Mumbaikar! This news may disappoint you if you are planning to visit New Zealand in the near future. New Zealand Immigration announced on Tuesday that it was closing three of its internal offices including Mumbai in India, Pretoria in South Africa and Manila in the Philippines in March. In accordance with the Goods reports that, due to the closure of New Zealand’s borders, there has been a large drop in visa applications. Also read – Singapore Changi Airport Photo: Inside The World’s Best Airport With Largest Indoor Waterfall
Not only Mumbai, they also plan to withdraw visa processing from their offices in Beijing while amplifying its “risk and existence of verification,” the report said. Due to the increasing number of Coronavirus cases in other countries, New Zealand has decided to close its borders to contain the virus. The decision to close the office was taken because tourism applications and student visas suddenly dropped. Also read – India.com Explains: H1-B Visa
For November – the last month of confirmed figures – net migration to New Zealand has fallen to 672 people, while a total of 2802 people arrived in total. Meanwhile, in February 2020 there were 21,784 total net arrivals and migrations of 15,065 people.
INZ Deputy Chief Catriona Robinson said in a statement, “This is not a decision we make lightly. Our staff at this office have made significant contributions to INZ and New Zealand. “
Added, “However, this office has been closed since March 2020, and without certainty when visa volumes can return to normal, INZ has had to make some tough decisions.
As these offices will be closed, this will affect 329 staff, who are employed locally in each city.
We, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and the United States strongly condemn the February 15 rocket attack on Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. We extend our condolences to the victims, their families and the Iraqi people. Together, our governments will support the Government of Iraq’s investigation into the attacks with a view to holding those responsible to account. We are united in our view that attacks on the US and Coalition personnel and facilities will not be tolerated.
The New Zealand government said it had known early on that a police-owned company was behind a visa processing center in Beijing, an arrangement maintained by Western governments including Canada but criticized as “utterly naive” by a prominent Chinese scholar with foreign influence.
The Beijing visa application center (VAC) used by New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Ireland and other countries is operated by the Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Services Company, which is owned by the Beijing Public Security Bureau but is under contract with VFS Global. Headquartered in Zurich and Dubai, VFS holds broad contracts to provide the Canadian government with worldwide visa processing services.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week he had asked his immigration and procurement minister to ensure the Canadian government could guarantee the security of its visa application system after The Globe and Mail reported police ownership, based on company registrations and Chinese court documents. Beijing Shuangxiong describes itself on China’s National Corporation Credit Information Publicity System as a provider of “contract visa outsourcing services” to New Zealand, Canada, the UK and others.
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But New Zealand, which is a joint Canadian member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, said it had known about police ownership of Beijing Shuangxiong.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) “was aware from the start that the Beijing Public Security Bureau had a stake in this holding company of FMC, which is a matter of public record,” said John Mitchell, a spokesman for the agency, in a statement. (FMC refers to a facility management company.)
Globe asked the offices of Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand, as well as their departments, whether Canada had known this from the start. Mr. Mendicino’s office referred the matter to Public Services. Public Services did not answer the question but said: “Canada is aware of the situation regarding the issue of having subcontractors in the network of visa application centers in China, and is working with Immigration … to review and monitor the situation.”
The Globe also asks why Canada doesn’t disclose the fact that the office is run by the Bureau of Public Security to applicants. Mr Mendicino’s press secretary Alex Cohen said the Immigration department informed the application that “the visa application center is a private company that has a contract with the Canadian Government.”
VFS Global’s involvement in processing Canadian visa applications in Beijing began in 2008. Guy Saint-Jacques, a former diplomat who served as Canada’s envoy to Beijing between 2012 and 2016, said he had no idea that the Beijing Canada visa center had ties to the Chinese police.
In New Zealand, however, government recognition of prior knowledge raises questions.
Realizing that using PSB-owned companies is “very naive,” said Anne-Marie Brady, a New Zealand specialist on the Chinese Communist Party’s domestic and foreign policy who is a global partner at the Wilson Center.
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“I have had several people contacting me in recent years who have raised concerns about New Zealand visa processing in Beijing, saying they don’t feel safe and have somehow been infiltrated by the CCP,” the Chinese Communist Party said. People like Tibet have told him of unexpected hostility when applying for a visa to New Zealand.
Ownership of a visa center by the police means “anyone who has ever spoken out against the CCP, or has been jailed and tried to leave the country will be subject to PSB and prevented from leaving,” said Prof Brady.
He called it “very scary news for the Chinese New Zealand community”.
Beijing Shuangxiong is not the only option for foreign countries seeking visa application services in Beijing. At least two other companies in the city provide such services to foreign countries, including Beijing Dongfang Tianxiao Entry-Exit Service and Beijing Ballino Investment Consulting Co Ltd. Ballino is owned by the Ministry of Public Security.
Dongfang is owned by several individual shareholders, a Shanghai industrial company and the state-owned tourism arm of the CITIC Group. Dongfang provides visa services for Germany, Australia, Norway, Sweden and others.
Democratic countries have an obligation to look seriously at alternatives to Chinese police-owned enterprises, said Robert Potter, a cybersecurity consultant in Australia who has worked as an adviser to the Canadian government. If there’s a visa center “just down the road that doesn’t have a lot of spies in it, wouldn’t due diligence tell you it’s a better option?” Mr Potter asked.
