HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 12.11.2019

Nov 12,2019



South Africa


  1.  “New Visa Changes Coming To South Africa This Month – Here’s What You Need To Know”, Business Tech, November 4, 2019
  • South Africa will pilot its new e-visa system in the coming weeks as it aims to attract investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy. Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said that the pilot will be relatively limited to begin with as it aims to test the resilience of the system. 
  • Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department is also lowering turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications. By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications, he said.


  1. Mayibongwe Maqhina, “Race To Register Visa Partner”, IOL, November 5, 2019
  • Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department is working around the clock to ensure the registration of a public-private partnership for visa facilitation services occurs timeously.
  • Motsoaledi said the implementation of the public-private partnership depended on the completion of a preliminary market evaluation, adding that this needed to happen through a Request For Information (RFI) system.
  • “Specifications for the RFI have to be drafted, and this has been undertaken by a bid specification committee,” he said.






  1.  “Brazil Removes Visa Requirements For Certain U.S. Travelers”, National Law Review, November 6, 2019
  • As of June 17, 2019, travelers from the United States may enter Brazil for periods up to 90 days without a Brazil eVisa or any other type of travel authorization. Travelers may now enter Brazil with only their valid passports. In addition to the United States, travelers from Canada, Australia and Japan also no longer need to obtain a visa for trips to Brazil of up to 90 days. Trips can be extended for another 90 days as long as the total visit does not exceed 180 days within a year.
  • Now, even without a visa, travelers from the U.S., Canada, Australia and Japan may now enter, exit, transit and remain in Brazil, without the intention of establishing residence, for purposes of tourism, business, transit, performance of artistic activities or sporting events or in exceptional situations which are in Brazil’s national interest.


United States


  1.  “Google, Amazon, TCS Among Top 10 Recipients of H-1B Visas In FY19”, ET Now News,  November 5, 2019
  • US tech firms received the maximum number of fresh H-1B visas issued in the fiscal year FY19, as the Donald Trump administration continued its policy of favouring American firms to hire computer science professionals from countries such as India on short term work permits. With 2,111 H-1B visas, Google was the top recipient of the short term work permit followed by Amazon, which received 1,612 visas. Indian IT services major TCS was at the third place with 1,367 visas.
  • Other than TCS, Tech Mahindra was the only Indian IT firm to be in the top 10 recipients list. Out of the top 10 recipients, seven were US technology firms, which reflects the Donald Trump administration's preference for US tech companies while granting the visa.


  1.  “Polish Citizens To Travel Visa-Free To US From Next Week”, The New York Times, November 5, 2019
  • Polish citizens will be able to travel to the U.S. without a visa from next week, officials said. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that including Poland — a "trusted partner" — in the Visa Waiver Program was testament to the two countries' "special relationship" and close cooperation on security issues.
  • Poland becomes the 39th nation to be covered by the program. Visa-free travel means Poles will still need to enter data into an online registry system, but will no longer need to stand in lines to see a consul, and the fee is down to $14 from the previous $160.


  1.  “Businesses Seeking H-1B Visas Must Pay Additional $10 Fee”, Bloomberg Law, November 8, 2019
  • Businesses applying for H-1B visas will have to pay an additional $10 for each registration they submit to the Department of Homeland Security to enter an annual selection lottery, the agency said in a final rule published Nov. 7.
  • H-1B visas are reserved for skilled guest workers in specialty occupations, and are distributed through an annual lottery overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.






  1. Katrina Hallare, “BI To Resume Stamping On China-Issued E-Passports”, Inquirer, November 6, 2019
  • The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday announced that it will resume the affixing of arrival and departure stamps on China-issued e-passports.
  • In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said BI officers stationed in different ports will be allowed to affix such stamps adjacent to a Philippine visa on the said e-passports. Morente added that the change in policy complies with the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) new foreign service circular, instructing Philippine consular offices to affix visas on the pages of Chinese passports.


