HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 05.08.2019

Aug 06,2019



Equatorial Guinea


  1. Emiratis Can Visit Equatorial Guinea With No Pre-Entry Visas”, Gulf News, July 29, 2019
  • Emiratis will be able to visit Equatorial Guinea without preentry visas as of July 28, it was announced on Monday.
  • According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emiratis carrying diplomatic and private passports can visit Equatorial Guinea and stay up to 90 days on each visit with no preentry visas.
  • The visa waiver is in line with an agreement signed on Monday by the UAE and Equatorial Guinea, in Malabo, capital of the Central African country. The pact allows holders of diplomatic and private passports to visit both countries and stay up to 90 days without previsa requirements.
  • Meanwhile, Emiratis who hold ordinary passports can obtain a visa on arrival after paying fees. They can also stay for a maximum period of 90 days.






  1. Elise von Scheel, “Government Reinstating Some Visa Services at Embassy In Cuba”, CBC, July 29, 2019
  • The Canadian Embassy in Havana is reinstating some visa and biometric services after months of pushback from Canadians and Cubans.
  • Starting August 1, Cuban residents will again be able to get the fingerprints and photos needed for applications done at the embassy, as well as drop off passports and pick up visas at the building.


  1. Claudia Clvini, “Canada: Pakistan Added To Student Direct Stream Scheme”, The Pie News, August 2, 2019
  • Pakistan is the latest inclusion in Canada’s Student Direct Stream, a fasttrack option for applying for study permits, after the scheme was launched last year in India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • The scheme reduces processing times for visas, with most applications finalised in less than three weeks according to IRCC.
  • In order to access the benefits of SDS, prospective students need to provide additional information to show they meet language proficiency and financial requirements.
  • The expansion of the scheme meets the Canadian government’s goal of attracting students from a more diverse range of country, IRCC stated.




  1.  “Mexican Government Opens Center For Migrants, Offers 50,000 Jobs”, Prensa Latina , August 2, 2019
  • The Government of Mexico opened this Friday in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, a center for migrants on the northern border to assist foreigners returned by the United States in the process of applying for visas.
  • The building is in charge of the Undersecretary of Employment of the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare, Horacio Duarte, and will offer lodging, health services, safety and labor relations, in addition to providing kitchen, dining rooms, rooms and showers. Already 50 thousand jobs have been offered.
  • Hector Padilla, of the National Institute of Migration, and the state delegate of Welfare, Juan Carlos Loera, visited the facilities in which, they said, the government will offer comprehensive care to people who are waiting for asylum in the United States.
  • It was added that the integral strategy of 'Attention to Migrants in the Northern Border' under the charge of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador - will be operated by Undersecretary Duarte Olivares, who will guarantee that housing, health services, security and job opportunities will be offered.






  1. Anna Fifield, “China to Stop Issuing Visas For Mainlanders To Travel To Taiwan, As Tensions Mount”, The Washington Post, July 31, 2019
  • China said it would stop granting individual citizens permission to travel to Taiwan as of Thursday, citing “the current state of crossstrait relations,” a move that sparked a rush at administrative offices nationwide as would-be visitors flocked to get their documents issued.
  • It is the latest escalation in what analysts say is Beijing’s broader campaign to pressure Taiwanese voters in the leadup to next year’s presidential election.
  • China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said Wednesday that it would suspend approvals for tourist visa applications from citizens wanting to travel to Taiwan on individual trips, effective Thursday.


  1.  “Beijing Adds 3 Foreign Talent Recruitment Policies”, China.org.cn, August 2, 2019
  • Beijing enacted three new policies on Thursday aimed at recruiting highlevel foreign talents and students to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship in China.
  • The first of these policies, implemented by the National Migration Administration, allows foreign expats to take on parttime roles in innovation and startup ventures with permission from primary employers. The second lets overseas students intern at companies in Beijing for up to a year. Finally, the third policy directs local authorities to set up immigration service centers around communities with high concentrations of foreigners.
  • The three policies are the latest of 12 that Beijing has launched since 2016 to support foreign talents working in China. Highlevel professionals are also receiving preferential treatment in terms of visa processing time: their work visa processing takes three days, while other visa types take seven. Permanent residence application for high-level professionals in Zhongguancun would be processed within 50 working days, compared to as many as 180 days for other applicants.




