- Daniel Mumbere, “Kagame Takes Over AU Leadership, Commits to Visa-Free Regime”, Africa News, January 28, 2018
- The new African Union chairperson, Paul Kagame, has said that ‘Free Movement’ for Africans ‘is achievable in 2018’. Free Movement which is part of the African Prosperity Agenda would entail the implementation of continentwide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans.
- The Rwandan President made the commitment while delivering his acceptance speech as the new chairperson of the African Union at the 30th session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
- Kagame, who now takes on the mantle of steering the African Union forward indicated that women and the youth would play key roles in implementing the Africa Prosperity Agenda.
- “Cabo Verde Government Extends Visa Waiver to Attract Investments”, Macau Hub, January 26, 2018
- The Cape Verdean government plans to extend visa waivers to the citizens of the United States of America, Canada and European countries outside the Schengen space, Luís Filipe Tavares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communities, said on Thursday in Praia.
- On the visa waiver for EU and UK citizens, expected to come into force in January but postponed until May, Tavares said that the new schedule was due to “a set of technical concerns.”
- The Cape Verdean parliament this week approved a bill that grants permanent residence permits to foreign nationals who buy a second home in the archipelago.
- “Caricom Signals Interest in China’s One Belt, One Road”, Stabroek News, January 24, 2018
- According to a press release from Caricom, Foreign Ministers of the nine Caricom countries which recognise the People’s Republic of China, met with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, last Sunday, in the margins of the CELACChina Forum (CCF) Second Ministerial Meeting, which took place in Santiago, Chile, on 19-22 January, 2018.
- The Chinese Foreign Minister in his remarks noted that the achievements of CaribbeanChina cooperation is evident in infrastructural developments including roads and hospitals, visa waiver agreements that facilitate increased Chinese tourist arrivals to the Region; conclusion of extradition treaties; an increased number of Confucius Institutes; capacity building for Caricom nationals through training workshops and scholarships; and people-to-people exchanges.
St. Kitts & Nevis
- “Citizenship Programme’s Temporary Hurricane Relief Fund Yields Positive Results”, St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, January 23, 2018
- The government of St. Kitts and Nevis announced that investment recently received from the temporary module of the Citizenship by Investment Programme, the Hurricane Relief Fund, is enabling the nation to repair key infrastructure and ensure the ongoing prosperity of its people.
- The St. Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme was applauded for the approach by industry, receiving the honour of “World’s Most Innovative Investment Immigration Programme” at a Global Citizen Awards Ceremony in Russia shortly after the fund was announced.
- Les Khan, CEO of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit, says that while muchneeded funds have made their way to the nation’s people, the unit continues to prioritise the vetting and processing procedures that first categorised the programme as a premium offering.
- “US Shutdown Ends as Congress Passes Bill”, BBC News, January 23, 2018
- The US government partial shutdown is ending after Republicans and Democrats voted for a temporary funding bill. The Democratic leadership agreed to back the bill after accepting promises from Republicans for a debate later on the future of young illegal immigrants.
- The socalled continuing resolution keeps the government funded until 8 February in the hope that Congress can reach a longer-term budget agreement in the meantime.
- Lauren Gambino, “Trump Says He Supports Immigration Plan With a Pathway for Dreamers”, The Guardian, January 25, 2018
- Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would support a plan that offered a pathway to citizenship for socalled Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, as part of a broader immigration package that the White House is expected to unveil next week.
- Trump made the comments to a group of reporters assembled for a briefing on the president’s immigration plan before he departs to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. According to the Associated Press, Trump said he would be open to allowing certain immigrants to become citizens after “10 or 12 years”.
- The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said the proposal, set to unveil Monday, would reflect a “compromise that members of both parties can support” and urged the Senate to vote on the measure.
- Will Parker, “Brazilians Are Getting in on the EB-5 Game in a Major Way”, The Real Deal, January 24, 2018
- The United States welcomed 282 Brazilian immigrants last year through the EB5 investor visa program, as the country rose to become the third largest user of EB-5 visas for the first time, a new report from the U.S. Department of State shows. Brazil’s rise to number three for fiscal year 2017 came on an 88 percent increase in new visas issued year-over-year. In 2015, just 34 EB-5 visas were issued to Brazilians.
- Mainland Chinese nationals still dominate the program, which has become a key source of financing for highend residential projects in New York City in recent years. Seventy-five percent of EB-5 visas, or more than 7,500, were awarded to mainlanders in 2017. The country with the second most visas was Vietnam, with 471 visas issued.
- It’s important to point out the issuance data mostly reflects applications that were made a year or more ago, and even Brazil’s new position at number three could soon be replaced by one of two countries that currently rank high on in the waitlist for new visas: Hong Kong and India. A November 2017 report from the state department showed that of the more than 30,000 investors in line for visas, 423 were from Hong Kong and another 307 were from India.