South Korea


  1.  “South Korea Announces 3 Ways To Get 'Visa-Free' Entry”, ABS-CBN, November 8, 2019
  • The embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines on Thursday said there are 3 ways on how travelers could go to the country visa-free. On its website, the embassy said visa-free entry are accommodated to (1) tourists in transit to third countries, (2) foreign transfer passengers; and (3) visitors to Jeju area.
  • Tourists transiting through Korea are granted visa-free entry except for nationals from 24 excluded countries, including Syria, Iraq, Pakistan. Also eligible for the first category are travelers who hold visas to the United States, or Canada, Australia, and New Zealand or those with visa or permanent residency to at least one of the 30 European countries who transit through Korea bound for the country of origin or a third country.
  • For foreign transfer passengers, eligible applicants are those transferring through the Incheon Airport and taking part in the Transit Tourism Program on their way to a third country or country of origin or those referred to as "general transfer passengers." However, citizens from 24 countries that need visas to enter Jeju Island are not included.
  • The third way for travelers to get to Korea visa-free is by flying directly to Jeju Island. Travelers are allowed to stay on the island for 30 days.






  1. Noemie Bisserbe, “France To Set Quotas For Immigrant Visas”, The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019
  • France plans to establish a system of quotas for immigrant workers arriving in the country from outside Europe, an unprecedented move that reflects President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to address concerns among right-leaning voters over protecting French workers.
  • French Labor Minister Muriel Pénicaud said Tuesday the government is creating a list of professional fields subject to the quotas with plans to implement the new system by next summer.
  • French authorities will only grant visas to foreign workers whose skills are needed, Ms. Pénicaud told French radio, vowing to focus on helping French unemployed people find a job.




  1.  “Greek President Promises Sarkissian To Do Everything To Accelerate Visa Liberalization With EU”, Armen Press, November 5, 2019
  • President of Greece Procopios Pavlopolos promised Armenian President Armen Sarkissian that Greece will do everything possible for Armenia to accelerate the visa liberalization process with the European Union.
  • “We talked about the facilitation of the entry to the EU for our citizens, so that visas will be liberalized for ordinary citizens, and my good friend, Mr. President, promised that they will do everything possible to accelerate this process”, the Armenian President said at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart in Yerevan.


  1.  “Greece Speeds Up 'Golden Visa' Scheme For Chinese Investors”, France 24, November 10, 2019
  • To cut red tape and make investment easier, the newly elected conservative government approved a bill in late October that would allow would-be investors to get around China's strict capital controls.
  • This is done by using multiple bank terminal transactions to transfer the requisite sum of $250,000.
  • Greek development minister Adonis Georgiadis, who recently visited China, said the Bank of Greece had concluded that "the use of bank terminals does not violate Greek or European law. If it is violating the Chinese law, this is a matter for China."


United Kingdom


  1.  “UK Approved 99% of Visa Applications To Emiratis In 2017-2018”, Khaleej Times, November 4, 2019
  • The United Kingdom approved approximately 99 percent of regular visa applications submitted by Emiratis from July 2017 to June 2018, a top UK official told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
  • The UK issued 5,940 visas in total to Emiratis during that 12-month period, which meant each visa was issued in an average of three working days, said Julia Longbottom, Director for Consular Affairs in Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • Apart from regular visas, the UK has been issuing Electronic Visa Waiver, EVW, an alternative to visas for Emiratis since 2015. The UAE is one of only four countries, which is part of the EVWs scheme. The Electronic Visa Waiver allows Emiratis travelling to the UK for tourism, business, study or medical treatment to a stay up to six months. They can travel without a visa simply by filling in an online form at least 48 hours before they travel.


  1. Alex Morales, “Boris Johnson Pledges New Post-Brexit Visas For Doctors And Nurses”, Bloomberg, November 4, 2019
  • The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for special visas to make it easier for the U.K.’s National Health Service to recruit doctors and nurses from other countries after Brexit.
  • The NHS visa would form part of a new points-based immigration system to be introduced after the U.K. completes its divorce from the European Union, Johnson’s Conservative Party said in an emailed statement on Friday.
  • Fees for the visa would be halved to 464 pounds ($595) from 928 pounds, medical professionals joining the NHS would receive extra points and applicants would be fast-tracked under the plans, the party said.






