HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 10.10.2019

Oct 10,2019





  1. Albertina Nakale, “Namibia To Issue On-Arrival Visas To 47 Countries”, New Era Live, September 26, 2019
  • Namibia have selected 47 countries for visas on arrival. All three categories of passports, being ordinary, diplomatic and official or service passports are accommodated for purposes of the visa issuance on arrival.
  • This was revealed by Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Frans Kapofi yesterday during the launch of the tourist or visitor visas on arrival project.
  • Kapofi made it clear this arrangement excludes people coming to Namibia for employment purposes which obliges such people to apply and acquire employment permits in advance.
  • Visas on arrival will benefit the certain categories of visitors, which include bona fide tourists (excluding tour guides who are required to obtain employment permits or work visa in advance).






  1.  “Aruba Says It Will Require Venezuelans To Obtain Visa To Visit”, Yahoo News, October 3, 2019
  • The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba will require Venezuelans to obtain a visa to visit, its government said on Wednesday, adding to the nations that have tightened entry restrictions on the crisis-hit country because of mass emigration.
  • "This decision was reached after verifying that the situation in Venezuela has worsened, along with an alarming increase in the frequency of irregular migration to neighbouring countries," the government said in a news release.
  • The process to request a "temporary visa" could take about six months, an Aruba government source said, and authorities expect to process about 8,000 visas each year.
  • The visa requirement will not apply to Venezuelans that already hold visas for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or Ireland, the source said.




  1.  “Jamaica, United Arab Emirates Sign Visa Waiver Agreement”, The Jamaica Gleaner, September 23, 2019
  • Jamaica has signed a Visa Waiver Agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under the agreement, holders of diplomatic and official passports will not need visas while ordinary Jamaican passport holders may apply online. At the same time, UAE passport holders will receive a visa on entry pending Jamaica implementing an online visa system.
  • The disclosure was made this morning by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, who posted the information on her official Twitter account.
  • “We started work on this during the first UAE Caribbean Forum last year,” said  Johnson Smith who is in New York as part of Jamaica’s delegation at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit. “We hope to increase commercial and people to people movement in both directions,” she added.


United States


  1. Tom Howell Jr, “U.S., Poland Sign Defense Deal, Work To Ease Visas”, The Washington Times, September 23, 2019
  • President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a defense agreement Monday that will shift U.S. soldiers into Poland at the Eastern European nation’s expense.
  • Mr. Trump also said the U.S. is making Poland eligible for the visa-waiver program to ease travel between the countries.


  1.  “Bulgarian Foreign Minister: US Visa Waiver For Bulgarian Citizens Is Always A Main Topic”, Novinite, September 26, 2019
  • “The topic of the abolition of US visas for Bulgarian citizens is always the focus of attention - no matter what institutional level the talks are conducted.'' This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva in New York after attending the traditional dinner of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the first diplomats of NATO member states, at the UN session.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Zaharieva's comment came after President Rumen Radev said yesterday that the government must work much more intensively to link its strategic partnership with the US on visa waivers.
  • “The Bulgarian government is constantly asking this question and our foreign ministry is also organizing an information campaign for applications'', Zaharieva explained.


  1. Jodi Xu Klein, “Reprieve For Controversial US Immigration Visa Programme Fails To Ease Investors’ Woes”, South China Morning Post, October 2, 2019
  • The US government extended a controversial US investor visa programme once popular among mainland Chinese, but financial professionals steeped in the programme say it could still face tough times as an overhaul to raise the investment minimum could shut out applicants.
  • Known as EB-5, the programme grants permanent resident status to foreigners who invest at least US$500,000 and create at least 10 American jobs in economically struggling parts of the US.
  • The programme, which was set to expire on Monday, received a temporary extension when US President Donald Trump signed a “continuing resolution” on Friday that allowed Congress to fund the government and renew the visa programme through November 21.
  • On that day, when the programme is expected to be extended further, the minimum threshold for the visa applicants would increase under a long-anticipated new rule made final by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The new investment amount will increase to US$900,000 from US$500,000 and the designation of struggling areas will be redefined. For projects outside high-unemployment areas, the amount will jump to US$1.8 million from US$1 million.






  1. China Eases Visa Service For Pakistan Nationals”, Pakistan Today, September 25, 2019
  • The Chinese embassy has further expanded its visa services in Pakistan to promote people-to-people contact between the two countries.
  • As a major development, China opened a visa service center in Lahore to facilitate applications seeking Chinese visa.
  • Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing inaugurated the center. The ceremony was attended by high-ranked government officials, Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin, Deputy Consul General Peng Zhengwu and other diplomats.
  • On the occasion, Zhengwu said that inauguration of the visa center was a landmark step to bring ease to local people.




