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HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 03.10.2017

Oct 03,2017

AMERICA

 

Canada

 

  1. Richard Florida & Joshua Gans, “Trump is Making Canada Great Again”, POLITICO Magazine, October 1, 2017
  • Canada is specifically recruiting the skilled, ambitious talent that drives innovation and economic growth, including top thinkers and workers in technology and industry. […] And Canadian cities—particularly Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, which rate among the best places in the world to live—are attracting more venture capital to fund the tech industry, on par with American tech hubs like Seattle and Austin.
  • In Canada, immigrants today comprise about a third of all adults with a university degree.Canadian immigration law also makes it much easier for foreign students to remain in Canada after they graduate, so they are able to make a more direct and lasting contribution to the Canadian economy. […]
  • And Canada’s large cities are no economic slouches. Toronto ranks seventh among global financial centers—second only to New York in North America—and both Montreal and Vancouver number among the top 20.

 

  1. Nicholas Keung, “Raising Immigration Levels Would Benefit Canada, Study Finds”, The Toronto Star, October 2, 2017
  • Raising Canada’s current annual intake of 300,000 immigrants could greatly help Canadians overcome the mounting challenges posed by an aging population and low birth rate, the Conference Board of Canada says. “Immigration has a small effect on domestic workers. As such, it does not appear likely that higher levels would have an adverse impact on wages and employment rates in Canada.”
  • The projections were made assuming the composition of immigrants remains unchanged: 60 per cent in economic class, 28 per cent in family class and 12 per cent as refugees. In the status quo scenario, the country’s GDP, or economic performance, would grow at an average annual rate of 1.85 per cent between 2017 and 2040.
  • “With Canada becoming more reliant on immigrants to meet its labour market needs, the success of its immigration system will greatly depend on its ability to improve the labour market outcomes of immigrants, expand its absorptive capacity and maintain public support for immigration.”

 

Dominica

 

  1. Commonwealth of Dominica, “’Business as Usual”: Citizenship by Investment Unit Continues Processing Applications for Citizenship Despite Island’s Challenges”, Citizenship by Investment Unit, September 28, 2017
  • Owing to the rigorous processes that have been established over years of refinement, the Unit has had minimal disturbance to the processing of applications, and continues to provide the product that has been widely acclaimed as the world's best citizenship by investment programme. Infrastructural damage to the department's building is minimal, and all lines of communications have been restored, including emails and phone lines.
  • Dominica's Citizenship by Investment Programme was recently ranked the top programme in the world by the Financial Times' Professional Wealth Management magazine. The four indicators for which the programme received 100% Ease of Processing, Minimum Investment Outlay, Due Diligence, and Mandatory Travel or Residence - remain unchanged and unaffected by the latest hurricane events.

 

St. Kitts & Nevis

 

  1. St. Kitts & Nevis Signs Visa Waiver Agreement with Russia”, Jamaica Observer, September 25, 2017
  • A visa waiver agreement has been signed between the Dr Timothy Harris led St Kitts/Nevis in the Caribbean and the Russian Federation.
  • The agreement, signed on Friday by St Kitts/Nevis Foreign Minister Mark Brantley and his Russian counterpart H E Serguey Lavrov allows citizens of both countries to travel for up to 90 days to each other's countries without the need for a visa.
  • The visa waiver signing brings to 12 the number of countries which have recently signalled similar agreements with St Kitts/Nevis. The visa waiver takes effect 60 days from the date of signing.

 

  1. Government of St. Kitts & Nevis, “St. Kitts and Nevis Signs Visa Waiver Agreement with the Republic of Indonesia”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 27, 2017
  • […] The Foreign Minister Honourable Mark Brantley, on behalf of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis signed a reciprocal Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic and Service/Official passports with Her Excellency Retno Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia.
  • This Agreement builds on the unilateral decision by the Government of Indonesia to exempt holders of ordinary passports of St. Kitts and Nevis, through Indonesia’s Presidential Decree in 2016. Therefore, all nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis can travel without hassle to the Republic of Indonesia for leisure and for cultural exchange.

