Tag Archives: visa

MEPs demand  full EU-US visa reciprocity

MEPs call on the European Commission to take the measures foreseen in EU legislation to guarantee full visa reciprocity between the EU and the US.

“The discrimination that Bulgarians, Croatians, Cypriots and Romanians experience when travelling to the US is unacceptable. Respecting the fundamental principle of solidarity among EU members, we call on the Commission to act as established in European legislation and table a proposal to suspend the visa waiver for US nationals. It will then be up to the Parliament and the Council to assess the political consequences of this move”, said Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur.

With 376 votes to 269 and 43 abstentions, the Chamber adopted on Thursday a resolution urging the Commission to present a legal act suspending the visa waiver for US nationals for twelve months, as established in the so-called reciprocity mechanism.

Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot and Romanian nationals are still required to hold a visa to enter the US, while all other EU citizens are exempt from that requirement for short-stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), as are US nationals when they visit the European Union.
According to EU legislation, if a third country does not lift visa requirements within 24 months of being formally notified of a situation of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a legal act suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months. Both the European Parliament and Council could object to such an act (Article 290(2) of the Treaty).
The situation of non-reciprocity affecting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania was formally raised on 12 April 2014 (at the time, Poland was also affected, but since last year Polish citizens can travel to the US visa-free), so the deadline for the Commission to act expired on 12 April 2016.
Parliament already asked the Commission to comply with the rules in a plenary resolution adopted in March 2017.

(Image below: MEP Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur,  archive).

Barbados welcomes digital nomads

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the number of remote workers worldwide was growing. A research from the consulting firm MBO Partners found that the number of independent workers in the United States, which includes consultants, freelancers and In More than 7.3 million working Americans described themselves in 2019 as “digital nomads”, in other words those who chose to embrace a location-independent lifestyle that allowed them to travel and work remotely.

David Cassar, MBO Partners’ chief operations officer, notes that the international leverage of freelancers is increasing considerably.

“We absolutely expect interest in becoming a digital nomad to spike among independent workers in the coming years. Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of widespread remote work, and independent workers will be among the first to take advantage of a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle,” he said.

Among incentives for some of the digital nomads lifestyles is a lower cost of living.

For conuntries, welcoming working travellers, long stay visa requires proof of health insurance and negative virus tests (either pre-arrival, upon arrival, or both), some require an application fee and proof of a monthly salary, complete with bank statements.

Barbados digital nomads one year visa requires need to fill out an online application form and submit photos, the proof of employment and an income declaration of at least $50,000 annually during the period that they are on the island. An application fee of $2,000 per person is only payable after he or she is approved; families pay a fee of $3,000, irrespective of the number of members in their household.

A substantial drop in these countries tourism numbers is a key reason for the new programs.

“Tourism is the lifeline of the country,” said Eusi Skeete, the U.S. director of tourism for Barbados. Tourism accounted for 14% of the country’s annual gross domestic product in 2019, according to data published by the Central Bank of Barbados, and had a record number of international arrivals of more than 712,000. But in 2020, the number of visitors during the months of April, May and June were near zero.

Barbados is a relatively stable Small Island Developing State. It is a high-income country with the private sector being the main economic engine and tourism playing an important role. Around 80% of the GDP is generated from services in trade, transport, government, and business, and other services such as banking; tourism accounts for around 12% of the GDP.

EU-Belarus visa facilitation

Today, the European Union and Belarus signed a visa facilitation agreement and a readmission agreement. The agreements represent an important step in EU-Belarus relations and pave the way for improved mobility of citizens, contributing to closer links between the EU and its Eastern Partnership neighbours. At today’s signing ceremony, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Croatia as Council Presidency, Davor Božinović, signed for the EU, while Belarus was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makei.

“These agreements between the European Union and Belarus are a significant step forward in our cooperation. They will improve the mobility of our citizens in a well-managed and secure environment and help build closer links between the European Union and Belarus. From the European side, we will now move ahead rapidly with ratification procedures, so citizens can feel the benefits as soon as possible” Commissioner Johansson said.

The visa facilitation agreement will make it easier for Belarusian citizens to acquire short-term visas to come to the European Union. Belarus has unilaterally introduced measures to facilitate short-term visa-free travel for EU citizens arriving in Minsk. The main objective of the EU-Belarus readmission agreement is to establish, on the basis of reciprocity, procedures for the safe and orderly return of persons who reside irregularly in the EU or Belarus, in full respect of their rights under international law.