- Suchat Sritama, “Visa-Free Travel to EU Urged by ASEAN”, Bangkok Post, January 25, 2018
- The Federation of Asean Travel Associations (Fata) is calling on the EU to offer visafree travel to Asean citizens, reciprocating the courtesy Europeans receive from Asean countries. The Asean Tourism Association (Aseanta) has further urged tourism stakeholders to work on marketing penetration. The two major tourism associations floated the proposals to public and private organisations gathered at the Asean Tourism Forum 2018, being held in Chiang Mai this week.
- Hamzah Rahmat, president of Fata, said he plans to move on a visa agreement between Asean and Europe, allowing visafree access. "Most European nationals are able to travel in Asean without a visa, so [Asean nationals] should get the same treatment," he said.
- Khy Sovuthy, “Hundreds of Foreigners Granted Citizenship”, Khmer Times, January 23, 2018
- Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday called on the government to amend the law on nationalisation and immigration, while a report from the general department of identification revealed 1,518 foreigners were granted Cambodian nationality from 2014 to 2017.
- Mr Kheng added that he recently spoke to Prime Minister Hun Sen about the law, who requested it be updated. Mr Kheng said he would create a working group taking into account stakeholders from relevant countries, while the ministry would review legal instruments to implement the changes.
- “The law states that if a foreigner had 1,250 million riel – roughly $300,000 – to invest in the country and had a home address in Cambodia, they were eligible for gaining nationality,” Gen Chandara said. He said other criteria for foreigners to be eligible included a donation of 1,000 million riel to the state in order to build the Cambodian economy, or having lived in the country for at least seven years.
- “Hainan Aims to Receive 1.3 Mln Overseas Tourists in 2020”, Xinhua, January 26, 2018
- China's resort island of Hainan has set a target of receiving more than 1.3 million overseas tourists in 2020. The tropical province aims to host a total of 74 million tourists in 2020, with revenue exceeding 90 billion yuan (14 billion U.S. dollars), provincial governor Shen Xiaoming told the local legislature Friday.
- A threeyear plan promises policies such as visa-free stays, ticket promotions and better service.
- “Hongkongers to Get Visa-Free Access to Belarus”, The Standard, January 25, 2018
- Hong Kong SAR passport holders may visit Belarus visafree for a stay of up to 14 days from February 13, the Immigration Department announced today.
- "Belarus is along the Belt and Road. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, this mutual visafree arrangement would bring greater travel convenience to the travelers of Hong Kong and Belarus and strengthen the tourism, cultural and economic ties between the two places," a government spokesman said.
- “Kazakhstan Plans to Implement Visa Free Regime With India”, Azer News, January 25, 2018
- Kazakhstan intends to implement a visafree 72-hour transit for Indian citizens. "This issue is coordinated by the state agency, but I think that we are obliged to resolve this issue. India is developing rapidly," the Minister of Culture and Sports of the country, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, said at a press conference, Kazakh media reported.
- He also stressed that the unique visafree 72-hour transit introduced for the citizens of China, which is valid until the end of 2018, already showed its effectiveness in the pilot regime.
- Zhanna Shayakhmetova, “Minister: Tourism Will Make Up 8 Percent of Kazakhstan’s GDP by 2025”, The Astana Times, January 28, 2018
- The number of domestic tourists reached 3.5 million people and increased by 25 percent in a ninemonth period of 2017, Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly told a Jan. 25 press conference in the capital.
- “We also plan to introduce electronic visas to increase the flow of inbound tourists, to develop domestic tourism with Ruhani Janghyru’s implementation and to improve the quality of tourist services in all locations […].” said the minister.
- A visafree transit regime for 72 hours for Chinese citizens travelling through Astana and Almaty will be extended until the end of 2018 after the project proved its effectiveness and safety last year. More than 4,500 Chinese citizens visited the country in three months. A similar regime is expected to be introduced for India this year.
- It is planned to introduce Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards in the management of the tourism industry this year.
- Roy Mabasa, “Filipinos Can Travel to Rwanda Without Need for a Visa – DFA”, Manila Bulletin, January 24, 2018
- Filipinos who wish to travel to the central African country of Rwanda can now do so without the need for a visa and stay there up to a maximum of 90 days. In an announcement posted on its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the visafree policy for Filipinos was granted by Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and East African Community on the basis of reciprocity.
- This new visafree policy from the central African nation actually took effect on November 16 last year, according to the DFA. Under the reciprocity agreement, Rwandan nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for a period not exceeding 30 days, provided that they hold valid tickets for their return journey or their next port of destination.