 

  1. Government of St. Kitts & Nevis, “St. Kitts and Nevis Establishes Diplomatic Relations with Lao People’s Democratic Republic”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 27, 2017
  • St. Kitts and Nevis continues to advance its SouthSouth cooperation with the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which took place at the United Nation’s Headquarters in New York, USA, Sept. 23.
  • His Excellency Saleumxay Kommasith, minister of foreign affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, eagerly welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations with St. Kitts and Nevis. Foreign Minister Kommasith was also excited to pursue a reciprocal visa exemption agreement between both countries at the soonest positive time.

 

St. Lucia

 

  1. Saint Lucia and UAE Sign Visa Waiver Agreement, Strengthen Technical Cooperation”, St. Lucia News, September 25, 2017
  • The Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday 21st September 2017 signed a visa waiver agreement for citizens of Saint Lucia and citizens of the UAE. The agreement was signed by the Honourable Allen M. Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Dr. Thani bin Ahmed AlZeyoudi, Minister for Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, in the margins of the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York.
  • The exemption will take effect 30 days after the date of signing and will permit visa free entry to holders of the exempt passports and a stay for a maximum of 60 days.

 

United States

 

  1. EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended to December 8, 2017”, JD Supra, September 25, 2017
  • The extension of the authorization until December 8, 2017 was part of the legislation (known as H.R. 601) signed into law by President Trump on September 8, 2017. […] The regular direct EB5 program did not have an expiration date and continues to be available.
  • The extension of the Regional Center authorization allows USCIS to continue to process applications until December 8, 2017 or until further legislative action.

 

  1. Grinding for H-1B: Families Opt for EB-5 ‘Investor Visas’”, The Siasat Daily, September 26, 2017
  • EB5 visas also known as ‘Investor visas’ has achieved top position in inquiry by parents and students [in India]. With H-1B work visas processing getting tougher, investor visas have shot into the limelight.
  • Of the 90 EB5 visas issued to Indians between October 1, 2015, till September 30, 2016, 76 were for investments via regional centres. While figures of such visas granted to Indians are still in two digits, it is a sharp rise from just five such visas issued in 2005.
  • Investors are granted a “conditional” permanent residence for themselves, spouse and children below the age of 21. After two years, they have to apply for lifting of the “conditions”. If approved, they and their family can permanently live and work in the USA.

 

ASIA

 

Iraq

 

  1. Iraq Gov’t: Expats Can Exit Kurd Region Via Baghdad Visa-Free”, Middle East Monitor, October 2, 2017
  • Foreign nationals in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region will be allowed to return to their home countries via Baghdad visafree, the Iraqi government announced Monday. In a statement, Iraqi Interior Minister Qassem al-Araji said all foreign nationals residing in territories controlled by the Erbil-based Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) “can transit through Iraq to return to their home countries without obtaining prior visas or paying fines”.
  • The move comes in the wake of last week’s illegitimate referendum in which Iraqis in KRGheld areas — and in a handful of areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil — voted on whether or not to declare formal independence from Iraq.

 

Israel

 

  1. Tzvi Lev, “Coming Soon – US to Ease Visa Requirements for Israelis”, Arutz Sheva, October 2, 2017
  • Israel and the United States are in negotiations to establish a joint fingerprint database, which will be a significant step forward in granting blanket visa exemptions for Israelis wishing to enter the United States.
  • The Justice Ministry has been in contact with the relevant authorities in the Trump administration and aims to grant the United States access to Israel's fingerprint database while also protecting the privacy of Israeli citizens. Israel would also need to change existing privacy laws in order to grant the United States access.
  • In 2016, Israel announced that its visa refusal rate to the United States dropped from 8.2% in 2014 to 3.8% in 2015, just above the 3% limit for countries wishing to enter the program.

 

Malaysia

 

  1. Tighter Rules Against Malaysians Who Lose Passports Habitually”, Today Online, September 29, 2017
  • The Malaysian government plans to be stricter with citizens who lose their passports repeatedly, by imposing heavier replacement fees, shorter validity periods and the compulsory declaration of travel plans before departing Malaysia effectively placing such individuals on the “watch list” database.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, said on Tuesday that Malaysian passports made up a significant portion of the 76 million passports worldwide that had been reported stolen or missing.
  • Those applying for a new passport after losing theirs will be “investigated” by the Immigration Department, he said. This is how the department establishes if the applicant had been careless, or that there had been other “suspicious” circumstances behind the new application.

