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HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 16.10.2018

Oct 16,2018

AFRICA

 

Ethiopia

 

  1. Oreoluwa Runsewe, “Ethiopia is Planning to Issue Visa-on-Arrival to Africans”, Ventures Africa, October 12, 2018
  • Ethiopia has promised to begin a visaon-arrival policy for Africans coming into the country soon. This was revealed by its president Mulatu Teshome while speaking at the opening of a new session of the country’s parliament this week. “A relaxed visa regime will enhance both Ethiopia’s openness and will allow the country to harness the significant stopover transit traffic of Fly Ethiopian,” he said.
  • In June 2018, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed announced that Ethiopia had begun to issue visas to visitors online, in a move many analysts think would be welcoming to foreign investors and tourists. These new policies will also strengthen stateowned airline, Ethiopian Airlines’ ability to land in many countries and boost its status as Africa’s biggest airline.
  • The African Union announced in 2016 that it would introduce a new African Union passport that would guarantee visafree travel for Africans to any country on the continent by 2020. Presently, African diplomats and presidents are using the African Union passport.

 

South Africa

 

  1. Colleta Dewa, “More African Countries to Benefit From SA Visa Relaxation”, Southern Times, October 8, 2018
  • South Africa’s department of home affairs has said more African countries are set to benefit from its visa waiving programme. The development was announced by the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba in Pretoria last week.
  • Minister Gigaba said his department will be reviewing the visa regime for most African countries in line with the African free movement agenda. “South Africa already waives visas to a number of countries. […] As called for by the 2017 White Paper on International Migration, we are reviewing our visa regime for other African countries in line with the African free movement agenda. Where we are unable to waive visas for objective risks, we will implement other measures to ease travel,” said Gigaba.
  • The department is finalising Visa Waiver Agreements for ordinary passport holders with several countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sao Tome & Principe, Tunisia, SaharawiArab Democratic Republic and Ghana. In the Middle East are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, State of Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. In Eastern Europe are Belarus and Georgia as well as Cuba in the Caribbean.

 

AMERICA

 

Dominica

 

  1. Dominica Strengthens Integrity of Citizenship Program”, Caribbean News Now, October 14, 2018
  • The government of Dominica has moved to strengthen the integrity of its citizenship by investment (CBI) program. In a letter dated October 11 it warned marketing agents against misleading the cost of investing in the country’s citizenshipby-investment program.
  • “The industry is too important to our country and for our rebuilding after hurricane Maria for us to encourage anything that will bring it into disrepute,” [Emmanuel Nanthan, head of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU)] said in an interview. “Besides the fees are stipulated by law and that’s what we have to adhere to.”
  • The government of Dominica has one of the most successful CBI programs in the world. It has been widely praised for helping the country recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Last year it received nearly 2,000 CBI applications and is expected to contribute about 50 percent of government revenue over the next 12 months.

 

ASIA

 

India

 

  1. Anirban Chowdhury, “India Fastest-Growing Nation for Green Card Visas”, The Economic Times, October 11, 2018
  • India is the fastest growing nation for US EB5 applications, or green card visas, as the country’s wealthy individuals, businessmen, and MNC executives are planning investments in the world’s biggest economy to secure a future for themselves and their children.
  • Last year, India accounted for 500 of a total of 10,000 EB5 applications in the US. India currently stands fifth after China, Vietnam, South Korea and Brazil in terms of the absolute number of applications. But the trends are changing.

 

Iraq

 

  1. Iraq Signs New Visa-Free Agreements to Elevate Low-Ranking Passport”, Rudaw, October 11, 2018
  • Following a new survey that ranks the Iraqi passport as the lowest in the world, the foreign ministry says that Iraqi citizens will be able to travel to several new countries visa free beginning next year thanks to a series of agreements reached with foreign governments. "The foreign ministry continues its efforts and we've signed a few memorandums of understanding about our diplomatic, service and ordinary passports and traveling for tourism visa free," Ahmed Mahjoub, the spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
  • Mahjoub said the world passport ranking was outside the control of the Iraqi foreign ministry and countries draw their visa rules "by taking into account the security and economic situation" of other countries.

 

Japan

 

  1. Japan to Introduce Electronic Visa System for Tourists: Report”, Channel News Asia, October 15, 2018
  • Japan will introduce an electronic tourist visa application system in April 2020, with visa data to be shared with airlines. In a report quoting government sources on Sunday (Oct 14), the Japan Times said the initiative was aimed at helping Japan achieve its goal of 60 million foreign visitors a year by 2030.
  • The online system will first be available to Chinese tourists for singleentry visa applications. Citing Japan’s Foreign Ministry, the report said tourist visas for Chinese visitors accounted for nearly 60 per cent of all the visas issued in 2017.
  • The government also reportedly plans to add other types of visas to the new system. Singapore citizens are issued a 90day temporary visitor visa upon arrival in Japan. No separate or prior applications are necessary. Visitors from Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States are also granted visas upon arrival.