- Roy Mabasa, “Ukraine Asking PH Gov’t to Allow Visa-Free Access to Their Citizens”, Manila Bulletin, January 28, 2018
- Ukraine is asking the Philippine government to allow a visafree access to their citizens to help promote the country as a major tourist destination in the region. “My idea is to help simplify the travel procedures between Ukraine and the Philippines. So far, Ukrainians require visas to visit the Philippines, unlike (in) Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand,” said newly designated Ukraine Ambassador Olexander Nechytaylo in an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin over the weekend.
- Nechytaylo also suggested that a “visaupon-arrival” scheme could be an option to be able to encourage Ukrainians tourists to come and explore the Philippines. During the interview, Nechytaylo didn’t hide his admiration for the Filipinos whom he described as “happy people.”
- “Sector Reps Ask to Lower $1M Limit for Citizenship with Real Estate Purchases”, Daily Sabah, January 22, 2018
- Urged by the significant increase in house sales since the introduction of the reciprocity law in 2012 and the amendment to the law offering citizenship to foreigners who buy real estate worth at least $1 million, real estate players are now calling on the government to reduce the limit, emphasizing that it will boost sales to foreign investors.
- Turkey's housing sales to foreigners have presented an upward trend since 2012, the year when the parliamentary law made it easier for foreign investors to purchase real estate in the country. In 2013, a total of 12,181 houses were sold to foreigners, while this figure increased by 55.6 percent in 2014, reaching 18,959. In 2017, house sales to foreigners neared the 2015 figures and stood at 22,234.
United Arab Emirates
- John Dennehy, “Emiratis Get Visa Free Travel to Ireland”, The National, January 23, 2018
- Emiratis can now enjoy visafree travel to another country – Ireland. The move was announced on Monday and will be effective from January 31. Ireland’s minister for justice and equality, Charlie Flanagan, said the removal of visa requirements is a very significant step in boosting ties between the two countries.
- “I am very pleased we have been able to lift the visa requirement for citizens of the UAE who wish to travel to Ireland and we look forward to welcoming increased numbers of Emirati business people, students and tourists who will travel to Ireland following the lifting of the visa requirement.”
- Georgi Gotev, “DR Congo Tells Belgium to Close Development Agency, Visa Centre”, Euractive, January 26, 2018
- The Democratic Republic of Congo has told Belgium to close its development agency in the country and shutter an EU visaprocessing centre, in the latest spat between the DRC and its former colonial power. The move comes on the heels of Belgian and EU protests over a crackdown on rallies against President Joseph Kabila.
- In a press statement issued late Wednesday (24 January), the foreign ministry said the government sought the “dismantling” of a consular arrangement in Kinshasa. Under it, Belgium handles visa requests for the European Union’s borderfree Schengen zone. The government also wants the “immediate cessation” of activities by Belgium’s new development agency, Enabel, the ministry said.
- In its 10 January statement, the Belgian government said it would carry out a “fundamental revision” of cooperation with the DRC until “credible elections” were held.
- Matthew Vella, “Maltese Passport Sales to Rich Foreigners Net Over €277 Million in One Year”, Malta Today, January 23, 2018
- A total of €194 million was distributed from Malta’s sale of passports to the country’s national posterity fund, in the 12 months between July 2016 and June 2017. A further €83.3 million were passed directly into the consolidated fund, which directly funds government spending. The figures were published as part of the fourth annual report by the regulator of the Individual Investment Programme, the sale of Maltese citizenship to the global rich.
- Since 2013, there have been 566 successful main applicants. Considering that the number of successful main applicants, excluding dependents, cannot exceed 1,800 for the whole duration of the IIP, the figure constitutes 31.4% of the indicated target. As in previous years, the largest number of main applicants originated from Europe, followed by Asia and the Middle East.
- The value of the 46 purchased properties amounted to €35.2 million, an average of €767,000 per property. Globally the value of all purchased property (82) totals €71 million.
- “Fast-Track Citizenship Starts in February for Third Generation Foreigners”, Le News, January 21, 2018
- Last week Switzerland’s Federal Council announced that young foreigners whose grandparents immigrated to Switzerland or were born there, could get Swiss citizenship via a simplified procedure, starting on 15 February 2018, provided they meet certain requirements.
- Citizenship will not be automatic. All other requirements, such as paying tax, not receiving benefits, respecting the law and command of a national language are still required to obtain citizenship under the faster facilitated process.
- To qualify applicants will need to have been born in Switzerland, followed at least 5 years of compulsory Swiss school, be 25 or under, hold a Cpermit and be well integrated. In addition, at least one parent must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years and one grand parent must have had a residence permit or been born in Switzerland. Integration is determined by looking at respect for public law, order, Swiss values and participation in economic life or professional training.
- During a 5 year transitionary period, those aged 26 to 35 will be able to apply. The simplified procedure will also be open to stateless children.
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