  1. Sharmila Dhal, “India Changes E-Tourist Visa Fees, Validity”, Gulf News, October 7, 2019
  • India on Monday made a series of changes in e-tourist visas, the Consulate General of India announced.
  • “A 30-day (short term) double entry e-visa for tourists has been introduced with a fee of $25. This is applicable for travel between July and March.” Neeraj Aggarwal, press consul, CGI, told Gulf News. The same 30-day double entry visas fees for off season travel, between April and June, would however, cost $10.
  • He said a multiple entry e-tourist visa of medium duration with a validity of one year now costs $40, while a long term, five-year multiple entry entry visa costs $80.
  • In effect, the validity of the regular e-visa with a fee of $80 has been increased from the current permissible one year to five years with multiple entry.




  1. New-Look Malaysia Visa Centre Launched In Delhi”, The Edge Markets, September 23, 2019
  • A one-stop centre for Malaysian visa services was launched in New Delhi today, with a facelift that gives visitors a "feel of being in Malaysia".
  • The centre, run by an outsourcing firm, is located in central Delhi and equipped with facilities to make it easier for applicants to apply for different categories of Malaysian visas.
  • "There is a demand for physical facilities for handling visa applications from travel agents and individuals. We also cater to other segments such as work visas and those travelling for education and medical purposes," said Alok Singhal, regional head of VFS Global, one of the partners in the venture.
  • Chennai and Mumbai are two other Indian cities that have Malaysia visa application processing centres. The one-stop centre operations started in India three years ago. The centres received more than 70,000 visa applications from January to August this year.




  1. Six More Countries Now Get Visa-On-Arrival Into Myanmar”, The Thaiger, October 5, 2019
  • Around Thailand the possibilities for foreigners travelling is growing with visa-free arrivals, waived fees, no paperwork and quick processing at Immigration ports.
  • Now, the Myanmar government is introducing new regulations to facilitate easier access as another step towards opening up the country to the world, and tourism.
  • Starting this week, tourists from six countries – Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland – will be able enter Myanmar on visa-on-arrival at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airports. Pre-arrangement is not required for passport holders of these six countries, they can simply apply for a visa at any of the three airports for a fee of US$50 each.
  • Visitors from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau were granted visa-free entry last year. Indian and mainland Chinese nationals were also granted visas-on-arrival into Myanmar in a move to draw more Asian visitors to the country.




  1. 90-Day Visas Floated For Medical Tourists”, Bangkok Post, September 27, 2019
  • The Medical Hub Policy Administration Committee has proposed granting a 90-day visa-free stay to Japanese and US nationals who enter the country for medical services, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
  • He said the decision is intended to promote medical tourism as part of the government's policy of developing Thailand into a medical centre. The medical tourism sector last year generated about 28 billion baht in revenue. Thailand currently grants 90-day visa-free entry to medical tourists from 11 countries, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.






  1. Schengen Visas For Belarusians To Cost €35”, Belsat, September 24, 2019
  • The cost of a Schengen visa for citizens of Belarus will be reduced from €60 to €35 two months after the signing of the Treaty on Visa Facilitation and Readmission by Belarus and the European Union, the new head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, said on the air of ONT TV channel.
  • “I don’t want to give a specific date, but I assure you that we are working hard to make it happen,” said the diplomat. He stressed that the EU needs to get the consent of all 28 countries and the European Parliament. “I am optimistic that this will happen soon,” Dirk Schuebel said.




  1.  “Estonia Repeals Free Long-term Visas For Ukrainians”, Ukrinform, September 25, 2019
  • The Estonian government has canceled its decision of January 21, 2010, which exempted Ukrainian citizens from the payment of a state fee for examining long-term visa applications, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported.
  • "Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu stated that today, about 90% of Ukrainian citizens are applying for a long-term visa in order to work. Therefore, he said, it is no longer justified to maintain such an exception for Ukrainian citizens," the report reads.
  • It notes that the decision, which will come into force on November 1 (it was also adopted for Belarusian citizens), applies only to a national D-type visa issued for more than 90 days for stay for the purpose of employment, training, long-term treatment, etc. The state fee for reviewing an application for such a visa in Estonia is now 80 euros, and it will grow to 100 euros from January 1, 2020.
  • The current decision does not apply to Ukrainian citizens who intend to visit Estonia for up to 90 days within 180 days without a right of employment. Holders of biometric passports do not need a visa for such trips.