  1. Gu Liping, “Japan To Gradually Allow Online Visa Applications For Chinese Tourists”, Ecns.cn, July 30, 2019
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Monday that Japan will offer an online application option for singleentry visas for Chinese group tourists starting July 30.
  • The minister said the move aims to simplify visa application procedures and improve the efficiency of visa services at Japanese embassies and consulates abroad.
  • The Japanese Embassy in Beijing will allow some approved travel agencies to use the online service first. As a general rule, the travel agencies should apply for a group tourist singleentry visa for Chinese travelers to the country for a stay of up to 15 days.
  • The Japanese consulate in Shanghai will offer the online service at a later date, which will then be available to all individual tourists to Japan. From April 2020, all group and individual tourists to Japan will be able to benefit from the online visa application service, with the exception of the Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong.




  1. Patricia Lourdes Viray,  “Immigration Reviewing 'Visa Upon Arrival' Scheme Amid Influx of Chinese Nationals”, PhilStar Global, August 2, 2019
  • The Bureau of Immigration has started reviewing the visas upon arrival privilege of foreigners even before the declaration of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
  • Earlier this week, the Philippines' top diplomat said the government should stop issuing visas upon arrival due to the influx of Chinese tourists in the country.
  • “We need to put an end to visas upon arrival, all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting. We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide,” Locsin tweeted July 31.
  • In a press briefing Friday, Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete said the Department of Justice is just waiting for the formal recommendation of the Immigration bureau on the visas upon arrival scheme.


Sri Lanka


  1. Samentha Rosen, “Sri Lanka Will Soon Offer Free Visas On Arrival To Help Boost Tourism”, The Points Guy UK, August 1, 2019
  • In an effort to boost tourism, the island nation of Sri Lanka will allow travelers from nearly 50 nations to get a free visa on arrival starting 1 August. The visa, which originally cost between £17 and £33, will be valid for one month and available to travelers holding passports from countries including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, China and more.
  • Tourism in Sri Lanka has been struggling since the devastating terrorist bombings that occurred in April, and making it easier for travellers to visit is just one way the country is hoping to revitalize the tourism sector. Government data shows that tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka declined about 45% in July yearover-year, USA Today reported, though there was a slight uptick from June.
  • At this time, the free visaon-arrival program appears to be temporary. An official from the tourism development ministry told Reuters, “The offer will remain for six months, and the government will assess the loss of revenue from visas after six months.”




  1. Taiwan Extends Visa-Waiver For Russians And Increases Stand At OTDYKH Leisure 2019”, eTurboNews, July 31, 2019
  • Taiwan is officially extending its visa waiver for Russian citizens until July 31, 2020 to encourage an increase in Russian tourism to the island.
  • On September 6, 2018, Taiwan announced that Russians would be allowed to visit Taiwan without visas for up to 14 days if visiting for tourism, business, to see family or for some form of international exchange. Originally the program was only to last until July 31, 2019, but the success of the initiative has meant it is now being extended until July 31, 2020.