 

Oman

 

  1. Oman Eases Visa Rules for Tourists From India, China, and Russia”, Arab News, October 1, 2017
  • “All passengers from India, China and Russia, who reside in or hold an entry visa to one of the following countries (United States of America, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Schengen states) are allowed to obtain nonsponsored tourist visa to enter Oman as per the applied terms and conditions of the authorities,” a statement from the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said.
  • The nonsponsored tourist visa, at 20 Omani rials (SR195) and valid for one month, also allows holders to bring with them their spouses and children during their stay in Oman. They however must obtain return tickets and confirmed hotel reservations before they are issued the visas.

 

Philippines

 

  1. Jess Macy Yu, “Taiwan to Allow Visa-Free Entry for Visitors From Philippines”, Reuters, September 28, 2017
  • Taiwan will allow visafree entry for visitors from the Philippines in hopes that the Southeast Asian nation will reciprocate the gesture, a spokesman for the self-ruled island’s cabinet said on Thursday. Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines, which recognizes the “one China” policy under which Manila acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it.
  • Whether the visafree policy takes effect in October or November is to be decided by the foreign ministry, said Hsu Kong-yung, the spokesman of Taiwan’s executive yuan, or cabinet. “After we open up the visa-free arrangements, in view of equal mutual benefits, we also hope they will make visa-free arrangements with Taiwan,” he told a news conference.

 

Taiwan

 

  1. Philippines to Offers Reciprocal Travel Policy for Taiwanese Visitors: MECO”, Taiwan News, September 29, 2017
  • The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei said the Philippines is planning to loosen visa requirements for Taiwanese visitors as a reciprocal action after Taiwan's premiere approved visafree entry to Taiwan for a duration of 14 days for Filipinos.
  • In an interview with CNA, MECO Chairman and Resident Representative Angelito Banayo lauded Taiwan's 14day visa-free program for Filipinos and said the new regulation will boost the relationship between two countries. He also added that MECO is working to provide a corresponding visa policy for Taiwanese visitors to the Philippines.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1. UAE Signs Visa Deal With Three Countries”, Trade Arabia, September 22, 2017
  • The UAE has signed MoUs with Vanuatu, Saint Lucia and El Salvador to exempt UAE nationals and citizens from these countries from obtaining preentry visas for travel to the respective countries.
  • The MoU [for Vanuatu] shall enter into force 30 days after the date of its formal signature. [For St. Lucia and El Salvador], the agreement will take effect from the date of completion of constitutional procedures in both countries.

 

EUROPE

 

Belarus

 

  1. Number of Visa-Free Visitors to Belarus Reaches 52,000”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, September 25, 2017
  • As many as 52,000 tourists have taken advantage of the visafree entry to Belarus, Belarusian Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi told a press conference in the BelTA press center on 25 September.
  • “Belarus has welcomed 52,000 tourists since the launch of the visafree entry,” Mikhail Portnoi remarked. He said the country is now looking into extending the duration of visa-free stay to ten days. According to the deputy minister, the country is also considering extending the visa-free area onto some other checkpoints in addition to Minsk National Airport.

 

  1. Terms of Visa-Stay of Foreigners in Belarus May Be Increased to 10 Days”, Belteleradio, September 25, 2017
  • The term of visafree stay of foreigners in Belarus is proposed to be increase from 5 to 10 days. This was reported today by the Deputy Minister of Sport and Tourism.
  • Now the decision is coordinated with other agencies. Special conditions of stay in our country will be offered to the Chinese guests. a 30day visa-free entry for them will be provided.

 

  1. German, Polish Tourists Flock to Belarus Thanks to Visa-Free Regime”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, September 27, 2017
  • The majority of tourists benefiting from the visafree travel to Belarus come from Germany and Poland, Belarus' Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi told the media on 27 September.
  • "The load of Minsk National Airport has increased by 27%. Belarus welcomes most of its visafree tourists from Germany, Poland, Italy, the United States and the UK. Large-scale marketing campaigns were held, including on the main targeted markets," he said.