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Mr Mitchell, however, said he understands “the companies that partner with VFS are companies that were told by the Chinese authorities they should use them.” New ImmigrationZealand is “not worried” that Beijing Shuangxiong may provide access to classified information by China’s security services. “There is no access to secret INZ data or systems, or any influence on visa decision making,” he said.
“Complete application forms submitted at the VAC will be digitized, encrypted and sent to INZ via a secure portal operated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment,” said Mitchell. In addition, he said, “the VAC does not handle applications for residence and humanitarian visas, which are sent directly to INZ in New Zealand.”
The Canadian government also said applications in Beijing and elsewhere were handled “in accordance with Canadian privacy laws” and service providers promised not to interfere with visa applications. “As stipulated in the contract, VAC is expressly prohibited from providing visa-related advice to applicants or from making any type of decision regarding their application,” said Department of Citizenship and Immigration spokesman Rémi Larivière.
VFS spokesman Peter Brun said the Chinese companies he worked with were “managed by VFS Global and we ensure they operate fully in accordance with all VFS Global security processes and protocols, and comply with the Canadian government’s visa application process and data protection requirements, which are regularly audited. by the Canadian government. “
“The local individuals or companies who have shares in FMC that you describe do not have access to visa application data and have no influence on the integrity of the visa application process as determined by the client governments we serve,” he said.
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On the night of February 4, 2022, the opening ceremony in Beijing is scheduled to kick off the Winter Olympics, the second time in 14 years The Olympics will be held in China. But more than a medal will be at stake. The 2022 Olympics highlight the dilemma facing potential sponsors: The risks associated with an authoritarian regime, or forgetting the much-needed chance of gaining stardom on the global stage?
Big companies are eager to take part in the action. Visa Inc., Coca-Cola Co., and a host of other businesses will be represented in Beijing as “Olympic Partners,” the highest level of sponsorship available, a tier spanning multiple Game cycles and reserved for those who write the biggest checks and launch related marketing campaigns that most aggressive. Mars-Wrigley will also attend, handing out Snickers, “the official 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic chocolates”.
What may seem like a no-brainer – supporting a popular sporting event in a country of 1.4 billion consumers – may turn out to be a high-stakes bet. The Olympics could mark the climax trends over the years from some Western consumers, advocates and lawmakers pointing out what they perceive to be the true disadvantages of working with a country where egregious human rights abuses have been documented by US journalists and officials. At a time when a global company count on more than ever in the Chinese market, its government has proven susceptible to the slightest provocation of criticism – and is not afraid to impose economic penalties on those who cross it politically.
Supporters have asked Airbnb Inc., another Olympic Partner, why lodging is available in which countries Uighur people in Xinjiang province placed in concentration camps, subjected to forced labor and other offenses.
Airbnb is one of many companies touting itself as a model for corporate social responsibility, highlighting volunteer and non-profit outreach programs in a way that consumers increasingly consider in deciding how and where to spend their money. Regarding China, activists say, companies seem to care less.
The past few years have been difficult and confusing for many families separated by the Trump administration’s travel ban to majority Muslim countries. Now, with President Biden’s policy reversal, a family in San Diego has received promising news that they should be able to see their parent in a matter of weeks. San Diegan Negar Sadegholvad has been separated from her husband Kourosh Sepahpour, an Iranian citizen for three years. They share an almost 4-year-old son Borna, who only saw his father a few times when they visited Iran. The family say the reversal of Biden’s travel ban brings them closer after 3 years. Dad, Kourosh Sepahpour is Iranian and was in the middle of the green card process when the ban began. Maman Negar and her son Borna are expecting her in a few weeks! @nbcsandiego pic.twitter.com/IXXUZ5vRjK— Jackie Crea (@JackieCreaTV) February 12, 2021 Sadegholvad has been measuring his life lately in the missed moments. The couple met at a wedding in Iran and started dating for two years before getting married. At that time, they could travel on visas in both countries. “When I was 8 months pregnant, the first travel ban was struck,” Sadegholvad said. The family intended to start life as a family of three in the United States. Sepahpour was planning to quit his job as the head of a major dairy farm in Iran, to start over. But the week of his interview to kick off the green card process, the Trump administration implemented the travel ban. Sepahpour was able to be there for the birth of her son, but was never able to return. to completely turn our plans and our world upside down, ”Sadegholvad said. “You are sort of almost like a second-class citizen. You can’t do what all other citizens do because of the country your parents grew up in. It is more than discrimination. It is so offensive. “In the end, the Sepah request for Green Card was put on hold and the family struggled to get clear answers, but they had to get one for their son.” He actually knows that on election day, I told him if Biden was elected your daddy can come here. So he knows, “Sadegholvad said. She believes the overturning of Biden’s travel ban prompted the Embassy and State Department to contact her and pick up where things left off regarding the process. of her husband’s request. ” I am happy. I am grateful that his green card will be ready soon. But my son has been separated from his father for three years and the emotional and psychological scars will not be reversed by policy, ”said Sadegholvad. She hopes her own scars will heal too, so she can trust the country she calls home again. Tom Wong, an expert on immigration policy told NBC 7 that the State Department is reviewing applications from those who have been denied by travel bans. But during the pandemic, the limited capacity of embassies and consulates and in some cases where people have to start from scratch mean it may be some time before people see things moving again. Wong added, there will be much more waiting and hurdles for families trying to resume visa and green card applications.