  1. Ashwani Kumar, “New Visa Norms For Tourists To Oman”, Khaleej Times, November 10, 2019
  • The UAE residents heading to Oman for weekend getaways will have to plan their trip in advance as visitors will need an e-visa to enter the country. The e-visas can be applied online and it could take up to four days to process it.
  • Previously, visitors could fill in the visa form at the immigration counters at the border and obtain visas on arrival. Now, "applicants must apply for a tourist visa via the visa website then enter Oman by any legal borders", according to the frequently asked questions section on the Oman Police's website.
  • According to authorities, the e-visa will regularise the process and reduce the queues.




  1. Qatar Offers Significant Opportunities To Turkish Firms, Qatari Executive Says”, Daily Sabah, November 10, 2019
  • Qatar offers significant opportunities to Turkish companies in several sectors, including services, logistics, manufacturing and information technologies, said the chief executive officer of the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar. Qatar is proud to see an increase in the number of Turkish companies operating in the country, CEO Ali Alwaleed Al-Thani told Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday.


Saudi Arabia


  1. Amrita Singh, “Saudi Arabia Grants 50,000 Tourist Visas Since Launching”, About Her, November 6, 2019
  • Recently, the Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Ahmad Al Khateeb, announced at a meeting in Japan, that around 47,000 visas, and counting, have been issued to international visitors since launching.
  • Al Khateeb conveyed how the new visas will benefit the kingdom’s tourism sector and fall perfectly in line with Vision 2030 – Saudi Arabia’s post oil plan that looks to diversify the country’s economy beyond its reliance on oil.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Family Visa Applications And Renewals Now Available Through DubaiNow App”, Arabian Business, November 10, 2019
  • Applying, renewing and cancelling family visas can now be done through the DubaiNow app, the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has announced.
  • Using the app, residents will now be able to check on their visa status or enquire about GDRFA services. Additionally, the app allows users to review and manage family visa applications or get a new visas to bring family members to Dubai. Cancellations must still be processed through whichever GDRFA centre stamped the residence visa.






  1. Denham Sadler, “Fast-Track Tech Visa Has Arrived”, InnovationAus, November 5, 2019
  • The Global Talent – Independent Program was unveiled by the Coalition earlier this year as a “major new initiative in Australia’s immigration strategy”. The program includes a component in which Australian officials actively seeking out highly skilled workers from overseas and attracting them to the country through the offer of fast-tracked permanent residency.
  • The scheme has now officially launched, with up to 5000 visas on offer for the current financial year.
  • Applicants must be likely to earn more than $148,700 annually in Australia and be highly skilled in the seven selected industries: AgTech, FinTech, MedTech, cybersecurity, energy and mining, space and advanced manufacturing and quantum information, as well as advanced digital, data science and ICT.


  1.  Statement From The Department Of Home Affairs”, 10 Daily, November 7, 2019
  • The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, introduced in March 2018, provides regional concessions, enabling regional employers to fill essential vacancies faster.
  • The Government has streamlined processing for the new TSS visa, particularly for positions located in regional areas. Employers in regional areas are also able to access additional occupations compared to metropolitan employers.
  • Before a business or employer engages a non-citizen for work it is their responsibility to confirm if the individual can lawfully work whilst in Australia. Businesses can do this easily by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online System (VEVO) to ensure their worker are permitted to work.


New Zealand


  1. Jo Moir, “Govt Asks Immigration Changes Be Reversed Back To Status Quo”, RNZ, November 6, 2019
  • The government has asked Immigration New Zealand to reverse its tougher stance on partnership visas that was having a particular impact on the Indian community, says the Prime Minister.
  • A change in approach by immigration officials to partnership visas - insisting that couples have to spend time living together in order to be eligible - means Indians in particular are having a much harder time bringing their spouses to New Zealand.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Immigration New Zealand "carte blanche of their own backs made changes - our expectation is that we return to the way we were operating prior to the changes that were made''.


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