  1. Tanyaluk Sakoot, “Health Check: Phuket Immigration Confirms Mandatory Health Insurance For O-A ‘Retirement’ Visas Not In Force”, Phuket News, August 3, 2019
  • Phuket Immigration Police Chief Col Kathathorn Kumthieng confirmed to The Phuket News this week that his office has yet to receive an order instructing his office to start enforcing the mandatory health insurance requirement, approved by the Cabinet on April 2.
  • The insurance policy must provide up to B40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to B400,000 for inpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand, Dr Natthawut Prasertsiripong, Chief of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Health Service Support, announced in May.The requirement applies to all new applicants for oneyear non-immigrant O-A visas, and for those applying to “renew” their one-year permits-to-stay, Dr Natthawut said.
  • However, as of Wednesday (July 31), no Royal Thai Embassies or consulates abroad contacted and checked by The Phuket News made any mention of the mandatory health insurance requirement in their details of visa requirements for OA visas. Likewise, Col Kathathorn confirmed to The Phuket News on Wednesday, “Mandatory health insurance is not required when applying for a one-year extension of stay on a Non-Immigrant O-A Visa.”
  • Col Kathathorn also assured that he would do his best to give “fair warning” to foreigners if the rules do change.




  1.  “Proposal To Legalise 30-Day Visa Exemption For Foreigners Entering Phú Quc Island”, Viet Nam News, August 1, 2019
  • The Ministry of Public Security is proposing to pass a regulation that allows visa exemptions for foreigners entering Phú Quc Island, Kiên Giang Province with a 30day stay period.
  • This proposal is in the draft Law on foreigners’ entry into, exit from, transit through and residence in Vit Nam (Law No 47), which will be sent to the Government before being submitted to the National Assembly for approval at the 8th session in October.






  1. Netherlands Embassy In Kenya To Issue Visas To E-Passport Holders Only”, Shengen Visa Info, July 30, 2019
  • After the German embassy in Nairobi, announced in May that Kenyans will no longer be able to get a visa to Germany with an old generation passport, the Dutch embassy in Kenya has also announced the same for Netherlands visas.
  • While from June 1 and on, Germany started issuing visas only to holders of electronic passports, Kenyans planning to travel to the Netherlands have time until December 1, this year, to obtain a new East African Community biometric ePassport.
  • According to a notice published on the official website of the Netherlands government, the Kenyan authorities have issued an official notification to all diplomatic missions that as of March 1, 2020, all Kenyan passports – except the new East African Community biometric ePassport s, will be invalid.




  1. Ukraine To Open 18 New Visa Centers In 16 Countries”, 112 UA, July 30, 2019
  • Ukraine would open 18 visa centers in 16 countries all over the globe for those foreigners willing to come to this country. The Department of Consulate Service of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry reported that on Facebook.
  • "The Foreign Ministry continues to implement the complex of measures to increase the level of consulate service for foreigners who wish to visit our country; the extension of the network of visa centers has been underway; since August 2019, it covers 74 cities," reads the message.
  • The new consulate offices will be opened in the following cities: Sydney (Australia), Kabul (Afghanistan), Minsk (Belarus), London (United Kingdom), Alexandria (Egypt), Tel Aviv (Israel), Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh (India), Doha (Qatar), Mexico City (Mexico), Hague (the Netherlands), Wellington (New Zealand), Muscat (Oman), Ramallah (Palestine), Bangkok (Thailand), Antalya (Turkey) and Paris (France).


  1. Zelensky Suggests Abolishing Visas For Number Of Countries To Promote Medical Tourism”, Unian, August 3, 2019
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his office will make a list of countries, whose citizens will be allowed to enter Ukraine for medical tourism without a visa.
  • "I think we can make a list of these countries, whose citizens wouldn't just like to see Truskavets, but come here every year for treatment and recreation," he said during a working trip to Lviv region, while taking part in the meeting on the development of the medical tourism in Ukraine, which was held in the town of Truskavets, according to the president's press service.
  • "We can make this list and submit it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," Zelensky added.






  1. Baku To Remove Visa Requirements For Turkish citizens Within "One Nation, Two States" Principle”, Vestnik, July 31, 2019
  • Azerbaijan removed the visa requirement for Turkish citizens, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday. Azerbaijan will remove visa requirements for Turkish citizens with valid passports as of Sept. 1 in line with the traditional understanding that Turkey and Azerbaijan are "one nation, two states," Çavuşoğlu said.
  • He also posted a letter from Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry to Turkey saying the action was taken as the two countries' "cultural roots, friendship, brotherhood, and solidarity are at the highest level and developing in all fields."




