Visa Champions

Saturday, 16 June 2018

UK launches review of monthly visa cap to ease entry for professionals

As part of the immigration changes, the government said it would ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the composition of the Shortage Occupation List

The UK government tabled changes to its immigration policy in Parliament, which includes a review of its strict visa quotas available to professionals from countries like India.

As part of the immigration changes, the government said it would ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the composition of the Shortage Occupation List.

This is likely to further ease up the visa regime for businesses to be able to bring in professionals from countries like India to work in the UK. The Indian IT sector is among those expected to benefit from the easing up of the cap, a move welcomed by Indian industry.

“Coming in the wake of long-standing demand from Indian professionals, the news to ease the Tier 2 visa category by the British government is a welcome development. This move will certainly smoothen the movement of highly-skilled professionals and increase overall competitiveness of the UK industry in the long run,” said Rashesh Shah, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"FICCI has always stood for a free, fair and transparent UK visa regime for ensuring and promoting vibrant trade and economic relations between the two countries,” he said.

In an announcement in the lead up to the parliamentary statement, the government had already announced that doctors and nurses from countries outside the European Union (EU) would be exempt from its Tier 2 (General) visa limit to address particular shortages and pressures facing the state-funded National Health Service (NHS).

With doctors and nurses exempt from the current monthly quota of 1,600, the Tier 2 category is expected to free up places for other key professions.

“Businesses will welcome these reforms as a good first move. International skills and talent are a core foundation of the Global Britain employers want to help build,” said Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director for the Confederation of British Industry.

"A successful migration system should focus on people's contribution to the UK economy and society, not numbers. Until our immigration system is reformed to reflect this, including scrapping the net migration target, businesses will continue to struggle to get the people they need to create jobs and growth,” he said.

A number of further changes to the UK's visa routes include opening up the exceptional talent visa to include leading fashion designers.

They will have their application assessed by the British Fashion Council under the endorsement remit of Arts Council England (ACE), one of the existing five endorsing bodies on that route.

"Today's changes show that we are able to adapt to meet the demands of our frontline services and ensure we are able to attract people who can bring real benefits to our creative industries,” said UK immigration minister Caroline Nokes.

The Tier 2 visa route, which has had an annual cap of 20,700 since 2011, has in recent months seen the number of applications exceed the monthly allocation of available places. This has been driven, in large part, by demand from the NHS, which accounts for around 40 percent of all Tier 2 places.

"I recognise the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months. Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the UK. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. This is about finding a solution to increased demand and to support our essential national services,” said UK home secretary Sajid Javid.

The exclusion of doctors and nurses from the cap comes as the UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he is putting in place long-term measures to increase the supply of domestic doctors, including increasing the number of training places.

“Overseas staff have been a vital part of our NHS since its creation 70 years ago...It's fantastic that patients will now benefit from the care of thousands more talented staff," said Hunt.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

World Cup 2018: Visa-free visitors card for football fans

BRUNEIANS travelling to the Russian Federation to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 are advised to apply for a personalised visitors card or FAN ID which provides visa-free multiple entries into Russia over the period of the football tournament.

The FAN ID will ensure a comfortable and safe visit to Russia for all international citizens and free travel on the matches’ days to the 11 host cities as well as visit tourist destinations during their stay.

This was highlighted by Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Brunei Darussalam Vladlen Semivolos during a press conference for the upcoming World Cup Weekend on May 12 and 13 at the Royal Brunei Recreation Club recently. Bruneians planning to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia should take advantage of Visa-Free FAN ID by applying in advance on the www.fan-id.ru website. They are required to key in the ticket reservation number and personal details in the application.

“Currently, Bruneians enjoy a 14-day visa-free travel to Russia; however, with this FAN ID, you can stay for almost a month during the football tournament from June 14 to July 15,” he said.

The ambassador also revealed that 1,698,049 tickets have been allocated to fans worldwide since sales started in September last year, with the overall international demand accounting for 53 per cent.

