Gulf state changes family visa rules

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British expats who want to take their families to the Gulf state of Oman have to earn a minimum salary of £1,000 a month (OMR600).

The announcement by the sultanate’s police follows the rejection of hundreds of visa applications, mainly from Indians and other Asians.

The new policy means many Omani companies can no longer provide a family visa to the majority of employees.

Average pay ranges between OMR400 to OMR500 a month, with only a small fraction of professionals and executives earning more.

“Not only should the expat be drawing at least the minimum salary, but the role they have with their employer should reflect the same level of salary or the visa will not be granted,” said a spokesman for the Royal Omani Police.

The statement also indicated that a family visa could not be switched to a job visa at a later date.

China eases family visit restrictions

Visas for business visits to China have been simplified by the introduction of a new law.

The Exit and Entry Administration Law of China lays out the rules for visas to china, including four new categories that came into effect from September 1, 2013.

The new categories include a “Q” category for Americans visiting their families in China. The visa is valid for between 180 days and five years.

Expats who enrolled in China’s national “1,000-Talent Program” see a new “R” category visa. The visa is for professionals who want to work in China.

Visa scam warning

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is warning expats seeking a visa that offers to help with their applications for a fee are most likely scams.

USCIS explained that selling services to help others gain visas is illegal, and that besides losing money, the application would likely be refused as well.

Supervisa success

Canada has granted more than 20,000 parent and grandparent supervisas since 2011 at a rate of more than 1,000 a month.

The visa has an 85% approval rate and is valid for up to 10 years. Holders can enter Canada several times during the life of the visa and stay for up to two years on any single visit.

One of the visa sponsors has to have a minimum income of £13,500 (CDN$22,229) to meet qualification rules.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said: “Families need time together and the flexibility and long term of this visa allow them to do that.”

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