  1. Germany Stamps 'Passports' Issued By Russia To Donbas Residents - Bild”, Ukrinform, September 24, 2019
  • Germany affixes visas into "passports" issued by Russia to residents of the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, without making a distinction between Russian passports and these "documents," German tabloid newspaper Bild has reported.
  • According to the report, this is stated in a response to a request from MP Renata Alt from Germany's Free Democratic Party (FDP), who is also the rapporteur of the FDP's parliamentary group for Ukraine and Russia.
  • According to the article, almost 100,000 visas have been issued by the German authorities to holders of Russian passports since April. However, it is unclear how many visas were affixed into Russian passports issued to residents of occupied Donbas.




  1. Jacob Fromer, “North Korean Citizens Granted E-Visa Access To Saint Petersburg: TASS”, NK News, October 3, 2019
  • Russia has begun allowing North Korean citizens to use electronic visas for entry into the city of Saint Petersburg, the state-run TASS news agency reported this week.
  • The new policy applies to citizens of 53 countries, including China, Japan, Singapore, India, and Mexico, as well as the DPRK.
  • Saint Petersburg’s acting governor, Alexander Beglov, also predicted that the new policy would increase the number of overseas tourists traveling to the city from 8.2 million annually to 12 million, the report said.


United Kingdom


  1. New UK Visa Rules: Doctors, Nurses Need Not Take TOEFL, IELTS Exam”, LiveMint, September 23, 2019
  • Under the new rules, doctors, nurses, dentists and midwives applying for Tier 2 (General) visas for UK will not need to sit for English language tests like TOEFL and IELTS as Occupational English Test (OET) scores are enough for them.
  •  “The Home Office has also streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit another test before entry to the UK on a Tier 2 visa," the UK government said in a release.
  • This means that these healthcare professionals will be exempt from the English language requirement for their visa application where they have used their successful OET results for registering with the relevant healthcare regulator. The test was recognised by the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council almost two years ago. The change will apply to all Tier 2 (General) visa applications submitted from October 1.


  1. South Africans Should Expect Serious Delays When Applying For UK Visas”, Business Tech, September 25, 2019
  • South Africans applying for visas to live and work in the United Kingdom (UK) are experiencing serious delays in their visa application processing times.
  • According to Ryan Rennison, managing director of travel consultants Move Up, changes in the UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI’s) administration mean that South African settlement visas are no longer processed locally.
  • “From what I can tell, the Sheffield team has adopted a strict interpretation of settlement visa rules, whereas the Pretoria team was far more lenient.
  • Rennison has warned South Africans applying for UK settlement visas to plan for delayed notifications regarding their settlement visa application status.


  1. Rise In Number Of World's Rich Buying UK 'Golden Visas'”, The Guardian, September 27, 2019
  • The number of wealthy foreigners investing at least £2m in the UK in exchange for a “golden visa” has risen to a five-year high, despite a clampdown on the scheme in the aftermath of the Skripal novichok poisoning attack.
  • The Home Office granted 124 applications in the three months to the end of June. That was an increase from 91 people in the same period a year earlier under more relaxed rules. Home Office data shows that just four applicants had their visas denied.






  1.  “Online Visit Visas To Kuwait For Expats Families From 2020”, Arab Times, September 26, 2019
  • In its quest to eliminate the documentary cycle, reduce congestion and save time the government of Kuwait said more than 3 million expatriates working in the private sector will soon be able to renew their residence permits electronically from next October, reports Al-Qabas daily.
  • The service will be launched by the Ministry of Interior on its website. In addition to facilitating the renewal of residence permit of Article 18 visa holders, expatriates will also be able to renew the residence permits of wife and children without going to the residence affairs departments in their respective governorates.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Mariam M. Al Serkal, “Its Official: Saudi Is Open To Tourists From Around The World”, Gulf News, September 27, 2019
  • Saudi Arabia has announced that it will open its doors to international visitors as part of efforts to boost tourism.
  • The Kingdom is launching a new visa regime for 49 countries and appealing to foreign companies to invest in a sector it hopes will contribute 10 per cent of gross domestic product by 2030
  • Tourism chief Ahmed Al Khateeb said abayas will not be mandatory for women tourists but modest dress is, including at public beaches.
  • Visas will be available online for about $80 (Dh294), with no restrictions for unaccompanied women as in the past. Access to the Muslim holy cities of Makkah and Medina is restricted.