During the latest allocation window on March 13, a total of 394,433 tickets were purchased by fans across the world at FIFA.com/tickets. The top 10 countries from abroad includes USA, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, China, Germany, Australia and India.

Thirty-two teams will take part in the football tournament playing in 12 football arenas hosted by 11 cities across the Russian Federation. The largest venue is the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow with 81,000 seats capacity.

Wolf Zabivaka won the rights to be the official mascot for the upcoming World Cup. Zabiavaka means ‘the one who scores’ in Russian who radiates fun, charm and confidence.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

India to open an embassy in Togo, by 2021

World’s seventh largest economy, India, plans to open in Togo an embassy by 2021, to increase its diplomatic influence. Besides Togo’s, 17 other similar institutions are planned over the period. Other countries concerned include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Sao Tomé & Principles, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Swaziland.

India, which should according to forecasts, become the fifth largest economy this year, beating France and UK, is looking for new outlets.

This is why it is showing more interest in Africa which has a great potential for resources and significant demographic growth rate. In fact, the continent could have the world’s largest population in a few decades.

New Delhi’s current objective is to “boost economic cooperation between India and Africa, and strengthen ties with Indian diaspora living in Africa”. Moreover, the country wants to catch up on China which is many steps ahead in Africa, by leveraging on its private sector.

India, which is the world’s second most populated country, with 2.5 million natives living in Africa, presently has 29 embassies across this continent.

How to sponsor UAE residence visa in 'special cases'

am a Pakistani national married to a woman who has a son from her previous husband, who is no more. My wife intends to sponsor the UAE residency visa of this son. I have a 'no-objection certificate' issued by the Court in Pakistan, death certificate of the deceased husband of my wife and birth certificate of her son. How do I apply for his visa?

You should first notariise and legalise all the aforementioned documents in Pakistan from a notary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and then by the Embassy of UAE in Pakistan. Upon the legalisation of these documents in Pakistan, the said papers need to be attested by Ministry of Foreigners Affairs and International Co-operation in the UAE. Thereafter, you may make an application as a special case for residence visa to The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Department (the 'DNRD'), for the son of your wife. The approval of the application is solely at the discretion of DNRD. For further queries, you may contact the department.

Know the law

After legalisation of documents in Pakistan and attestations in UAE, one can make an application as a special case for residence visa to DNRD for son from your wife's previous marriage.

Qatar may scrap exit visa laws in coming weeks, experts say

Labor experts have expressed hope that a controversial visa system requiring workers to obtain permission of employers before leaving the state of Qatar could be abolished within a fortnight.

The possibility was highlighted Sunday after Qatar opened an office for the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Doha.

Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said the inauguration of ILO office marked a real change in Qatar’s approach to the international concerns regarding the situation of workers in the small Persian Gulf country.

“We are looking now about the final details of the exit visa, we expect a deal within the next two weeks,” said Burrow, who was once known as vocal critic of Qatar's labor laws.

Other sources confirmed that negotiations were underway on exit visa, saying Qatar and the ILO would soon announce a deal on the issue.

Rights campaigners have for long criticized Qatar for the controversial exit visa system which they say was a clear sign of the exploitation of around two million migrant workers in the country.

The criticism increased after Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, prompting authorities to promise genuine reforms in the labor laws.

Qatar’s labor minister Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi personally inaugurated the ILO office in Doha and said the development showed Qatar was willing to respond to concerns about its treatment of the foreign workforce.

“The Government of Qatar now has another partner to promote and protect the rights of our guest workers,” said Nuaimi, adding the inauguration was “another step towards ensuring Qatar has a labor system that reflects global best practice”.

Qatar and ILO, a United Nations agency, reached an agreement last October to launch a three-year program of technical cooperation on labor issues. Under the deal, Doha would allow the ILO to oversee wholesale labor reforms, including a minimum wage and a grievance procedure for workers.