Macron proposes Schengen revision

Schengen Agreement should be revised, French President Emmanuel Macron  said , suggesting a number of countries should possibly be excluded from it. H also stressed the necessary to completely restructure the development policy and migration policy.

“The famous Schengen agreement… no longer works… Europe [that I believe in] keeps its borders, protects them, in this Europe there is a reasonable right to refugee status, and responsibility accompanies solidarity… It is on this basis that it is necessary to reform the Schengen area,” Macron proposed a press conference, saying that after the revision there would be less states in the Schengen due to those member-states which “do not want to ensure common borders.

The proposal was put forward in the framework of the national “Grand Debate“.

EU-UK visa free travel reciprocity

“The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel. This agreement was confirmed yesterday by EU ambassadors on behalf of the Council and by the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee today. The text now needs to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council”  European Council announced.

“According to EU rules, visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three EU institutions and the member states would undertake to act without delay in applying the mechanism. The Commission would monitor the respect of the principle of reciprocity on a continuous basis and immediately inform the European Parliament and the Council of any developments which could endanger the respect of this principle.”

US denies visas to Bolshoi star dancers

Russia’s Foreign Ministry (@MFA) informed about the failure of the Bolshoi Theater to perform in New York because of the denial to issue American visas to star dancers:  ballerina Olga Smirnova(pictured) and  first soloist Jacopo Tissi were not allowed to enter the United States.

“Just two days ago we were informed about the deplorable situation with the issuing of the American visas in Russia by the US authorities. Artificially created, it lead to considerable difficulties in maintaining business, cultural, sports and even family ties”- the statement says. The MFA is regretting “a new negative example” of the denial of entry to artists Moscow Bolshoi Theater, the Foreign Ministry underlines.

“Tours of national performing projects, including, of course, the Bolshoi Theater, which is considered the” visiting card “of our country throughout the world, invariably found the warmest response of the broad American public, but today the influential US forces, anxious to press Russia harder,  do not stop at anything … As a result, the performances in New York of prima ballerina Olga Smirnova and the first soloist Jacopo Tissi have been cancelled” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary.

The artists had to perform at the Lincoln Center in New York. They were denied visas on April 10.

During Cold War era art of Bolshoi Ballet served as a point of rapprochement to reduce tensions between superpowers: President Kennedy & First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (JBK) attend the opening of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Loew’s Capitol Theater, Washington DC, 8:00PM, 1962 November 13.

 

 

Chinese encourage ‘talented’ migrants

Scientists, experts, architects, IT professionals and other “high-end” foreign talents will receive warm welcome in China with the introduction of a free, fast-track visa, state news agency Xinhua reported on January, 5.

Under new rules announced by the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, foreign applicants who qualify as high-end talent can obtain a visa in as fast as five working days. After issuance, the expiration date of the visa can be extended by up to 10 years.

The sought-after professionals include scientists and leading figures in technology-intensive sectors, the officials said, adding that the categories could be adjusted based on the country’s flexible approach to demand for talent.

The other advantages include a visa waiver, 180-day stays for a single entry and a same-day visa permit approval for spouses and children.

The first Certificate for Foreign high-end Talent was issued on January, 2 in Beijing, said Xinhua, without identifying the recipient.  At the moment China is in the middle of its biggest influx of foreign-educated professionals, said Xinhua.

 

Trump: US #terroristban

 

 

U.S. green card holders will require additional screening before they can return to the United States, the White House said on weekend, amid protests of numerous pro-immigrant NGO and Democrat’s supporters against the measure.

Earlier, a Department of Homeland Security official said people holding green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, were included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven countries affected by radical Islam and armed conflicts to prevent the infiltration of the jihad fights to the United States. The measure is a part of a broader programme of President Trump border and immigration control promised to the electorate.

The #terroristban concerns confilict zones with high presence of terroristic groups, namely Islmic Stare (IS) as Iraq,  Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and backing regime of president Assad Iran. (Photo: Islamic State fighters).

“It will bar green card holders,” Gillian Christensen, acting Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said in an email.

 

 

 

 

 

USA travel ban takes effects

jfk-airport

Green card and visa holders were reported to be blocked from boarding US-bound flights within hours of Donald Trump issuing an executive order limiting immigration from several Muslim countries, according to different sources.

US airports were also said to have ordered some passengers who had managed to board flights to return to their point of origin, according to the Arab-American anti-discrimination committee (ADC).

There have been already reactions from Iran. However the ban on US tourists will be more a measure against Iran’s own economy, than against the  American travellers who were not so keen on Iran as a leisure destination.