United Arab Emirates


  1.  “New Long-Term Visa For Artistes Announced In Dubai”, Khaleej Times, October 2, 2019
  • Local artists in the UAE are looking forward to the official launch of the 'long-term cultural visa' that has been announced as part of the 'new cultural vision' approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
  • Dubai-based creative artist Padraig Downey, director and founder of Danu Theatre, said the long-term visa is a "positive progressive step".
  • "The initiative will free artists from the restrictions of having to maintain a job for visa purposes - visas and jobs that often curtail and restrict us and our work, thus having a negative impact."






  1. Government To Extend Working Holiday Visa Program Amid Application Spike”, Ukrinform, September 25, 2019
  • The number of working holiday-makers has soared by 20 per cent in the past year, with 43,000 young people scattered across regional centres. The federal government expects the number to continue to rise as it pursues reciprocal visa agreements with 13 countries, to add to the existing 44 with deals in place.
  • "We know there are jobs in regional Australia that aren't being filled by Australian workers, and we are giving regional businesses the immigration settings to help them fill those roles," Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Wednesday.
  • The countries engaged in talks with the government on reciprocal working holiday-maker visa arrangements include: Andorra, Brazil, Croatia, Fiji, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Switzerland.
  • The changes included lifting annual caps on the visas, expanding the number of regional areas covered and allowing 12 months of work with the same agricultural employer (up from six months).


  1. Rosie Lewis, “Migrant Visa Appeals Blowout Hits 60,000”, The Australian, September 27, 2019
  • The tribunal charged with reviewing the cases of failed refugees and migrants has been unable to keep up with a flood of appeals in the wake of a record number of visa refusals, creating a backlog of more than 60,000 people waiting for determinations.
  • An analysis of migration and refugee cases before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal reveals there was a 257 per cent increase between July 2016 and August this year, driven by greater numbers of permanent and temporary visa refusals.
  • The backlog of active cases has grown from 17,480 to 62,476 and is getting worse each month. Even if each case involved only one person, the total number of people would equal the population of Wagga Wagga in NSW or Shepparton in Victoria.
  • The surge in AAT cases in the past three years comes after the Coalition progressively introduced tougher integrity and vetting processes to the immigration program, including greater scrutiny of applications and use of biometrics and intelligence.


  1. Mosiqi Acharya, “New Regional Visa: No Permanent Residency For Those Who Can’t Prove Their Stay In Regional Australia”, SBS Hindi, October 2, 2019
  • The Immigration Minister David Coleman has confirmed the new regional visas which come with a pathway for permanent residency will need migrants to prove their stay in regional Australia.
  • Two new skilled regional visas being introduced in November will require skilled migrants to live and work in regional Australia, and will come with a pathway to apply for permanent residency after the visa holder has spent three years in the region.
  • While specific details of the new visas are yet to be revealed by the Department of Home Affairs, the Immigration Minister has confirmed the government will be closely scrutinising the visa holder’s personal details while assessing their permanent residency application.


New Zealand


  1. Samesh Mohanlall, “Chamber Welcomes New Changes To Immigration”, Stuff, September 24, 2019
  • Employers in South Canterbury should find it easier to bring temporary workers into the country to fill vacancies following changes to work visas, the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce says.
  • Under the changes, introduced by Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway last week, six visa categories will be replaced by one temporary work visa which will ensure the usual background and employment checks.  
  • Chamber chief executive Wendy Smith said some businesses in the region were desperate for workers, unemployment is sitting at a record low of 1.2 per cent in the Mackenzie District.
  • "We're pleased that these changes should benefit our businesses, and provide certainty and confidence to employers suffering skill shortages in our regions," Smith said.


  1.  “Government Brings Back Visas For Parents, But Raises Income Requirements”, NZ Herald, October 7, 2019
  • Migrants will be entitled to bring their parents to live with them in New Zealand for the first time for in years, the Government has announced.
  • But the policy is returning with a cap and significantly higher income requirements for children.
  • Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has confirmed immigration authorities will from 2020 again begin taking applications under the Parent Category visa programme, which allows parents to join adult children who have become residents or citizens and earn over a certain amount.
  • However, the Government will only allow about 1000 parents to join their children each year, significantly fewer than the 5500 coming over before the scheme was paused. And children will have to earn significantly more as well. Where previously a single earner had to make $65,000 a year to bring over a parent, they'll now need to earn $106,000 and about $159,000 if they want to bring two parents. A couple will have to earn over $159,000 to be joined by one parent and $212,000 by two.



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