 

Jordan

 

  1. Jordan Eases on Mothers Marrying Foreigners”, Al-bawaba, October 10, 2018
  • On September 10, the Cabinet decided to scrap a condition stipulating a fiveyear continuous residency requirement for mothers, stressing that the identification cards issued to their children will be considered a valid ID by government agencies.
  • Rami Wakeel, one of the lead campaigners of “My mother is Jordanian and her nationality is a right for me”, said the recent government’s step is a “positive one but we still have a long way to go in terms of obtaining our full rights”, adding “several government agencies and financial institutions still do not acknowledge our IDs when we want to obtain official paperwork”.
  • Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently welcomed the decision of the Jordanian Cabinet to “remove a barrier to services for noncitizen children of Jordanian women”. However, the measure does not ensure full equality in citizenship laws for Jordanian women and their children, the watchdog group said. The change enables more children to benefit from a 2014 reform, which purported to ease restrictions on their access to basic economic rights and government services by eliminating a requirement that their mothers must live in Jordan for five continuous years. But this step will not dramatically improve the lives of non-citizen children without further reforms that ensure full equality, according to a HRW statement.

 

Myanmar

 

  1. Visa-Free Entry to Myanmar for Macao Passport Holders”, Khmer Times, October 15, 2018
  • Passport holders of China’s Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) were granted visafree access to Myanmar, the Macao SAR’s identification services bureau said in a press release on Wednesday.
  • Holders of the Macao SAR passport can enter Myanmar for tourism through Yangon International Airport, Mandalay International Airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, Yangon international seaport, MyanmarThailand land border checkpoints and Myanmar-India land border checkpoints for a maximum stay of 30 days, the bureau said.
  • This new measure was put into use on a trial basis for one year starting from October 1 this year.

 

Saudi Arabia

 

  1. Gulf Capitalists Urged to Pursue US Investor Program to Help Create Employment in America”, Saudi Gazette, October 13, 2018
  • “The US Congress passed a reauthorization of the EB5 program until December this year that will help the residents of the UAE and the Gulf to avail Green Cards without the delays facing investors from other countries ,” Stephen Strnisha, a Board Officer of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), the EB-5 industry trade association, and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland International Fund (CIF), said.
  • “This is a positive development for all interested individuals in the Middle East, where there is no retrogression and experienced regional centres like CIF providing strong offerings with some of the best economic terms available for investor consideration,” Stephen Strnisha, who addressed potential investors in Dubai this weekend, says.
  • Based on current USCIS processing times and for individuals from countries not impacted by retrogression the estimated time for receiving a conditional green card is approximately 23 years from funding and filing. The estimated time to achieve permanent residency (upon approval of the I-829) for the same group of investors is 5-6 years. The variance in this number and largest factor driving it is the time it takes USCIS to process applications.

 

Singapore

 

  1. Singapore Immigration Testing Use of e-Arrival Cards”, Asia One, October 9, 2018
  • Singapore’s introduction of electronic arrival cards for visitors has received mixed reactions from Malaysians. The paperless system, which started last Thursday on a threemonth trial, is expected to replace the use of embarkation/disembarkation cards.
  • With the electronic arrival card, travellers can submit their personal data and trip details through the ICA website or via mobile application before their arrival. They would then only need to produce their passports for immigration clearance. The electronic arrival card that has been filled in advance will then be called up by ICA’s immigration system.
  • SME Association of Malaysia past president Teh Kee Sin said the trial period should be extended to over three months to ensure that travellers familiarised themselves with it.

 

Taiwan

 

  1. Joseph Yeh, “New EU Security System Will Not Affect Taiwan’s Visa-Free Status: EETO”, Focus Taiwan News Channel, October 14, 2018
  • A new border security system scheduled to be launched in 2021 by the European Union will continue to allow visafree entry by nationals of countries and areas that already have such status, including Taiwan, but will require completion of an easily obtained travel authorization document, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taipei said Saturday.
  • "Nationals of visa liberalization countries will continue to travel to the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorization via ETIAS prior to their travel," the EETO said in a statement. It said the ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitorfriendly system that will issue a positive response within a few minutes, in more than 95 percent of the cases.
  • The ETIAS is being introduced by the EU, to take effect in 2021, as an automated system to identify any security or irregular migratory risks posed by visaexempt visitors travelling to the Schengen area.

 

Thailand

 

  1. The Advantages of Thais Purchasing Real Estate Under Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program”, Bangkok Post, October 14, 2018
  • Portugal started 2018 with a renewed confidence, showing a growing forecast and strong dynamism in several sectors, such as real estate and tourism. Over 359 million euros were invested in commercial real estate during the first quarter of 2017.
  • Sales have increased hugely in 2017 and the market has seen a significant shift in buyers' profile as increasing numbers of investors realise the potential of the Portuguese real estate sector. There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership in Portugal and transaction costs are generally low, which is one main reason why it's catching interest from Thai investors.
  • What is known as the "Golden Visa" was launched in October 2012 by the Portuguese Authorities in order to attract foreign investment to the country. This visa is now internationally recognised as being one of the most attractive residency programs for investors in the world, in part due to the minimal 7 days within the first year and 14 days every period of 2 years residency requirement. As of 1 January 2017, Portuguese citizens had visafree or visa on arrival access to over 160 countries and territories, ranking the Portuguese passport 3rd in the world in terms of mobility (tied countries include Canada, Greece and Japan).

