, Schengen Visa Info, August 14, 2019
  • The UK Government intends to create a fasttrack visa for persons with skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • According to immigration consultants Breytenbachs, the reasoning behind this move is to attract the world’s top scientists and researchers to the UK.
  • Breytenbachs said that the route will be open to all nationalities, irrespective of whether they are EU or nonEU citizens.


  1. Home Office Called To Hike Tier 2 Visa Salary Threshold To £36,700”, Contractor UK, August 12, 2019
  • Migrants from the EU will have to command an annual salary of £36,700 before being able to work in Britain postBrexit, under proposals put to the government this morning.
  • So the current £30k threshold needs hiking by 35% if Tier 2 visas, or ‘Skilled Work Visas’ as they should be renamed, are to be set at a ‘level commensurate to the status of skilled workers.’
  • Rightleaning thinktank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) also tells the Home Office today that ‘strategically important occupations’ like nursing, could be made exempt from the threshold.






  1. Get Your Visa Online Before Entering Oman: ROP”, Times of Oman, August 9, 2019
  • The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has advised all visitors arriving by road to obtain their visas online before entering the Sultanate.
  • In a statement issued online, ROP said: "ROP requests all visitors traveling by road to obtain their visas online before entering the Sultanate in order to facilitate their entrance through different border posts.
  • It also emphasized that getting the visa on arrival is only a limited additional service offered by ROP.


Saudi Arabia


  1.  Tareq Al-Thaqafi, “Saudi Arabia To Issue 10 Million Umrah E-Visas This Year”, Arab News, August 17, 2019
  • The chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Amr AlMaddah, said that as of Saturday, the ministry is seeking to issue 10 million visas for this year’s Umrah season. The visas will be issued electronically without the need to visit embassies and consulates for the stamp, he said.
  • AlMaddah said that the ministry is seeking to issue Umrah visas for 30 million pilgrims by 2030. Saudi Arabia had the capacity for these numbers, he said, and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah aims to remove obstacles for businesses offering services to pilgrims.
  • AlMaddah said: “The target number of pilgrims in 1442 AH (2021) will be 15 million. The ministry is well-prepared for these cumulative numbers, and pilgrims now have several e-booking platforms that continue to increase and are no longer limited to external agents.”


United Arab Emirates


  1. Aarti Nagraj, “UAE Nationals Now Exempt From Pre-Entry Visas To South Africa”, Gulf Business, August 15, 2019
  • Emiratis holding diplomatic, special, mission and ordinary passports are now exempt from preentry visas to visit South Africa.
  • The UAE has been added to South Africa’s visa waiver list, with the decision effective from Thursday, August 15, official news agency WAM reported.
  • Emiratis will be allowed to stay for a period up to 90 days in the African country, according to the South African Department of Home Affairs.


  1.  Shaikha AlShamsi & Mohammed Alahdel, “UAE Launches Long-Term Residency System For Non-Citizens”,, August 15, 2019
  • UAE recently allowed select categories of foreigners to apply for longterm visas for themselves and their families, including investors and entrepreneurs who meet certain conditions, pursuant to Cabinet Decision No. 56/2018 on the Regulation of Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Individuals with Specialised Talents. In accordance with the Decision, a five- or ten-year long-term residence visa system will be applied for certain categories of investors, entrepreneurs and professional talent, which will automatically be renewed when the same conditions are met.
  • The new longterm visa system allows residents of the UAE, foreign expatriates and their families who wish to come to work, live and study in the UAE to enjoy a long-term stay without the need for an Emirati sponsor. The Decision is intended to attract investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talent and researchers in the fields of science who have played a major role in the development of the UAE, to be permanent partners in the development process in the country.






  1. Phillip Coorey, “Government Offers Visa Fast-Track to 5000”, Financial Review, August 13, 2019
  • The federal government will establish a new, highskilled migration stream that will fast-track visas for 5000 of the world's best and brightest every year with the aim of entrenching high-tech industries in Australia.
  • Immigration Minister David Coleman will announce the Global Talent Independent Program today and will seek the advice of a small panel of Australia's high achievers in the fields of academia and business over which industries to pursue.
  • Mr Coleman said the Home Affairs department has already sent officials to Berlin and others will depart next month to Boston, Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai to start spruiking the program and recruiting talent.
  • They will be tasked with scouting and recruiting people with advanced degrees or experience from leading global institutions such as MIT, Stanford and Oxford. Potential sectors that will be targeted include agricultural technology, fintech and quantum computing.


  1. Andrew Tillett, “Tech Start-Up Visa Scheme To Stay”, Financial Review, August 8, 2019
  • A niche visa scheme designed to allow businesses and startups to compete internationally to lure highly skilled foreigners to Australia will be made permanent after a 12-month pilot.
  • While fewer than 30 of the visas have been issued, the Morrison government believes the Global Talent – Employer Sponsored visa program has shown enough promise to continue. The retention of the visa scheme has been welcomed by startups and comes as the government and tech sector have otherwise been at loggerheads over national security laws.
  • Under the program, two visa streams are available to fill specialised positions. Established businesses with a turnover of $4 million can apply for up to 20 visas for foreign workers annually, while startups in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field can apply for five.


New Zealand


  1. Daniel McCarthy, “New Zealand To Require Electronic Travel Visa Starting October 1”, Travel Market Report, August 9, 2019
  • New changes in New Zealand’s tourism and travel laws will make it more complicated for travelers from 60 visa waiver countries to visit the country.
  • Starting Oct. 1, New Zealand will start requiring tourists from any of the 60 visa waiver countries, which includes the United States and Canada, to apply for and obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) visa. The NZeTA visa, which was first launched in July, is expected to impact about 1.5 million international travelers a year who do not currently need visas.
  • Travelers will not need to go to an embassy or consulate to get the visa, instead, they’ll be asked to fill out an online application form that the eTA says only takes a few minutes to fill out and about 10 minutes to be processed. The questions require applicants to enter some personal information such as full name, address, birthdate, and travel plans.




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