  1. Iran Waives Visas For Hongkongers”, Tehran Times, August 3, 2019
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced that tourists from the country will no longer need visas to make trips to Iran, Mehr reported on Friday.
  • As China Radio International reported, Iran is implementing a visawaiver program for Hong Kong's tourists who wish to stay up to 21 days in Iran.
  • Visafree validity for Chinese visitors to Iran was extended from a previously announced 15 days to 21 days, deputy tourism chief Vali Teymouri said in June, almost a month after the Iranian cabinet’s decision about putting no visa policy for Chinese tourists visiting Iran into practice.
  • The decisions are made to attract more foreign tourists to the country; however, it is a unilateral measure i.e. Iranian tourists visiting China or Hong Kong still need visas.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Dubai Eases Up On Laws Restricting Expats And Visitors”, Emigrate, August 2, 2019
  • In the past, expats looking for a destination guaranteed to both boost their careers and pay dream salaries may well have rejected Dubai as being too restrictive.
  • Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas are now supported by a number of accelerator programmes formerly only available to Emiratis but now open to foreigners. In addition, companies in a majority of sectors can now be wholly foreignowned, with only security and oil exploration restricted to Emirati citizens.
  • For expats with hospitality startups, the opening of multiple-entry ports is expected to boost tourist numbers to Dubai as it reduces both costs and hassle for visitors, and the free visas for dependents 18 years old and younger will apply for the three summer months ending in mid-September.
  • Perhaps the most welcome change of all is the granting of alcohol licenses to foreign visitors. NonMuslims can now apply for a 30-day permit allowing the purchase of alcoholic drinks from designated outlets, albeit with a warning about drinking responsibly.


  1. Paul Barbu, “Romanian Tech Start-ups Could Compete For Financing Through Dubai Platform”, Business Review, August 2, 2019
  • Romanian tech startups could compete for financing through innovative technological solutions platform launched by Dubai’s tourism industry.
  • The Department of Tourism and Commerce of Dubai (Dubai Tourism) has launched the third edition of the Futurism program, a global entrepreneurial platform dedicated to technology startups.
  • Interested startups should show technological innovation and propose solutions that contribute to the development of some futuristic themes.
  • Dubai Tourism will announce the winning startup, as well as the second-ranked competitor, who have the chance to win an EUR 25,000-prize as start-up capital. In addition to licensing, the winner will receive visas relevant to Dubai, office space and the chance to obtain new funding in the future.






  1. Australia Looks To Tighten Visa Requirements, Affecting More Kiwis With Convictions”, Stuff, July 31, 2019
  • The relationship between New Zealand and Australia could be under further strain amid proposed immigration law changes.
  • The Australian Federal Government is looking to tighten visa requirements which will affect New Zealanders with criminal offences.
  • The proposed changes mean that anyone who has committed an offence that had a penalty of two years imprisonment could have their visa cancelled even if that sentence hadn't been imposed.


  1. India To Be Included in Australia's Working Holiday Visa Programme”, The Economic Times, July 31, 2019
  • Australia plans to expand the 'Working Holiday Maker' visa programme to over a dozen countries, including India, to recruit workers to regional areas to solve the labour shortages particularly on farms, Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Wednesday.
  • The Australian government is in discussions to extend the scheme to include backpackers from 13 countries to find workers wanted by regional businesses to work on farms.
  • The Australian Government's 'Working Holiday Maker Programme', which includes the 'Working Holiday visa and the Work and Holiday visa', is a cultural exchange programme which enables young travellers to have an extended holiday and earn money through shortterm employment.
  • Apart from India, other nations which were being targeted by Australia to expand the work and holiday visa were from Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Switzerland, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Andorra, Monaco and Mongolia.



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