 

Turkey

 

  1. Turkey to Ease Foreign Investors’ Citizenship Process”, Hurriyet Daily News, October 14, 2018
  • Turkey will open service offices to ease citizenship or longterm residence permit procedures for foreign investors, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Oct. 13. Last month, the country has reduced required limits for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship in order to encourage investment.
  • “Service offices will be opened in Istanbul and Ankara to follow an finalize citizenship or longterm residency permit processes for foreign visitors who met the conditions in a single location,” the ministry said in a written statement.
  • Foreigners, who want to be a citizen of Turkey, need to make a $500,000 investment, buy real estate worth $250,000 or generate jobs for at least 50 people. The ministry said offices, which will open on Oct. 22, will check conditions, support investors and provide consultancy and follow applications.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

  1. UAE, Mexico Citizens to Enjoy Visa-Free Travel Agreement”, Al-bawaba, October 14, 2018
  • The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico have exchanged a diplomatic memorandum of understanding (MoU) on visa exemption whereby citizens with regular passports of both countries will be allowed visafree entry.
  • Al Menhali praised the historic occasion and described it as the crowning of their intense bilateral efforts while noting its advantages. He also thanked the Mexican authorities, who contributed to its success. De Icaza thanked Al Menhali on behalf of the Mexican Government and congratulated the UAE's wise leadership while wishing them further progress and prosperity.

 

EUROPE

 

Belarus

 

  1. Number of U.S. Tourists to Belarus Up by Amost 50% on Visa-Waiver”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, October 8, 2018
  • The number of tourists from the United States to Belarus has increased by almost 50%, Belarus' Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA informs.
  • An exhibition of sporting achievements of Belarus has opened in the UN headquarters. It has been organized in the runup to the 2nd European Games which will take place in Minsk next year. “Our goal is to draw the attention of the UN community to the sporting achievements of Belarus and invite everyone to attend the European Games next year. By the way, we will waive visas for all athletes and fans for the period of the games. All the guests are welcome,” Vladimir Makei said.

 

Cyprus

 

  1. Nigel Howarth, “Continuing Rise in Property Sales (Update)”, Cyprus Property News, October 11, 2018
  • Property sales have been rising for 17 consecutive months and this September rise follows a rise of 14% in August, 21% in July and 2% in June.
  • During September a total of 687 contracts for the sale of residential and commercial properties and land (building plots and fields) were deposited at Land Registry offices, compared with the 602 deposited in September 2017. Of the 687 contracts deposited, 302 (44.0%) were for properties purchased by nonCypriots.
  • The figures show a continuing improvement in the economic conditions, coupled with government measures such as the citizenship by investment scheme (aka ‘Passports for Cash’ scheme.)

 

Serbia

 

  1. Serbia Ends Visa-Free Travel for Iranians, Citing ‘Abuses’ By Some”, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, October 12, 2018
  • Serbia has scrapped visafree entry for Iranians little more than year after it was introduced out of concern that some Iranians were using the system as an avenue to permanently relocate to Europe. The Serbian government's move to abolish Iran's visa-free status on October 11 came amid claims that it was being "abused" by Iranian migrants seeking to illegally enter the European Union once they got to Serbia.
  • Serbia, which is a candidate to join the EU but is not yet a member, borders EU member nations like Croatia. EU officials reportedly have been considering canceling visafree entry for Serbia's citizens unless the Balkan country reintroduced visas for Iranians.

 

United Kingdom

 

  1. Jamie Grierson, “No Plans to Drop Visa Exemption for Medics, Says Sajid Javid”, The Guardian, October 12, 2018
  • The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has sought to assuage concerns among medics after it emerged that a decision to allow many more overseas doctors and nurses to work in the NHS was temporary. The letter, written in June and released by the Home Office on Thursday, said doctors and nurses would be exempt from the cap on tier 2 work visas for nonEU nationals on a temporary basis and the change would be kept under review.
  • But on Friday the home secretary said he had no plans to remove the exemption. Javid tweeted: “In June I took action to exempt doctors and nurses from annual cap on skilled visas. Let me be clear: whilst all immigration rules kept under review, I have no plans to remove the exemption.”
  • The NHS in England has almost 10,000 vacancies for doctors, the most since records began, the regulator NHS Improvement said last month.

 

OCEANIA

 

Australia

 

  1. Rachel Baxendale, “New Incentives Will be Offered to Migrants Who Settle Outside Cities”, The Australian, October 9, 2018
  • Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge has this afternoon flagged key planks of the government’s soonto-be-­released population policy, ­including fundamental structural changes to federal and state ­government management of population distribution and infrastructure planning, as revealed in today’s Australian.
  • New migrants will be forced to live outside Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland for up to five years, and the government will consider funding fastrail projects to tackle urban congestion caused by the population growth.
  • “We could do that through a combination of incentives and some conditions. “We haven’t outlined the exact details here yet, but it’s a relatively straightforward thing to be able to provide incentives for people to go to some of the regional areas or some of the smaller states.”

 

 

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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.