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Elias Hazou, “Stricter Controls on Agents Selling Investor Passports”, Cyprus Mail, September 26, 2017
  • The government is in the process of revising its citizenshipthrough-investment scheme, following complaints voiced by European politicians and negative press coverage abroad. It’s understood the tweaks will mainly involve imposing stricter controls on intermediaries, who receive a handsome commission. These are either real estate agents or lawyers.
  • A register of agents certified to promote the scheme is to be created, with the members required to abide by a code of ethics, a government source speaking on condition of anonymity told the Cyprus Mail.
  • Overall, however, the system is robust, as applicants are thoroughly vetted with the assistance of domestic and international agencies – such as Interpol – to ensure that they are not a security risk to Cyprus or the EU. Any applicants with criminal records are automatically rejected.

 

  1. New Luxury Properties Add to Investment Allure”, Global Times, September 28, 2017
  • The One, an iconic tower located along Limassol’s crystalline Mediterranean coast, has provided Cyprus with a fresh supply of modern residential space. At 37 floors, Cyprus’ tallest residential building, The One was opened last year by Pafilia Group, which has since sold 60% of the tower. “With the launching of The One, Pafilia transformed the coastline of Limassol,” says Eva Eliadou, executive director of Pafilia Group.
  • Foreign interest in Cypriot property is buoyed by a visa program that allows investors to acquire permanent residency with a €300,000 investment, or full EU citizenship with €2 million.

 

Moldova

 

  1. Ana Maria Touma, “Moldova Offers Passports to Cash-Rich Foreigners”, Balkan Insight, September 28, 2017
  • Moldova’s proEuropean government on Wednesday adopted new regulations on granting citizenship to foreigners who invest significant sums in the country. According to the government website, any foreigner who invests at least 250,000 euros for five years into real estate or government bonds or lends at least 100,000 euros to the country's public investment fund is eligible for citizenship.
  • However, the new regulations say the foreign investor has to prove he knows the Moldovan constitution, will abide by its provisions, have a good financial reputation and should not pose a risk to state security.

 

Russia

 

  1. Tokyo Praises Visa-Free Travel to the Southern Kuril Islands”, TASS, September 25, 2017
  • Japan’s government believes that visafree travel to the Southern Kuril Islands made on September 23-24 by their former residents and people who accompanied them helped deepen mutual understanding between the two nations, a spokeswoman for the Japanese Foreign Ministry told TASS today.
  • "This was a special trip to visit the tombs of (our) ancestors," she said. "We believe that its organization had a special importance from the perspective of deeper mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and Russia.”

 

  1. Russia Promises Foreigners Citizenship if They Invest $10M in the Far East”, The Moscow Times, September 28, 2017
  • The Russian government is offering simplified Russian citizenship in exchange for a $10million investment in the Far East. During his visit to Vladivostok this month, President Vladimir Putin ordered ministers to attract investment to the region.
  • The latest draft law from the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East strikes down residence and language requirements, as well as the need for aspiring Russians to renounce their current citizenship, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday.
  • Candidates are allowed to pick any Far East investment scheme as long as they complete it within two years of applying for citizenship. After being granted Russian citizenship, the investor is required to retain ownership of his or her asset for at least three years.

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Lisa O’Carroll, “EU Citizens Will Not Be Fingerprinted or Need ID Cards, Say Officials”, The Guardian, September 25, 2017
  • The Home Office has sought to reassure EU citizens that they will not be fingerprinted or need ID cards after Brexit just weeks after a leaked immigration document suggested new registration rules would apply. Senior officials also told activists who head the3million campaign group that EU citizens already in the UK will not have to meet a minimum income threshold or have private health insurance to stay in the country after Brexit.
  • The Home Office has indicated to the3million that the new registration system would result in a “digital” document and not a card to be carried around.

 

 

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The material contained in this Publication is solely intended to inform readers of general legal information and/or developments. It is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as a legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Harvey Law Group (“HLG”) is not liable and in any way responsible for any harm or damages resulting from the use of the information contained on this Publication for legal or any other purposes. All rights reserved.